Friends Steve and Anni Gregson write:
Mark, some more rally info. I also know that the Germans and Danes have annual rallies but I do not know any web-sites for them.
All over Europe, including the UK with its Birthday Rides, there are excellent weeks of well organised cycle touring organised by experienced club members in many countries. Anni and I took part this summer in 2 rallies and have enjoyed others in the past.
The 67th AIT international rally ( held in the Ardennes ) began on 16 July for 7 days, opening with a ride around the host town followed by snacks and wine plus a parade of old bicycles. Daily rides at 4 distances between 43 and 125km were held in parallel with off-road rides. One day there was a hog roast picnic for everyone. On our return each day, there was a large TV showing the Tour de France, beer and tasty 3-course dinner with wine followed by music, dancing and more beer including the special beers for which Belgium is justly famous. The full programme can be viewed on http://www.cyclo.marche.be/ In other words a very sociable week enjoyed by over 1300 cyclists from 14 countries. Although there was some rain, how lucky we were in that it generally stopped 5 minutes after our return to the H.Q.
The Swedish rally was held in the Central Southern area and followed a similar format. It was not quite as sociable but the very quiet routes certainly made up for the lack of lively evenings. Organised walks around Boras’s town sculptures, visits to old textile mills and free tickets to a first division team’s European match filled our evenings. See more on http://www.ctv2011.se/ A highlight was the first day when 2 hours passed without meeting a vehicle on Sweden`s quiet ways.
If anyone fancies a rally in 2012, here are some ideas:
The 68th AIT International cycle -rally in 2012 ; 1-8 July, Gijon, northern Spain. Details www.gijoncicloturismo2012.es . Accessible by LD Lines, Portsmouth-Le Havre or Newhaven- Dieppe then St Nazaire-Gijon. In 2013 it will be at Yverdon-les-Bains, on Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland,
The Swedish Rally in 2012; 29 July – 4 August, 2012 is in Varberg, south of Gothenburg on the coast and quite accessible from UK. www.cykelframjandet.se/ varberg and www.varberg.se . The Swedish rallies are on very quiet roads/ bridleways but as a rally , are less sociable than the AIT. You make your own entertainment in general.
There are 3 and 4 day mid-week rallies in Holland from May to September. Details can be found on www.fietsengeniet.nl. Distances approx. 30,40,60 and 100km daily. Inexpensive. Camping and other accommodation possibilities. Info in Dutch but should not be hard to work out . We did a few evening rides when working there. All well organised, informal and jolly. Nice and flat.
Anyone needing more info can contact us via the CTC Information Desk
Steve and Anni Gregson