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Dieppe Raid 2019

by
Andy Bebington

with photos by the Chain Gang


Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

The Dieppe Raid 2019 was remarkable for two notable rides, one of 60 km which some of us thought would never happen and one of 100km which a doctor had directed should never happen.

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Eight of us had gathered in Portsmouth on Thursday for the night ferry to Le Havre, whence we set off at the crack of dawn for the ride to Rouen. The temperature was scheduled to be scorchio and eventually peaked at something like 37°C. When we reached Lillebonne for coffee, with 22 miles on the clock, someone asked Phil what was wrong with his leg - he had a 6" split up the centre of his calf … and he hadn't noticed it (nor had it slowed him down from riding with the rest of us all morning). A visit to hospital was called for (with Andy left behind to act as interpreter). He had 12 stitches inserted and two vaccinations; cycling, the doctor said, was forbidden for ten days or so. From the hospital to the town was downhill, so freewheeling was clearly better than walking - so they did, and then they tried to get a taxi to the nearest station (7 miles away and 550' up the valley).

Dieppe Raid

There was no taxi available to take two of them and two bikes, and no hotel for an overnight stop. No taxi meant adopting plan C (or was it D?) - i.e. ride to the station, despite doctors' orders. Trains are every three hours from the station at Bolbec (no, we'd not heard of it, either) and they waited 75 minutes before it didn't arrive; Plan E was being formulated when it did arrive (10 minutes late) and they eventually met up (by coincidence) with the others in Rouen. They had cycled the remaining 40-odd miles from Lillebonne (at pace, to make up for lost time), in temperatures up to 37°C.

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Phil took the train to Dieppe on the following day. The rest of us didn't - we flogged it up that bl**dy hill north out of town and reached Auffay in good time for lunch in our favourite café. Well. It was our favourite café until we discovered that it was closed. The trip was not going to plan - but we survived, courtesy of a boulangerie and a bar, and reached Dieppe in good time for the usual welcome session with the Mayor's representative.

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

The day of The Ride saw Bob have a puncture before we even started, but he said he'd catch us up (he did …) so we set off, complete with Phil, who decided that 7 miles on Friday without adverse consequences meant that 60-plus on Sunday would be in order (he did get back without any problem - that was the 100km ride the doctor had forbidden; she'd have been furious!). And when we got back to the sports hall, we found Paul.

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Paul did the other notable ride, being 60km (which he had completed by 11 a.m. …). This came as a relief to those of us who feared that Paul might never ride "properly" again after his horrific collision some time ago. That he did it was good, that he did it in only three hours was commendable. Given that Dieppe had been such a large element in Paul's life (he organised the UK end for many years after Neville Chanin gave up) and cycling an even larger element, this ride showed that all was not lost.

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

The temperature on The Ride had dropped by 15°C from the heatwave of the previous days and, although there was quite a stiff breeze blowing, the cycling was pleasant. We faced four major climbs on the day, totalling over 3000', and stopped as usual in Envermeu where Andy's standing order of Orangina was almost overlooked. On arrival at the closing reception (where the food was quite outstanding in contrast to previous years) we found that we had won the prize for the fourth largest foreign contingent. Had Horace and David logged themselves in as Croydon CTC, we might have won third prize. Ho, hum!

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

Dieppe Raid

The lunchtime ferry on Monday meant that there wasn't really time for a morning ride, so we mooched, and we shopped, and we joined the ferry queue - and the ferry left 45 minutes late, almost unheard of, maybe the staff had heard something about Brexit? Four of us headed for Seaford while the rest headed off by bike for home - and we found a café near the station for fish'n'chips before catching the slow train to Lewes and thence to East Croydon, tired (as they say) but happy.

Dieppe Raid

The full Photo Album for the trip can be found here.


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