Following on from my
trip around Wales, and no longer with a girlfriend I planned a trip to
Holland to Visit my Uncle and Aunt who lived there.
And so it was on
29th march 1985 I rode up onto "The spirit of free enterprise"
for the Dover to Ostend crossing. The weather was foul and the ship was
rolling around like a good un. I was later to find that this was to be the
only crossing this day.
strapped down I went to try and get some sleep while all around me were
Once onto dry land I
was immediately blown sideways by the wind, Mmmm I though this will be a
fun journey, and so I headed out into deepest Belgium. Or so goes the
plans of mice and men , as I decided to remove my wax cotton
waterproof trousers (remember them guy and gals?) as the weather was
I was hardly out of
Ostend when the wind really picked up again. and as I was travelling along
the E5 a mega gust caught the side of my bike, and ripped the tank bag
off, and me and bike took a scenic tour of the E5 and eventually the
It would be an
understatement to say I hurt, the gravel seemed to have shaved several
layers of skin from my knees and all I could see was blood, as I had got a
nosebleed as I tumbled down the road.
As I tentively lifted
the visor, and tried to ascertain now't was broken, I first saw a Blonde
haired blue eyed beauty who uttered the immortal words " I am a nurse
please don't move" and then saw a policeman unclip his gun as he
walked towards me.
Unceremoniously I was
bundled into a VW Caravanette ambulance and then taken to Ostend hospital.
Where I fought for them not to cut off my boots, and had several X rays, 1
Plaster caste for a schaphoid bone break, and two tetanus jabs.
I do not recall how
but I was taken to the garage where my bike was (a guy who also restored
old Citroens) I had dinner with them (strangely I can recall this
being spag bog). Their 10 year old daughter translating for them. While I
waited for my
uncle and aunt to come and collect me.
I spent the rest of
the week hobbling around with my uncle and Aunt, and enjoying the
hospitality of the British forces bars, while trying to arrange help to
get the bike home, oh how I cursed not taking out the extra £15 insurance
at the time (I'll never go abroad with out now)
A week later I
returned to collect the bike and pushed it onto the boat, with an arm in
plaster bent handlebars and no help (ferrymen on go slow) not so easy. For
a lot easier trip home.
English customs, who
were also on a work to rule at that time searched all nooks and crannies
of the bike, even the pannier where the can of tyre weld had exploded. we
then had to unbolt large amounts to get it into the van my brother
borrowed to get me home.
I still have the
unpaid bill for 2.055 Belgium Francs for the ambulance unpaid at home.
I never ventured
across to the continent on a bike until the Original Mt Pingu in 2002.