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Curing Cycle Touring Seasickness with a Smooth Ride to France

Curing Cycle Touring Seasickness with a Smooth Ride to France

Isn’t it always the way. You either (a) build yourself up for a major occasion only for it to be a major letdown or (b) you blindly dive into a situation totally unprepared only for everything to go like clockwork.

Such was the situation with the e-Bike Cycle Tourists much anticipated crossing of the English Channel via Brittany Ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff, with situation (a) definitely the outcome.

However in this case the major letdown was cause for much celebration given our combined fear of a night of seasickness on the high seas.

With gale force 100kph winds the order of the day earlier in the week a rudimentary scan of the weather forecast seemed to indicate that Thursday night promised the best window of opportunity for a calm crossing.

So it was with bated breath that we made the online booking for the crossing from our windswept tent at a campground at Tavistock 20kms outside of Plymouth.

With our ferry due to depart at 9.30pm on Thursday evening, we enjoyed a sleep in and slowly cycled into Plymouth early in the afternoon, all the time scanning the skies and analysing every gust of wind for severity and possible evil intent.

After a couple of hours of generally updating websites, scanning weather forecasts and generally getting our affairs in order at a local Plymouth coffee shop, seasickness tablets were purchased from a chemist before making our way to the ferry terminal to book in.

On our arrival we didn’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed when we were informed that the ferry had been delayed for four hours – you guessed it – by disruptions linked to the gale force winds earlier in the week.

“Could this be a timely four hour reprieve before having to face the worst the English Channel can throw at us,” we wondered. “Maybe we should rebook to a later sailing time.”

In the end we decided that there was no point procrastinating any longer, the booking was made, just get on with it.

After finally boarding our ferry soon after midnight we were shown to our cabin – and that is just about the end of the story.

We both promptly fell asleep, only to be awoken by an announcement at about 8.30am that it was time to disembark.

Yes, that is right, we slept through the entire voyage, did not see any more of the ship than our cabin, did not see the English Channel, did not get seasick and obviously as it turned out did not have anything at all to fear about a dreadful night of seasickness.

The upshot to the story? The channel, we were told, was as flat as a billiard table for the entire journey and did not have a ripple in sight, let alone a wave.

So there you have it, despite all our worries, all of the nervous energy expended, all of the time spent accessing weather forecasts, all of the “should we do this” or “should we do that” discussions, in the end everything worked out perfectly well by itself.

And in many ways our crossing the English Channel experience mirrors what has been happening on a day to day basis while cycle touring. Since leaving London on April 23 in an attempt to set a new world long distance e-bike record, we have never failed to be amazed by how often seemingly difficult situations are so easily solved.

Every time we have been lost there has been someone there to put us on the right track. Every time we have needed assistance of some kind there has been someone there to lend a helping hand. Every time we have needed to find a campground at the end of a long day’s cycling there has been one just around the corner, the day we needed an urgent lift into town after Rachel suffered an allergic reaction there was someone there with a car.

Anyway, we are now finally in France eager to get started on the next leg of our amazing adventure to set a new e-biking record.

With a day in Roscoff to get our bearings, stock up on French maps and to generally take in a bit of French culture, the plan is to head off tomorrow to start exploring the Brittany region before arriving in Nantes for the journey in the Loire Valley along EuroVelo 6 and later on to Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

With more than 900kms already clocked up we are within striking distance of 1000kms – 1/16th of what we are required to cycle to set a new world record of in excess of 16,047kms.

So far so good – and better still we didn’t even get seasick!


Gary Corbett is an award-winning Australian journalist who has written for a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and travel magazines for the past 30-plus years.

After years of writing about other people’s travel adventures, in the mid-2000s he  booked a personal holiday with a difference – a one week guided cycling tour in the Loire Valley in France – and was instantly hooked on those “how good is this” moments that only cycle touring can provide.

In ensuing years he has gone on to cycle well in excess of 30,000 kilometres completing guided, self-guided, bike and barge and solo long distance tours in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.

Gary now writes exclusively about cycle touring and travelling in general and as such the attempt to set a new electric bike world long distance record along with his wife, Rachel, is his latest “fact finding” cycling adventure – however this time it will be on an e-bike.

His future goal is to see more of the world from the seat of his trusty Trek 520 touring bicycle, and now that he has discovered the world of e-biking, his new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bike. There is, after all, always another country to be explored, new cultures to be experienced and more cycle tours to be completed.

Before this epic journey Gary (a.k.a. The Cycle Tourist) contributed many excellent cycle touring articles to the Cycle Tours Global blog - you can read them at find out even more about the expedition please visit


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By: Gary Corbett
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