I’m heading to Ypres for ANZAC Day in a couple of weeks (new ZZR1400 needs a bit of a run, rather than just commuting through Holborn :P) and was wondering if anyone has any tips or advice on what to do/avoid? Also, is anyone else heading over by any chance? If so, wanna meet up and go together? I’m leaving on the 23rd
I’ve got the week off, so was planning on pottering around the north of France as well a bit. Again, any tips or advice would be appreciated.
Funnily enough, I was there 2 years ago too. My great great uncle was one of the Zonnebeke Five (Jim Hunter).
As for the oil levels, tyres, and brakes etc, the bike has been in for a service today and everything’s looking good. I’ve got the hi vis vest already, but I have absolutely no clue how to replace bulbs on this thing. Guess I’d better figure it out
I was out there two years ago. Get a look in at the museum of the battle of Somme. Check your oil level before you go, and compare when you get back. Some bikes tend to use a lot of oil when ridden hard. Legally, make sure you have a spare set of bulbs, and a hi vi in case you brake down, both of which are a legal necessity. Naturally, you're going to check your tyres and brakes before you leave.
No wonder you had so much trouble with that old Triumph!
The stuff you mention is for everyday checks not just when doing the offski to Belgium
It’s not far from the ferry terminals (Calais or Dunkirk) so I’d not really do anything specific en route.
In the town, they did up the museum in the cathedral for the centenary (of the outbreak of the war) and I think it’s really good.
I remember being disappointed by the museum in Passendale, but I don’t remember why.
Langemarck cemetary’s well worth a stop if Teutonic sombreness is your bag. Really highlights how English-country-garden the British ones are.
There’s a huge crater at Hooge, from one of the mines. I think it’s mostly a cafe, though.
Hill 62 claims to have preserved trenches. They’re obviously not, but they’re still a bit interesting. The guy’s also got a big room of stuff he and his friends have found in the surrounding fields slowly rotting away.
Tyne Cot’s probably the definitive British cemetery; it’s pretty awe-inspiring in scale (though so’s the Menin gate)
Around the North of France, I really enjoyed the Canadian memorial at Vimy ridge - they’ve a reconstructed trench system, a tour of the tunnels and the staff are all canadian so speak English :)
There’s not really much to Theipval or the Irish Memorial down the road from it. I think the latter’s a bit more interesting.
Lochnagar crater’s nearby - it’s just a big hole in the ground, from a mine.
La Coupole’s just outside Calais; it’s a museum of rocketry surrounded by a museum to the nazis building of the compound. It’s all a bit wolfensteiny
I stayed in Hotel O in Ypres on Thursday. Budget hotel, but it is right on the square, and the woman running it responded to me asking where I could leave my bike safely by clearing out the storeroom and having me bring my bike inside.
Cheers everyone, I appreciate the input :) I’ve spent a bit of time in Ypres previously, so a lot of the museums, cemeteries and war sites I’ve already seen. It was mainly the riding part that I’m unsure about. But, as long as I remember to stay on the wrong side of the road, I should be fine. I’ve hooked up USB power and a cradle to hold my phone (for GPS) on the bike, and installed a bluetooth headset into my helmet, so I should be fine. The final plan looks like being:
Sunday: London to Ypres via the Dover-Dunkirk ferry
Monday-Tuesday: ANZAC-y things and catching up with mates in Ypres
Wednesday: Ride to Saint-Quentin and explore a little
Thursday-Friday: Ride to Reims and explore. Plenty of champagne around, so staying 2 days so that I have at least one for drinking
Saturday: Ride to Dunkirk and either explore or collapse, depending on how sore I am after the ride
Sunday: Ferry from Dunkirk to Dover, then ride back to London
I’m staying in a combination of AirBnBs and Couchsurfing spots with spare rooms and motorcycle parking. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Waffle shop on the corner near the fountain (if its turned on)…
My favourite boot shop opposite the square and nearer the arch is my favourite handbag shop.
I love Ypres. Christmas it has an ice rink and Christmas market set up, lots of cafes and bars, all speak English.
We go a few times a year, nice smaller roads but hey don’t ask me what they are, I just follow lol