After a number of Committee meetings and Simon Barfoot & Daryol Laws attending the Gillingham Twinning Dinner recently and meeting with Committee members of both Le Neubourg and UVN (their cycle club, see UVN ) we intend for the BIG club ride for this year to be into France, and back of course!

The idea is to ride to Portsmouth docks on a Friday afternoon, approx 70 miles, to catch the overnight ferry to Caen.  Then, after breakfast, we ride about 80 miles or so to Le Neubourg Saturday morning.  UVN have a number of ‘sportives’ planned during their season and they would like to us to take part in one.  These are invariably held on the weekends so, it may be lunch and then off for another Saturday blast around the French countryside, or chill out, maybe visit their 250m Velodrome and then on Sunday “randonee” the French way!!  Then a Monday morning ride out to Le Havre to catch the afternoon ferry home, where you can either ride back to Gillingham or get some kindly family member to pick you up.  Both UVN and the Twinning team from Le Neubourg are very keen to host us and that includes accommodation; they would hear nothing of our ideas about using hotels or gites and would see it as an insult if we didn’t partake of their hospitality.

UVN were keen for us to visit in late July but we thought it would give us a little more time to organise if we went for mid-September and they seemed happy with this change of dates.  We also intend to try and cycle with the club from Brionne, which is one of Shaftesbury’s twin towns; a quick Google will show you that Brionne is only a few miles away from Le Neubourg.  More details including maps of the route etc will follow so watch the website but firstly we need to know how many club members would be interested.  So all of you who are interested, no commitment needed just yet, just notice of interest, please email Daryol at, also please add in your email if you ‘parlez francaise’!