Regular readers of the Folding Society web pages will know that a small group of us go away for a weeknd together with our folders once or twice a year. This year Dave Minter and Susan Barlow arranged a trip to Jersey, only a few weeks before they returned to Australia. Most of the regulars on these trips took part, along with some newcomers. Rosemary Hadland describes the highlights of the outing below. For photographs, see http://rosemary9605.fotopic.net/
Friday 19 September
The famous five [Rosemary, Tony, Susan, Dave and Paul - Ed] arrived at Birmingham International to fly to Jersey for a weekend of exploration, good food and fine company, oh, and a bit of cycling.
Flybe managed to be persuaded to take two bikes, a Brompton and a Micro, on as normal baggage, providing a Brompton bag and a backpack went on as hand baggage. The other three Brompton owners were not so lucky and had to pay for the privilege of taking their “sports equipment” on holiday with them, despite the fact that a lot of other passengers had larger and heavier luggage.
After a delayed start, due to a distressed dog in the hold whose owner could not be found, the flight went well. On arrival the Micro, being a more delicate machine, had sustained a bent chain-wheel, a bit of damage to the gear-toggle and a ding to one rear stay. The bike was soon mended by super technician Dave Minter and the five were on their way to meet up with the other members of the group at the hotel on the far side of St Helier.
The famous five joined up with the two who had traveled overnight on the ferry [Hazel and Dick - Ed] and briefly became the secret seven before the final member of the group arrived, by ferry with his car [Mike R - Ed], but thankfully without a dog, and made us the ---, well made us eight. For those who are wondering why anyone should bring their car on a folding bike expedition, the answer is simple, it was cheaper!!!
The evening was spent in a relaxed manner enjoying a glass or two and the hotel’s Portuguese cuisine.
As one of the three establishments we were in didn’t do breakfast until 8.30am we made quite a leisurely start.
We headed off through St Helier, the capital of Jersey, following one of the well mapped and signed cycle routes that traverse the island, out towards the north.
The first stop of the day should have been the La Mare Vineyard; we got there OK but failed to make them understand that we wanted coffee before we did the tour, and in consequence we had our coffee in St John and didn’t do the tour! Next stop was Bonne Nuit bay, just a short hop away, with a spectacular steep road down into the bay itself, and another coffee/lunch stop. The climb out of the bay was long, hot and hard work, even to walk up, but the views were magnificent!
Once back on top of the island we made our way over to the Pallot Steam Museum, which was having a live steam day. There we enjoyed some time eating ice creams, travelling on a steam train that went through a warehouse, and looking round the museum with its bikes, old televisions and collection of pianos and organs. Not to mention wondering around an assortment of old cars, tractors a working threshing machine and two BSA Parabikes.
Eventually we dragged ourselves away in the direction of the Jersey pottery. After speeding down a gloriously steep hill there was a spectacularly loud bang and some time was spent mending a puncture. This gave one or two of us the chance to walk up the next hill and sit at the top in the sun. Or, for one person, the opportunity to have a quick look at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation.
The Pottery provided a tea break and the chance to buy a few souvenirs. Then it was onwards to Gorey Harbour overlooked by Mount Orguiel Castle,.This is a beautiful spot and free entertainment was laid on in the form of one of the far too numerous 4x4s on the Island having to be dragged up the jetty by a tractor to stop it being submerged by the incoming tide.
It was then time to get back to the hotel before dark, to fold up the bikes for the night and to head into town for the evening.
Another relaxed start to the day; this time we headed west via the Glass Church, St Matthew’s, out towards Portelet Bay, with a short coffee break en-route. We then took to the converted railway line for a while on our way to the Lavender Farm for lunch. Lavender shortcake was acceptable but lavender tea with lavender ice cream was possibly a bit much!
After lunch it was back on the old track bed to La Corbiere, with a very short detour round the Jersey Velodrome. As beauty spots go this is not a bad one but it does have its share of tourist paraphernalia. The next section of cycle route gave us our only “rough stuff” - just a short cut over a headland to avoid a nasty portion of road where the all too numerous cars on Jersey become a real hazard.
Our last port of call for the trip was the Agate Pottery, interesting if you like the ware but not much to see otherwise, though the cafe across the road does a good cup of tea and the ice cream wasn’t bad either.
Once again we had our evening meal back at the hotel. And then said goodbye to the two staying on for a few more days.
So as to keep the possible cost of getting the bikes back home to a minimum, the owner of the car was gently persuaded to take two extra bikes with him, before saying good bye to him as well and then retiring to bed.
An early start and a taxi, though not the 7 seater minibus ordered, got five of us with the remaining three bikes and numerous bags to the airport in plenty of time to check in. No problem checking in the bikes! And just a bent chain wheel for the Micro on arrival back at Birmingham.
Jersey is an excellent island to explore by bike. There are a few hills and one or two are quite steep, but, by and large, the distances are comparatively short and the going quite easy. The views are stunning and the lanes green and leafy. There are plenty of attractions and something for everyone.
Our thanks go to Susan and David for putting together such an enjoyable and well planned trip.
For photographs, see http://rosemary9605.fotopic.net/
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(C)2005 Rosemary Hadland
Last updated: 6 November 2005