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Brussels to Amsterdam – Fixed

GoPro Stills

Last weekend me and four others (Sean, Sammy, Chai and Pauly) from Nottingham joined the 5th Floor Crew, to embarked on a little (140 mile) bike ride adventure.

Click more below to see what we got up too..

Day 1

In preparation for the trip I had gone all out and kitted the new bike up with plenty of accessories to help with the ride. It looks a little ridiculous but I would be riding serious mileage on it and wanted it to be as comfortable as possible!

Note: The bike is still in development. There will be a post up of it completed.

Here it is out side Brik Barbershop Nottingham.

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Met up with the other Notts riders and waited to get the hire van round to take us down to London.

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Loading up the van. It was about £30 each for hire and fuel. Not too bad considering it would cost roughly the same to get a train, but then you have the hassle of only getting two bikes on at a time etc.. Luckily we had someone kind enough to drive us down there! We arrived In London and had to give our bikes to the Eurostar dispatch centre. Our train was at 6.20am the next day and the dispatch centre opens at 7.30 hence why we put them on the night before. We travelled across London and met with my friend Joe where we crashed at his place for the night.

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Day Two

Up at 4.30am and caught a cab back across London to St Pancras station.

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Arrived at St Pan and met up with the 5th Floor guys. There was about 15 of us in total. Got on the Eurostar and set off.

The train amazes me. In no time at all we were out of London and then blasting through the channel tunnel. While we were traveling through French country side I turned the GPS on my phone to see the speed… we were averaging 180 mph, Possibly the quickest I’ve been on land :s.

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Arrived in Brussels and got set up. We met with two Austrian riders that were joining us also Mario who would be our guide up to Antwerp.

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The ride through Brussels was good fun, lots of traffic to dodge. We rode up north through quite an industrial part of town. We then rode a few miles along a large canal were after about 20 miles we took our first break. The route we went, lead us across some dirt tracks which meant we got a little muddy..

(Photo: 5th Floor)

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We kept riding for another 15 miles or so when we realised that it felt very familiar.. we soon realised that we had just done a rather large loop. Once back on track we headed along a 7 mile main road/motorway into Antwerp. It wasn’t too bad though because there were cycle lanes for us to ride on. Mario got a puncture so we took the opportunity to take another quick break.

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Arrived in Antwerp and navigated our way through the streets.

(Photo: Sean)

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Arrived at a fixed gear shop called Fixerati. We were welcomed with free beer, always a plus after a 40 mile ride. Had a look around the shop, which was super cool then went out in Antwerp for some lunch. After I demolished a Pizza we headed back to the shop. I bought a Cinelli stem that I had ordered 3 times in the UK but never received. Fitted that and then we headed off again.

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Made our way out of Antwerp, said goodbye to Mario, now we had to navigate our way on our own. We tried to follow the printed maps we had, ended up in a pretty large industrial estate and realised we were a little lost. We decided it was time to bust out the tomtom. Luckily I had downloaded it for my phone just before I left the house. The kind tomtom lady navigated us through the monster industrial shipping port, that went on for about 10 miles eventually leading to the countryside..

(Photo: Sean)

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Stopped off along a country road to take a little break. Sean got this wicked picture of Sammy looking down the farm track..

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Ok, so we got to the next town and decided to have a quick look at how far we still had to go till the final destination. The tomtom was saying 50 miles. This was not good news. It was 7pm and the light was starting to die. A couple of guys we were with decided they couldn’t go any further and asked a local if there was a train station near by. It turned out that there was one about 7 miles away. So we headed to the town and luckily we managed to jump on the last train to a place called Middleburg. The train took about 45 min to get there, the distance seemed far. By the time we got off the train it was dark. Riding all that way in the dark would have been super sketchy. Also we didn’t have a place booked to stay so we really needed to get somewhere before everywhere closed. Excuses I know, but we still managed 70 miles so I think its acceptable.

The 5th Floor crew had booked a hotel in the neighbouring town which was 20 miles away so they managed to blag their way on to a public bus with their bikes! We went to the first decent looking hotel we could find and asked if they had any spare rooms. This mega pimpin guy greeted us and said he only had two rooms available. There was 7 of us so it was going to be a bit of a squeeze. He offered us the rooms and breakfast for €35 each. A pretty sweet deal but we said we were looking to spend maximum 30. He was happy to do that. Win. We were worried he might sell our bike though, as we left them unlocked in his garden.. We had a quick wander round the town then got to bed.

