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Twinning with a difference

The long bank holiday weekend of May 4-7 was the occasion for a visit to Hastings from one its twin towns, Dordrecht in The Netherlands. But this was twinning with a difference and with a distinctly bicycle feel as 15 members of the Dordrecht Touring Club De Mol were hosted by Hastings Urban Bikes. The newest recruit to HOT’s all-volunteer staff, Dutch correspondent Theo Rutten, reports on the weekend.

We were invited by Hastings Urban Bikes (HUB) to visit the town during the Jack in the Green festival and on Friday May 4 our party left for Hastings. We received a very warm welcome at The Stag Inn and spent a wonderful evening sharing our cycling experiences whilst being pampered by our hosts.

Although the weather could have been better – too bad, so sad, never mind – on Saturday we went for a cycling tour on, for us at least, the wrong side of the road. HUB guides took us through the beautiful countryside with its winding roads and we had to do our best on the occasional steep climbs. They took us along the coast to Pevensey. Then north along Herstmonceux to Bodle Street with a stop at the charming White Horse Inn for lunch. Then on to Boreham Street, Wartling and Hooe and finally from Cooden along the coast back to Hastings.

After dinner we all went to St. Mary-in-the-Castle for the Saturday-night Ceilidh, a new experience and a perfect opportunity to meet other local people and to enjoy ourselves.

On Sunday HUB took us along the coast to Rye, with a stop for a short boat trip, and then to Camber and Lydd ending up for lunch at the Britannia pub at Dungeness. At first rather windy and cold but it soon got better. After lunch we went through the countryside to Appledore, Rye, Icklesham, Guestling and back to Hastings.

Cycling appeared on occasions rather dangerous as cars where passing at high speed close to us due to the lack of dedicated cycling paths which we expected especially along the main roads and through towns but with the experience of our guides we were led safely through the countryside. As we were a rather large group – size does matter – and visibility on the narrow winding roads was limited, so we might have held up some cars trying to pass us. Thanks for your patience and we’ll try better next time.

On Sunday evening a Victorian tea party was organised and all experiences and findings of the last weekend were evaluated. Then on Monday morning just before we left we got to see the release of Jack in the Green and the following procession, very colourful, very entertaining, very nice. We also took a look at the other “bikers” who gathered in large groups on the boulevard.

We all want to thank HUB for their hospitality, I am sure we made some new friends and we will be pleased to welcome them on their return visit to Dordrecht.

On behalf of the Dutch cycling club ‘DTC de Mol’

 

Posted 17:25 Thursday, May 10, 2012 In: Green Times

Also in: Green Times

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