Something To Declare: Leeds and London; bike theft; Mersey
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Saturday 21 April 2007
Bargain of the week: Leeds and London
The East Coast Main Line operator GNER ( www.gner.co.uk) has a special £5 online fare on trains between Leeds and London for travel from 21 May to mid-July. The price applies to one-way journeys between London King's Cross and Leeds City, or on any intermediate trip (eg London-Doncaster or Peterborough-Wakefield). Availability is strictly limited, and the company says that the best deals are available on trains in the middle of the day or in the late evening from Monday to Friday, or at any time on Saturdays.
Warning of the week: double-lock your bike in the Netherlands
Bike theft in the Netherlands is rampant, according to the online travel-advice website Wikitravel. It publishes detailed advice about how to avoid it, warning against parking a bike near a station. The site also advises that cyclists should use two locks of different kinds (for example, one chain lock and one tube lock), because most bike thieves specialise in, or carry equipment best suited to, only one kind of lock.
You should also be wary of bike bargains. "In cities, most bikes are stolen by drug addicts. They simply offer them for sale to passers-by, if they think no police are watching. Buying a stolen bike is itself illegal, and police do arrest buyers.
"If you buy for a suspiciously low price (eg €10-€20), or in a suspicious place (on the street), the law presumes that you 'know or should have known' that the bike was stolen. In other words, actual ignorance of the bike's origins is no excuse."
Destination of the week: ferry down the Mersey
Mersey Ferries has just launched its programme of special cruises for the summer, which, due to redevelopment of the Pier Head in Liverpool, are setting off from Birkenhead and Wallasey in the Wirral.
The main attraction is the six-hour cruise between the Wirral and Salford Quays along the Manchester Ship Canal. The journey carves through a slice of industrial history as well as some fine scenery as it changes altitude by 60ft with the help of five sets of locks.
The cruises began this week, and will run most weekends and some weekdays until the end of September. The £32 fare includes a bus transfer back to your starting point, with a £2 discount for children and senior citizens. To book, call 0151 330 1444 or visit www.merseyferries.co.uk.
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