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Here’s the tracked GPS data from the day. Recorded with GPS by MotionX


View Larger Map

Day Three

Up bright and early. Claimed our free breakfast and headed off.

Hotel Le Beau Rivage… The owner and his wife’s cars sat out front. The business.

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We had a 20 mile ride across some huge Dykes and through wind farms to meet up with the rest of the riders in the next town. It was a nice morning ride along the coast line.

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As soon as we met up with the others it started to rain. We set off in the hope that it would clear up..

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About 30 miles into the ride we crossed another monster Dyke..

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There were these deadly metal strips in the middle of the path. Rudy (right) was the first to get owned, it sent him crashing into the wall. Next was Chai (on the floor) and Sean had no choice but to ride directly into his leg and balls which meant he went over the handle bars hitting his face on his wheel and then the floor..

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Luckily everyone was ok.. ish. Seans face was a little worse for wear and his bike had a dent in the top tube where the handle bars smashed into it. Once we sorted everyone out we took the opportunity to get a quick picture..

(Sean fourth from the right with a bloody face. Photo: 5th Floor)

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More wet riding through green country side. By this point everything was completely soaked. it was ridiculous. Luckily it wasn’t too cold. It was about at this point when I got stung on my finger by what only could’ve been a wasp. It some how got through my glove. It was a real pain, it made my finger numb and sent wired pulses up my arm. Just what I needed, lame.

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We finally made it to Rotterdam where we met up with some guys from Amsterdam. The plan was to ride the rest of the way, with them into A’dam but we decided it was just too wet. So we got some lunch and jumped on the train. Again, yes it was a bit of a cheat but we still managed another 70 miles that day. So 140 in two days, on a fixie, isnt too bad in my opinion :).

We arrived in Amsterdam with enough time to have a little wander about then the five of us from Notts headed to Sean’s sisters place where she very kindly offered a place to stay. We dropped off our stuff and went for another wander about. Ended up going through the red light district.. Unbelievable.

Bikes made it to Amsterdam. Camera lens is foggy on the phone after being in wet pocket for 7 hours.

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Some stills taken off the GoPro footage, from the day.

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Here’s the tracked GPS data from the day. Recorded with GPS by MotionX


View Larger Map

Day Four

Up not so early. We were pretty crashed out, possibly got the best nights sleep, and I was only on a floor. Needed the rest obviously. We headed out and met the others at a shop called Patta. Pretty famous for having limited edition sneakers and clothing. We had a look around and I spotted some Nike SBs in the sale..

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We got some lunch then chilled by one of the many canals with a couple of beers.

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Riding my bike and carrying my old shoes in the box was a bit of a mission.. Chai reckoned that he could tape the box on the back of the bike. We didn’t think it would work.. much to our amazement it did!

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We were all meant to be meeting at the bike shop Pristine. However we had no idea where it was. So we waited around until we spotted someone on a fixie to ask them. We saw a girl on one (Fixies seem to be incredibly rare in A’dam, saw about 6 the whole time there) and flagged her down. She didn’t know where it was but did have a phone with tinterwebs.

(Getting directions. Photo: Sean)

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We ended up meeting with the owner of Pristine and he led us to the shop. He opened it up for us and let us have a poke around.

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The shop is super cool lots of nice gear and all really well displayed.

(Photo: 5th Floor)

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Sat up stairs in the cafe area with some beers and chilled for a bit

(Photo: 5th Floor)

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Day Five

Day of travel. Got up and headed to the train station where we caught a train to Hook Of Holland, where we then caught the ferry.

Check out this little timelapse video I took while on train and ferry..

Train and Ferry Timelapse from Rob Antill on Vimeo.

The ferry we were on was pretty wicked. It was fairly new so it had all the mod cons like free wifi, PS3s, internet cafe, cinema and a out door basket ball court!

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The weather was amazing, I pulled up a deck chair, cracked open a beer and chilled the fu*k out.

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Arrived in Harwich, 6 hours later where another kind friend came and picked us up in a mini van. Just 3 more hours and we were back in Nottingham.

Over all, the trip was amazing. It was only short but it felt like we did a lot. Traveling that distance on a bike (especially bikes with no gears or free wheels) made me feel like we achieved something. I would highly recommend riding this part of the world, as cycling is so well catered for. It felt like bikes were actually taken seriously and respected, which I love.

Now I have the task of sorting all the GoPro footage we captured and putting it into some sort of edit.. stick around for that.

Any way, it was a bit of a mission writing this, there’s plenty more stuff  I could have gone on about, so if you want to know anything else just leave a comment..

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