This year only three cyclists made the journey, David, Prudence and I plus David’s wife Terri, having hired a lovely house in Dieppe conveniently on the cycle route out of Town about half a mile from the town centre.
Leon, Joyce plus John and Jo Clinton had booked just to attend the event meal on the Sunday. We would have met up but sadly none were able to travel.
Our outward journey on the Thursday was marred by unplanned sickness so David and Terri caught the 9am ferry as planned, while Prudence and I rebooked onto the evening crossing arriving at the house a little after 11pm having successfully negotiated the Dieppe streets at night.
On Friday we discovered the weather was set to become increasingly hot. We settled in and David and I made an out of town cycle trip to the Local shopping centre for some essentials but otherwise it was a rest day.
With Prudence improving David, Prudence and I we were able to make a short 7 mile ride in the morning to Arques-la-Bataille before the temperature climbed too high and spent some of the afternoon exploring the market until temperature reached an unbearable 35 deg, returning to the house then back into town later for an excellent meal out.
We were promised a return to English weather and dutifully turned up at the Salle Paul Eluard for registration at 8:30. Clutching our raffle tickets we returned to the house for essentials and set off on the 30km route arriving at the provided tea stop on the Avenue Verte 7 miles later where we met other clarion cyclists but not London Clarion.
Setting off again we extended the ride further down the Avenue Verte to a cafe at Saint Vaast d’Equiqueville.
To our dismay and despite on line research only coffee was available as it was apparently out of season. We then retraced our route to rejoin the 30km route returning to Dieppe but not before David insisted on stopping for a snackette of chips, which strangely seemed to have a Burger attached, and Salle Paul Eluard after a satisfying 26 miles at 9mph. Checking our raffle tickets Prudence had won a prize . Supposedly a scarf which was mysteriously missing but after some bartering and trying on of t-shirts, an excellent blue water bottle was chosen.
Later David and Terri briefly came across the London Clarion in a bar exhausted but they were gone when Prudence and I cycled into town.
Again the weather was cool and we set off at 9:30am on a planned trip southwest along the Véloroute du Lin (Linen Route) railway trail and having made a steep climb out of Dieppe we headed for the village of Luneray about 14 miles away.
This had once been a hilly railway running between Hautot-sur-Mer, near Dieppe, to Fécamp with two 300ft climbs along just our section of the route. We were diverted on the way in search of coffee but everywhere was closed on a Monday, however arriving in Luneray about 12am, we were delighted to find an open cafe in the town square, where David ordered what he again described as a snackette. It looked more like Ham and Chips.
On the return Journey we took the railway trail all the way to the coast at Pourville-sur-Mer for our first real sight of the sea since arriving then followed the coast into Dieppe and along the promenade arriving after an excellent trip to do a little shopping have a well earned beer and a good meal out. 34 miles altogether at 8.8mph
Our return trip, arriving in Newhaven around 2:30pm we were struck by the contrast of a neat and lively Dieppe and the view of the dockside scrap yard in Newhaven.
French Railway Cycle Trails
Forgot to say that the French railway trails are a wonder to behold. 3m wide perfect tarmac stretching for mile after mile with standardised road crossing points and old railway buildings intact. No odd deviations round bits that are sold off or bridges demolished. In comparison the Downslink is just rubbish.
Also the French car drivers are so careful and patient with cyclists.
Despite a shaky start a great trip with great company and hopefully an experience to be repeated.