Published by Lyn on 12 May 2015
Gary and Rachel Corbett, who are attempting to set a world e-bike record, have arrived in France. Here's Gary's latest blog.
Isn’t it always the way. You either (a) build yourself up for a major occasion only for it to be a major letdown or (b) you blindly dive into a situation totally unprepared only for everything to go like clockwork.
Such was the situation with our much anticipated crossing of the English Channel via Brittany Ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff, with situation (a) definitely the outcome.
However in this case the major letdown was cause for much celebration given our combined fear of a night of seasickness on the high seas.
With gale force 100kph winds the order of the day earlier in the week, a rudimentary scan of the weather forecast seemed to indicate that Thursday night promised the best window of opportunity for a calm crossing.
So it was with bated breath that we made the online booking for the crossing from our windswept tent at a campground at Tavistock 20km outside of Plymouth.
With our ferry due to depart at 9.30pm on Thursday evening, we enjoyed a sleep in and slowly cycled into Plymouth early in the afternoon, all the time scanning the skies and analysing every gust of wind for severity and possible evil intent.
After a couple of hours of generally updating websites, scanning weather forecasts and generally getting our affairs in order at a local Plymouth coffee shop, seasickness tablets were purchased from a chemist before making our way to the ferry terminal to book in.
On our arrival we didn’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed when we were informed that the ferry had been delayed for four hours – you guessed it – by disruptions linked to the gale force winds earlier in the week.
After finally boarding our ferry soon after midnight, we were shown to our cabin – and that is just about the end of the story.
We both promptly fell asleep, only to be awoken by an announcement at about 8.30am that it was time to disembark.
We'd slept through the entire voyage, did not see any more of the ship than our cabin, did not see the English Channel, and did not get seasick.
The upshot to the story? The channel, we were told, was as flat as a billiard table for the entire journey.
So there you have it, despite all our worries, all of the nervous energy expended, all of the time spent accessing weather forecasts, all of the “should we do this” or “should we do that” discussions, in the end everything worked out perfectly well by itself.
And in many ways our crossing the English Channel experience mirrors what have been happening on a day to day basis while cycle touring. Since leaving London on April 23, we have never failed to be amazed by how often seemingly difficult situations are so easily solved.
Every time we have been lost there has been someone there to put us on the right track. Every time we have needed assistance of some kind there has been someone there to lend a helping hand. Every time we have needed to find a campground at the end of a long day’s cycling there has been one just around the corner, the day we needed an urgent lift into town after Rachel suffered an allergic reaction there was someone there with a car.
Anyway, we are now finally in France eager to get started on the next leg of our amazing adventure.
With a day in Roscoff to get our bearings, stock up on French maps and to generally take in a bit of French culture, the plan is to explore the Brittany region before arriving in Nantes for the journey in the Loire Valley along EuroVelo 6 and later on to Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
With more than 900km already clocked up we are within striking distance of 1000kms – 1/16th of what we are required to cycle to set a new world record of in excess of 16,047kms.
So far so good – and better still we didn’t even get seasick!
We'll be following Gary and Rachel as they make their way across Europe – including France – on their e-bikes. You can see their website here.