In all of our lives there comes a time when we must get out of the normal. We must leave the commute, the busy roads, the traffic queues and the daily toil, we must bid farewell to all this and hit the open road. Some might get no farther than the next town. But the Fridays Tour takes you to faraway places. Here we go - it’s the Fridays Tour 2017. You’re going to like this. A lot. What does it have? Great riding through lovely countryside No day longer than 100k Quiet lanes Decent cycle paths No hills (promise!) Beautiful medieval towns Coffee, CAIK Bridges, canals Beer (possibly) Convenient start and finish A day off in the beautiful city of Maastricht But best of all - you’ll be with The Fridays This is the latest of our famous Tours - we’ve ridden to John o'Groats, taken over an entire chateau in Normandy with 50 of us, crossed France from sea to sea, and ridden from Dieppe across Belgium into the Netherlands. And the following year, on the best Tour yet, we started at the Hook of Holland and finished at Dunkirk. Here’s the skinny: but don't book anything yet - I’ve ridden one recce but need to go back and re-check the suggested route. If you’re interested email me at email@example.com Looking forward to it already, Martin Details, details, details….. Saturday July 1 - train to Dover and ferry to Dunkirk port, then ride to Dunkirk town. You might want to stay in the Ibis Dunkirk Centre. (We leave on a Saturday to make it easier for you to get you and the bike on a train - if we left on a Friday night you couldn’t take a bike on a train out of London until after 7pm which makes for a very late arrival in Dunkirk.) Any ferry you like. I guess there'll be a general agreement to go for one particular boat which might be the noon or 2pm boat. Arrive Dunkirk at 3pm/5pm French time. Ride to town 20k. Each day the group should arrive at a spot in a town that we dub “Fridays Central” and you go to your accommodation. In the morning, we leave the town from that exact same place. If you’re not riding with the group that day, just don’t bother to turn up, it’s no problem, happens all the time. Sunday July 2 - leave about 10am. Ride Dunkirk to Ostend. This is as flat as a flat thing that is feeling particularly flat. From de Panne we'll follow the seaside promenade and it'll be a Sunday in July so lots of people about getting in our way but the promenade is divided into walking and biking sides. There'll be coffee stops and a long lunch. 50k day. Monday July 3 - Ostend to Ghent. It’s pretty canalside riding all day, it's 70k. The plan is for a long long lunch in Bruges with time for a pootle to see the sights. Thence to Ghent, arrive maybe 6pm ish. On the outskirts of Ghent we pass a workshop where a man welds bits of bicycles together into strange shapes and contrivances. On the recce he agreed to be open for us, I need to check this. Tuesday July 4 Ghent to Leuven - lunch in the old quarter of Dendemonde, afternoon coffee in Weerde. 99k. Note this route claim to be 105k but this is because RideWithGPS won’t route underneath the autoroute on a cycle track so it includes a silly loop. Wednesday July 5 Leuven to Maastricht. About 93k, and finishes with a ride alongside the massive Albertkanaal, lots of sky, big ships, tress, blue skies and fluffy clouds. Thursday July 6 DAY OFF in Maastricht. You can either fester, see the sights, potter or do a long ride, it’s up to you. There'll be some sort of communal get-together that does not involve a long day on the bike. If you want to go for a ride, you can do it without luggage, obviously. Friday July 7 Maastricht-Eindhoven 85k Again, a day spent almost entirely off road and by the canal on perfect tarmac. The route goes through some towns and we found a really nice place for lunch. Saturday July 8. From Eindhoven to Breda. About 70k. Coffee in the very pretty ancient medieval village of Oirschot, then on the recce we followed the canal then turned south then west and followed a cycle track (a proper Dutch one, not like we have here) then turned north and spent the afternoon on an OK and beautiful cycle track through some delightful woods. If the day is nice we'll have a picnic in the woods, it was a lovely ride. Pay attention here - on arrival in Breda (on Saturday at about 6pm): Some will opt to take the train to the Hook of Holland. It's €14 plus the €6 bike ticket, takes 24 minutes to Rotterdam then 30 minutes to the Hook of Holland, leaves Breda every 30 minutes at 23 past the hour. The ferry from the Hook of Holland leaves on Saturday night at 10pm so there's plenty of time to get there and take the Saturday night boat. Others will stay in Breda on Saturday night and ride on the Sunday to the Hook of Holland, arriving there on Sunday afternoon and getting the boat arriving in Harwich on Monday morning. (You can't take a bike on a train arriving in London until 10am, which means waiting for a while at Harwich -- or better yet, get the train to Manningtree and have breakfast at the excellent little buffet there, a favourite of long distance cyclists in the area, it has a licence to sell beer, which will not, repeat not, affect your choice I am sure). Still others will opt to take the Sunday night boat arriving in London Liverpool Street station about 10.30am on the Monday. This might allow some people to ride straight to the office in London and merely arrive at work late rather than having to take the whole day as a day of annual leave. Note there is a 2pm boat from the Hook on the Sunday, which arrives in Harwich about 9.30pm so if you live in London, arriving in Liverpool Street about 11pm might be an option but to be at the Hook for this will mean spending the night in Breda then taking the train on Sunday to the Hook. You don't need a cabin for a day crossing, so that is a cheaper option. The route for the final Sunday ride to the Hook is an interesting 85k with a lovely lunch stop in an ancient town that is in an old hexagonal stone-built fort and is awfully pretty. Later we ride through some massive industrial areas, but as it's a Sunday everything is closed and the roads were empty on the recce. There's a segregated cycle path all the way through the industrial area, which I found really interesting. I loved this day. And also as in previous tours, it's friends together on a series of rides - and no one is leading it. There will be recce(s) of the route. On the ride you may, or may not, choose to follow the route found by the recce - if you choose to ride a different route, that’s fine. You book and pay for your own accommodation. You pay for your own food. You can stay in any hotel you wish. You must have third party liability insurance - or you can't come. So - interested? email firstname.lastname@example.org - all the Tours have been fun. This should be the same.