Welcome to another blog post from one of our members, who are sharing their journeys up and down (and sometimes out of!) the country on their hired Brompton bike. If you'd like to submit yours, please get in touch by emailing us
Arthur Daw [@AWDaw_Design] lives in Bristol and works as a Landscape Architect. He writes this post using a bike hired from his local Bristol Parkway dock.
Bristol to Rennes - From rain to Rennes
It was just after Christmas, and I was asking around for inspiration on what we should do for New Year’s Eve, when I realised that it was going to be one of those years where it was going to be an expensive let down. And so I thought to myself, "What is it I would actually like to do over this time off?" (I don’t get much so wanted to make the most of it!), and going for an adventurous bike ride, I knew would be fun no matter where we ended up. I texted my mate Lee, and suggested we should go somewhere random and exciting, maybe even abroad, and he immediately agreed it was a great idea. We were on the end of some teasing and jokes from our mates… but that didn’t stop us!
It was the night before New Year’s Eve, straight after work, when Lee and I made plans. It was then when it dawned on us that our mountain bikes needed a bit of a fix and a service, it was raining, and we didn’t have the slightest idea how we were going to get to another country (Wales just isn’t far enough!). As a matter of pride we decided to not fall at the first hurdle and to just wing it. We agreed that if we got a couple of Brompton folding bikes, we could cycle towards the south coast and see what happened. The worst case scenario was we folded our bikes up and get a bus or hitched a lift... We couldn’t go wrong! So we reserved a couple of bikes, took them out the new Bristol Parkway dock and set off at 6am on New Year’s Eve.
We got to Warminster by noon, and at Salisbury we jumped into a Wetherspoons for quick bite, and then cycled into the unknown towards Southampton. We arrived at 11pm in Southampton, which we thought was actually a good result, all on bike as there were not even any cars to hitch a lift from and it was far too cold to sleep under the stars. We sourced a kebab, found a cheap hotel and went to the closest pub to ring in the New Year.
Day 2 was not so easy. A bit of a late start and a mean head wind meant that it took us a whole day to get to Portsmouth, from where we caught a ferry. It was bit lucky we got the boat as it was the only one setting sail that day, and we only just arrived in the nick of time. We hadn't really thought we would get this far so we didn’t even know how long we were staying once we got to France; we were asked if we wanted to stay two hours or two days.... so we said two days! But then we weren't too sure where, or what we were doing for two days. Luckily, we were given the recommendation to head to the city of Rennes, so we set off at as soon as the ferry landed at 9am.
There was a lovely route down the Canal d'Ille et Rance which we followed the whole way, reaching Rennes at 9pm after an absolutely brilliant day spent in the French countryside. We celebrated by having a delicious French meal, and of course some terrific French wine! We stayed the night, folded our bikes up and made our way back for work on the Monday.
Ha, who said we couldn’t do it on a fold up bike!