There have been 26 cycling trips so far. Here is a brief summary of them in chronological order going way back in time to the first Phoenix trip in 2009…….
May 2019: Dieppe Channel Hopper
Nine members hopped across the Channel to Dieppe for three days of cycling over the May Bank Holiday Weekend.
The next morning saw a delayed start as we waited for the rain to pass. Then it was an easy ride along the mostly traffic-free Avenue Verte to Neufchatel for an excellent lunch. On our return journey we were surprised to find a newly constructed part of the Avenue Verte for the final few kilometres into Dieppe; so new that it hasn’t been officially opened yet!
The following day we cycled along another superb greenway, the Véloroute du Lin, on our way to St Valery-en-Caux for lunch and then back along the coast on the Véloroute du Littoral although this was mostly along quiet roads.
For our third day of cycling, by popular request, we climbed the long hill into the Forêt Domanale d’Arques. We had climbed this hill on a previous channel hopper; it’s quite challenging in that it isn’t too steep but carries on for about 1½ kms. After that we headed to Criel-Plage for elevenses and then it was back to Dieppe for a late lunch. There was afternoon tea at our hotel followed by a pleasant evening mini-cruise across La Manche to Newhaven.
All in all, this has been three great days of cycling, some highly convivial evenings and lots of fun.
Sept 2018: Southern Brittany Cycling Trip
Ten cyclists took part in this cycling trip. It started with an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo followed by seven days of cycling with overnight stops in Rennes, Redon, Vannes (2 nights), Pontivy, St Brieuc and St Malo. The two nights in Vannes meant there was an optional rest day in the middle of this trip. The total distance cycled was 400 miles.
July 2018: Roscoff Channel Hopper
Ten cyclists sailed from Plymouth to Roscoff for this four-day channel hopper. They stayed at the Hotel Les Arcades, an excellent hotel for a cycling trip. The weather was ideal for cycling: sunny and dry with little wind. The cyclists explored quite an extensive area by cycling along the coast in both directions as well as going inland. Places visited included St-Pol-de-Leon, Morlaix, Carentec, Plouscat, etc.
May 2018: Upper Normandy Trip
This was a five-day cycling trip with overnight stops in St-Valery-en-Caux, Honfleur, Evreux and Gournay-en-Bray. It started and finished in Dieppe; the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry crossing was used. This trip was different in that it wasn’t supported. The four cyclists carried their luggage in panniers. The total distance they cycled was 254 miles.
Sept 2017: Loire Valley Cycling Trip
Twelve cyclists took part in this excellent trip. It started with the overnight Portsmouth to St Malo ferry followed by seven days of cycling, with overnight stops in Vitre, Angers, Chinon, Tours, Le Mans, Bagnoles de l’Orne and Ouistreham. We covered just over 420 miles in the seven days before returning to Portsmouth on the morning ferry.
July 2017: St Malo Channel Hopper
Thirteen members participated in this one. We stayed in the Anne de Bretagne Hotel in the Intra Muros (old walled town) for three nights, and cycled to such places as Concale, Plerguer, Dinard, Dinan, and Plouer-sur-Rance.
June 2017: Dieppe Channel Hopper
Seven members hopped across to Dieppe for a three night stay in our usual hotel, the Hotel de la Plage. We had three days cycling in the Seine-Maritime département with some new places visited including the Forêt Domaniale d’Arques at the top of a very long hill and some new routes were devised alongside some old favourites like the Avenue Verte and the Veloroute du Lin. It was another very pleasant stay in Dieppe with some superb cycling through the local countryside.
Sept 2016: River Seine Cycling Trip
Twelve members took part in this six day trip which started and finished at Le Havre and included overnight stops at Caudebec-en-Caux, Vernon, Rouen (2 nights) and Honfleur. There was a rest day in Rouen so members could go sightseeing and shopping.
May 2016: Cherbourg Channel Hopper
Seven Phoenix-CTC members hopped across the Channel to Cherbourg for three days of cycling in the Cotentin Peninsula over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
This was the second Channel Hopper to Cherbourg, the first being in 2014. Places visited this time included the port of Goury on the west coast, the spectacular coastline of Cap De La Hague, Barflour and St Vaast La Houge on the east coast.
Sept 2015: Finistere Trip
Nine members took part in the final Phoenix-CTC event of 2015, the Finistere Trip. Strangely, it had been three years since our previous trip in Brittany.
This week-long trip included overnight stops at Huelgoat, Pont-Aven, Douarnenez (2 nights), Plougastel-Daoulas and Roscoff. Apart from these places the cyclists visited some interesting places en route such as Locronan, Quimper and crossed the Pont de Terenez which has the greatest curve on a cable-stayed bridge in the world.
July 2015: Isle of Wight Weekender
Eight members of Phoenix-CTC enjoyed a weekend of cycling on the Isle of Wight (IOW). This was our first cycling trip on the island and it went very well.
The IOW is cycling friendly. There are a variety of cycle routes and we chose to cycle along part of the National Cycle Route 67 which was hilly in places but went along some peaceful country lanes. Also we cycled along the Regional Cycle Route 23 which is a 13 mile (approx) flat cycle route between Sandown and Cowes.
June 2015: St Malo to Cherbourg Cycling Trip
Eight Phoenix-CTC cyclists completed a week-long cycling trip starting in St Malo and finishing in Cherbourg. About 480 kms (300 miles) were cycled mostly in very windy conditions. The wind was gusty so side winds were the main problem; everyone had to hold onto their handlebars very tightly to try to steer a straight line and avoid being blown over
Overnight stops were at Fougeres, Granville, Saint Lo, Bayeux and Quettehou.
