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Enterprising stag party snap up 13 bikes to get home from Amsterdam after flight cancelled

Only option of returning to UK was to take a ferry on which foot passengers weren’t allowed – but cyclists were

An enterprising stag party who paid a trip to Amsterdam to toast the groom’s impending wedding put their hangovers aside and their thinking hats on when their flight home was cancelled – by buying up 13 bikes so they could travel back to the UK on a ferry that did not accept foot passengers, but welcomed cyclists.

As we mentioned on the Live Blog yesterday, after learning that their easyJet flight to London Gatwick, scheduled to depart Amsterdam Schipol at 1245 on Saturday, had been cancelled, they headed to Brussels by train, planning to travel onwards to Calais via Lille.

But when they found out about the ferry being off limits to foot passengers, they came up with the brainwave of buying up bicycles to enable them to be allowed on board what was the only available Channel crossing, spending an average of £100 for the second-hand bikes, reports ITV.com.

Given the likely libations enjoyed during their stay in Amsterdam, plus the time pressure to get back to the UK, they didn’t ride the bikes from Brussels to Lille, instead taking a train – but their plans were almost thwarted when they found out that only folding bikes were permitted on the onward connection to Calais.

That meant they had to bundle into taxis, complete with bikes, to get to the Channel port, costing them another £300 per trip.

Added onto the cost of the bicycles and the train and ferry fares, the virtual meter ticking over since they left Amsterdam must have been at serious risk of overheating by now – and the budget for the trip, but hopefully not the wedding, well and truly blown, with the stag party spending an estimated €400 each on the escapade.

All but one of the 14-strong party managed to secure a bike – and the one who didn’t blagged his way into a car as a passenger with a couple returning from holiday, which on reflection might have been a cheaper, albeit riskier, strategy all round (perhaps that’s just my Aberdonian side?).

Their adventure saw them dock in Dover 12 hours after their flight had been cancelled, with groom Alex Sisan, who lives in Worthing, West Sussex, saying: “We had the craziest day, but we just wanted to get home and we ended up spending 1,540 euros (£1,300) on bikes!

“I was on Facebook Marketplace for two hours, with the pin location set to Lille, trying to arrange to buy some of these bikes. They ranged from €40 – to €220!

“At the time it didn’t feel like fun, but I had two of the best days of my life with 13 best friends and this just topped it off,” continued the 29 year old, who will marry fiancée Holly Matthews next month.

“Looking back, the experience was so stressful and like something from a movie or a Top Gear challenge.

“But it was so much fun and a brilliant story that I will be telling at the wedding, and hopefully to my kids, and then their kids,” he added – something we imagine that not every groom-to-be returning from his stag party in Amsterdam can say.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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