Ever cycled through four different countries? Why not join us for a truly inspirational experience. The Four Countries challenge is a four day route, covering approximately 335 miles, taking you through beautiful English villages, into some of Europe’s most historical cities, passed Dunkirk and Bruges and finishing at the incredible city of Amsterdam. Passing canals, historical landmarks and breath-taking scenery is just a taste of what to expect on this event. If you are looking to achieve something different, this event is for you! This ride can be completed as a charity challenge, providing supporters with the opportunity to raise sponsorship for charity through their participation in the event, or for your individual enjoyment.
Day 1 – Canterbury to Bruges
Approximate cycling distance 132km (82 miles)
Your challenge begins, after registration, from the famous Canterbury Cathedral, heading east through country lanes and stunning villages, taking in the striking English countryside of rural Kent, towards Sandwich. Once we reach the sea line we head south continuing along the picturesque coast, passing through Deal and on to Dover. We then board the ferry to Dunkirk, completing stage one of the first day.
Stage two begins in France, as we head through Dunkirk. Steeped in history from WW2 historical events, we cycle through some remarkable terrain with constant reminders of events gone by and head up the coast towards the cosmopolitan city of Ostend. Finally, onto our first nights stop in Bruges. A wonderful city distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. You should have plenty of time to explore the many sights!
Day 2 – Bruges to Corsendonk
Approximate cycling distance 163km (101 miles)
After a good night’s rest and hearty breakfast we head east for a full days riding in Belgium, towards the university town and cultural hub of Ghent; as we cycle through country lanes and meander alongside many beautiful canals and waterways that Belgium has to offer…such a tranquil experience!
Continuing eastwards towards Dendermonde, we navigate waterways and the odd ferry until eventually returning back to charming country lanes, and on to our second nights stop in Corsendonk, where the famous Belgium beer is originally named after…worthy of a small taster perhaps if not too tired after all those miles!
Day 3 – Corsendonk to Vianen
Approximate cycling distance 121km (75 miles)
With the longest day behind us we start heading north into Holland, renowned for its cycle friendly attitude. So friendly in fact, that at roundabouts, those using pedal power have priority!
As we continue on our journey skirting around Eindhoven, the fifth largest town in the country, sampling some of the best cycle ways on offer, along canals, passing the odd windmill; we head through sleepy villages towards s-Hertogenbosch continuing towards the medieval old towns of Utrecht, where a final short ferry crossing awaits before we get to our hotel for the evening.
Day 4 – Vianen to Amsterdam
Approximate cycling distance 126km (78 miles)
Leaving our hotel we embark on another short ferry crossing and then on towards the fantastic city, and event finish, Amsterdam; continuing along on charming canals, beautiful country lanes and even over a 400 metre cycle bridge! We avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy city, despite fast approaching as the route keeps you on picturesque canal lanes and cycle paths right through to the finish line. You may be feeling the effects of your saddle but that is soon forgotten as you celebrate and wallow in the feeling of exhilaration as you look back at what’s been achieved!
Day 5 – Departure Day
After a leisurely breakfast, the event comes to an end. Your bikes will be safely transported back to the UK leaving you hassle free to continue with your onward arrangements whether homeward bound or enjoying the amazing delights that vibrant Amsterdam has to offer.
Motiv8 Events reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
• Full bike transport from the UK and back, if required.
• All accommodation
• All meals starting from lunch on day one to breakfast on day five.
• Complete transport of luggage between hotels during the ride
• Full trip support including mechanics, first aid, drivers and full route support
• Water stops
• Celebration meal in Amsterdam at the end of your ride.
• Personal transport to route start in Canterbury and from route finish in Amsterdam
• A bicycle
• Personal travel insurance
• Drinks, personal items or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit.
• Remember to allow extra for drinks, snacks, souvenirs and other personal expenses.
• We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
What can I expect from your accommodation?
Accommodation is in 3-4* hotels, picked for their proximity to our route. All the hotels we choose are excellent with en-suite facilities, offering exceptional value for money; standards however may vary between the hotels. The price of this trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own don’t worry, we will pair you up with somebody in a similar position. You can also opt for a single room, but this will incur a supplementary charge.
What food is included and does it cater for all diets?
Breakfast, lunch, and evening meal will be provided as part of the event package, starting with lunch on day 1 and finishing with breakfast on day 5. Evening meals and breakfasts will be provided at the hotels. Lunches are provided by Chapeau Catering and are a generous buffet-style (hot and cold) with plenty of energy food to keep you going! In addition, we will provide refreshments at each cycle checkpoint of which there will be 2 each day, in addition to lunch of course and consisting of water, juices and high-energy snacks – 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. Chapeau can cater for all special dietary requirements provided you let us know well in advance of the trip.
What’s unique about Chapeau…why should I choose you?
Our events are tailored to you…our team have physically driven and assessed every mile of the route to ensure the safest and best possible route for your challenge, so rest assured you are in the safest hands. All our routes are specifically tailored with you in mind.
How fit do I need to be?
Chapeau events attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. You will be in the saddle for upward of 70 miles a day for 4 consecutive days, so you should ensure, as a minimum that you are comfortable riding a 60-70 mile day and have achieved this regularly before you leave for the trip. The profile on some days can be hilly, so you should include some hilly rides in your training. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace; this is not a race.
Who will be there to support me during the event?
Your trip will be led by experienced Chapeau Events crew. Our crew are selected for their experience in cycling events around the world, their friendliness and approach-ability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. Our crew leaders are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with the Chapeau Events crew.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is well-marked, sorting out any mechanical problems or giving you a lift in our back vehicle – our “Love bus”. At Chapeau Events we pride ourselves on our high crew: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Will I be safe?
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
What happens to my luggage each day?
Our support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them as we travel to each destination. On reaching our hotels, at the end of each day, you will hand over your bike for safe overnight keeping and collect your luggage. Each morning, you will hand over your luggage and collect your bike. Obviously space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kit-bag.
What insurance will I require?
It is a requirement of entry that you have adequate insurance to cover your participation on the event. We will require a copy of valid insurance before travel. We also recommend that you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as the NHS will cover most medical care when travelling in Europe. You can apply for an EHIC at your local post office.
Is travel, to start of route in Canterbury and from end in Amsterdam, included?
No…you are responsible for your own travel arrangements to the start of the event in Canterbury and return travel from Amsterdam back to UK. Chapeau will, however ensure your bike is safely transport to and from the event if required, allowing you the freedom for free time in either fabulous cities. Perhaps a relaxing day in Canterbury before you embark on your adventure or exploring the wonderful sights Amsterdam has to offer, the choice is yours.
Chapeau events will of course provide advice on best travel options and further accommodation requirements should you require.
Will I receive further information?
Yes…a full detailed information pack will be issued following signed registration.