May 2015: Dieppe Channel Hopper
Eight Phoenix-CTC members hopped across the Channel to Dieppe for three days of cycling over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. This was our first trip of 2015 and it proved very enjoyable. About 50 miles were cycled each day, the destinations being Mers-les-Bains on Saturday, St-Valery-en-Caux on Sunday and Neufchatel-en-Bray on Monday.
We cycled along several cycle routes including the Avenue Verte, Veloroute du Littoral and the new Veloroute du Lin.
June 2014: London to Paris
Exactly five years after our previous London to Paris trip we cycled from the London Eye to Notre Dame by following the signposted Avenue Verte. Although it was an enjoyable event some parts of the route left a lot to be desired. The first 90 miles in France were great.
Three cyclists did the full route with six more joining us for the French section.
May 2014: Cherbourg Channel Hopper
Eleven of us hopped across the Channel from Poole to Cherbourg to spend three days cycling in the Cotentin Peninsula over the May Day bank holiday weekend. We were lucky with the weather, the hotel was fine and we cycled along some super routes. The terrain varied from virtually flat on the eastern side to severely lumpy in the western part; hence most of our cycling was south and east of Cherbourg. Barfleur and St-Vaast-la-Hougue were two picturesque fishing ports which we visited for café stops.
Sept 2013: Loire Valley (2)
Nine members cycled 651 kms (407 miles) in seven days through Brittany, Loire Valley and Normandy. The overnight stops in the Loire Valley were in Angers, Saumur and Villandry.
The route was largely different to the Loire Valley event in 2010 and made greater use of signed cycle routes. Also, it included two wine tastings, at Chinon and Saumur. In Brittany we stopped overnight at Vitre; will definitely stop there again.
June 2013: Normandy (1)
Eight members cycled 608 kms (380 miles) in six days through Normandy with overnight stops at Pont Audemer, Evreux, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Bagnoles de l’Orne, Vire and Ouistreham. The verdant Normandy countryside was picture postcard stuff and some of the meals we had were excellent. The best was at our Logis hotel in Vire (see picture). It was another superb cycling trip that was partly based on old Bikeathon routes but quite a lot was new.
May 2013: Ouistreham Channel Hopper
A record number of 15 cyclists hopped across the Channel from Portsmouth to Ouistreham for three days of cycling in the Calvados area of Normandy. The cyclists visited some of the D Day Landing sites such as the Pegasus Bridge and also meandered through the beautiful Normandy countryside. Other places visited include Trouville, Beuvron-en-Auge, Bayeux, Thury-Harcourt in Suisse Normand. We even managed to find a cycle friendly route through Caen!
Sept 2012: Brittany (1)
Seven members cycled 707 kms (442 miles) in seven days in Northern Brittany with overnight stops in Fougeres, Dinan, Pontivy, Quimper, Morlaix, St Brieuc and St Malo. This was another great cycling trip that was loosely based on old Bikeathon routes.
A cycling trip in Southern Brittany which would include an overnight stop in Vannes is being considered for a future trip, possibly in 2015.
June 2012: Tour de La Manche
A tour of the English Channel may sound like a sea cruise and, in fact, 80 miles were done by ferry (Newhaven to Dieppe and Calais to Dover) but the other 220 miles were done by cycling on dry land, although not so dry on some days!
Twelve members cycled on this short trip and although it finished in heavy rain everyone enjoyed it. Another Tour de la Manche using different ports is likely in 2014/5.
Sept 2011: Dieppe<->Paris
Eight members cycled to Paris and back using a slightly different route to that used in the French section of the London to Paris route in 2009.
This time it was more leisurely and took three days each way with a rest day in Paris. The return route included a visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny and a new traffic free cycle path, now part of the Avenue Verte. This will be used in the 2014 cycling trip to Paris.
June 2011: Dieppe Channel Hopper
Ten cyclists hopped across ‘The Channel’ from Newhaven to Dieppe for a short cycling break based in Dieppe. This is a good place for a channel hopper as Dieppe is a bustling town with plenty of shops and restaurants and, the surrounding countryside affords excellent cycling.
Also, we’ve found a good hotel in Dieppe, Hotel de la Plage, which is on the seafront and close to the centre ville. Criel-sur-Mer is a good place for a cafe stop.
May 2011: End to End
Thirteen members cycled a total distance of 1046 miles in 15 days from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This was planned to be the least hilly route for cycling LE-JOG and made use of regional and national cycle routes.
It worked out well and everyone who started this cycling trip, finished it.
Sept 2010: Loire Valley (1)
Eight members cycled 700 kms in seven days through Brittany, Loire Valley and Normandy. The overnight stops in the Loire Valley were in Nantes, Angers and Saumur.
We only had time to cycle a section of the Loire Valley so a second similar trip using a largely different route is planned for September 2013 which will include overnight stops in Angers, Saumur and Villandry.
May 2010: Channel Hop to Honfleur
Twelve cyclists hopped across ‘The Channel’ from Portsmouth to Le Havre to spend the May Day weekend in Honfleur and do some cycling in the surrounding area.
The Pont de Normandie, a massive bridge linking Le Havre with Honfleur, proved challenging to cycle across. It’s a significant climb to the middle and was very windy when we crossed it; many of us walked.
June 2009: London to Paris
A cycling trip loosely based on the Avenue Verte, a route for cyclists and walkers that was being developed between these two capital cities. Six cyclists did the full distance (240 miles) with four more joining us for the French section (140 miles).
Another London to Paris trip is being planned for 2014 which will use the newly signposted Avenue Verte route as much as possible.