I have always loved riding my bicycle, from a small kid I was always bombing through the forest at what felt like 100mph, dodging trees and bushes while racing my imaginary motorbike. Now I am a little bit older I still love to ride my bike but I don’t reach the 100mph speeds I use too! When I was 11 years old my parents took me and my brother over to France for a week away camping in the sun, we had never been on the ferry and so we took advantage, crammed our van with unlimited tinned beans and bicycles and wow did we have fun! 19 years later I always think about that very trip and how happy I was for that week so when I thought to myself “that’s it I am heading over to France” I also thought how much is this going to cost?
Well it still shocks me to tell you that you can have a great week in France for less than £200! Yes that’s right I did say two hundred and not two thousand. It started when I thought I would drive over to France and take advantage of the endless bike routes with my brother in company but needless to say I was shocked by the prices of the ferries! I had always thought that our France trip was a cheap and cheerful holiday but in fact the reality of paying £700+ for a return trip in my van just seemed ridiculous! So I kept looking at options to fit our very small budget when I realised you could actually just take your bicycle loaded up with paniers onto the ferry for a fraction of the price. So we looked at bicycle routes from numerous ports and decided that Roscoff was our best option. We managed to book the ferry for £96.00 return which was not the cheapest but our dates were not as flexible as we had hoped.
Brittany Ferries Link below
Or for bicycle shipping – https://bikefreight.co.uk
So we had £104.00 left in our budget and we had managed to scramble together all the kit that we needed.
*Pots and Pans
*Inner tubes (lots)
*Basic maintenance tools
Before we left we decided that we didn’t know enough to know exactly where we would go and where we would camp so we decided in true British fashion to wing it! First stop Plymouth so we drove the two hour trip from Worcester with the bikes in the back, once we got there we parked on a residential road about 3 miles out of the city centre where we knew the van would blend in and wasn’t going to cost us a small fortune in parking. Once the van was inconspicuously parked up we were off toward the ferry, our short ride found us queuing up at the gates waiting for boarding to take place. I was starting to get that feeling back! The feeling that I got when I was just that little boy and the biggest sense of adventure started to kick in, we were actually just heading over the channel with nothing but our bicycle and the bare basics – I was loving every second. I would love to tell you that we had a great trip over the channel but I would be lying, my sea legs were not what I remember them to be and spent most of my time with my head in a bag. Seven hours later and we arrived at Roscoff with the rain passing over and the sun heating up, we could not have asked for better weather (July) and the weather pretty much remained that way the whole time we were there. Roscoff was a beautiful town with cobble streets and bakeries dotted across the roads spreading a constant smell of freshly cooked croissants and baguettes. First thing on the agenda, where were we going to sleep? It was early in the morning so we knew we had all day to explore but I wanted to ditch the little luggage that we were carrying before heading off to cover some miles, we found a campsite which didn’t open for another hour and hung around for them to open. We were greeted by a friendly receptionist who booked us in for the night (£19) and showed us to our pitch.
We setup our tent while laughing at how pathetic our base looked next to the full time professional campers that occupied the spaces next to us, with their 8 berth campers/ full kitchens and blow up swimming pools. It seemed as though the Europeans really take their camping serious and the camp site was filled with people from Germany, Hungary, Poland, France and Belgium. Once we were all set up we checked our bags in the tents and headed off for an explore and some lunch, we didn’t make it 300 meters down the road before my brother was filling his face with a cheese and ham baguette which would turn out to be one of his 16 baguettes he ate whilst there!! Roscoff is a beautiful cobble street town filled with bakeries, sweet shops, ice cream parlours and clothing stores situated on the beautiful coastline of Britannia, however it was very busy as there seemed to be some type of fun fair going on and so sent a lot of time pushing our bikes around the town as we didn’t want to kill someone on our first day! We spent the day wondering around aimlessly before heading back to the campsite with a couple of bottles of the cheapest yet tastiest cider I have ever drunk (probably because I don’t drink cider) and we spent the night putting the world to rights with our disposable BBQ. We spent the rest of our time moving no further than 20 miles along south along the coast every day and found that every campsite charges about the same, we had taken cereal with us and had a baguette for lunch everyday (my brother had two or three!!) which coast a couple of pounds and BBQ in the evening which was really sustainable for the 3 nights we were there. On the last day we had some miles to cover to get back to the ferry for a night crossing so we got up at 6am and headed back to Roscoff for late afternoon. Queuing back up for the ferry with the gang of bicycle lovers discussing the latest Tour de France controversy just made me realise that France and the rest of Europe is just on our doorstep and we don’t take advantage of it enough. This was by far one of my favourite trips and it cost me less than a weekend away in Bournemouth, I hope this is the beginning of many more..