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FSI Essex to Amsterdam Cycling Challenge 2016


fsi-dare-to-be-greatDo you ‘dare to be great’ and take on
the ultimate cycling challenge with FSI?

FSI is proud to present our inaugural cycling challenge from our office in Essex to the Netherlands’ capital of Amsterdam this May 2016.  This will be a 2-day cycling event, with everything organised by professional cycling tour company, Ride25, and is destined to be an unforgettable couple of days of cycling and team building/networking – with a great sense of achievement at the end! Do you dare to be great in 2016?

With the ‘Grand Depart’ taking place outside Exchange House, Upminster, on Thursday 19th May 2016, we will pedal our way down to Harwich, crossing over via ferry to the Hook of Holland before arriving in Amsterdam for a celebratory meal and overnight stay on Friday 20th May 2016.  We will fly home to Southend on Saturday 21st May 2016 where a coach transfer will take us back to the office in Upminster.   Please see below for more information.

***Please note that this event is free of charge and is specifically for FSI employees only, or by personal invitation ***

dare-to-be-great-fsi-horizontal**REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT HAS NOW CLOSED**

Some information about the challenge..

When is it?

Thursday 19th May 2016 – Saturday 21st May 2016.

We will set off from Upminster on Thursday 19th May 2016 and arrive in Amsterdam on Friday 20th May 2016.  We will all fly home on Saturday 21st May, where, on arrival at Southend airport we will be met by a coach transfer who will take us back to the office in Upminster.

Days’ Cycling:



140 miles


Day 1 – Thurdsay 19th May – Upminster to Harwich – 81 miles

DAY 1 FSIArrive at Exchange House at 7.30am for registration where you will pick up your 2 cycling jerseys for your forthcoming adventure.  After a briefing from the Ride25 team, we will make our way through the beautiful Essex countryside and, after 20 miles, stop for a quick refuel of coffee/tea and homemade cakes at The Lounge – a nice cafe/restaurant in Ingatestone.  We will then hop back on the bikes heading towards Harwich and stop for a buffet lunch at The Bull in Great Totham.   The afternoon will be spent continuing our journey towards Harwich with a quick coffee stop at a country pub in Nayland – The Anchor Inn.  Then, back on our bikes, before long, the estuary to the North Sea will be visible.  We will stop at The Tower in Harwich where you will have access to your bags and can take a shower.  We will load the bikes onto the van and then, after freshening up, will enjoy a hearty evening meal at the restaurant and a few drinks.  After dinner, we will take a minibus for the short journey to the ferry port, where we will board our ferry as a foot passenger (your bike will be in the Ride25 van) for an overnight crossing and get a good night’s sleep before we embark on the following day’s ride.

Day 1 Strava route including elevation:


Day 2 – Friday 20th May 2016 – Hook of Holland to Amsterdam – 56.8 miles

DAY 2 FSIAfter breakfast on the ferry, we will disembark at 9am and begin our final day’s riding.  The morning sees us following the coastline northwards, past sand dunes and spectacular beaches.  We will stop for a morning coffee break next to the beach at The Beach Club in Katwijk and then continue along the coast onto lunch in Nederzant at The StrandRestaurant. For those looking for a bit of an extra challenge on the final day, there is the option of taking an extra loop of 22 miles before lunch.  Alternatively, if your legs have had enough, you are welcome to stop for an early lunch.

After lunch, we continue pedalling in the  Zuid-Kennemerland National Park where will enjoy cycling mostly on cycle paths, before arriving for our triumphant finish in Dam Square, Amsterdam!  Here, we will take photos and give each other plenty of pats on the back before loading our bikes on the van to be taken back to Upminster.   In the evening, we will enjoy a celebratory meal and a few drinks at a fabulous, traditional Dutch restaurant housed in a 17th century building followed by and an overnight stay at the Park Plaza – a lovely 4 star central hotel in Amsterdam.

Day 2 Strava route including elevation profile

Day 2 – Shorter route :

Extra loop before lunch (if you fancy a bigger challenge): 

Day 2 – whole route including the extra loop all as one route-

Day 3 – Saturday 21st May – flight home

On the Saturday, after breakfast at the hotel, you will have a couple of hours to explore the wonders of Amsterdam before we all make our way to Amsterdam Schiphol airport.  We will fly back to Southend airport on the 15:40 Easyjet flight, which arrives at 15:40 (UK time) where we will be picked up by coach to take us back to the office in Upminster.  Please note, your bikes will be transported back to the UK for you by Ride25 vans.

Full flight details: Easyjet – U2 7404 Y  – 21st May 2016 –  Amsterdam airport Schiphol to Southend airport.  Departure: 15.40. Arrival 15.40 (UK Time).



How will I navigate?

Please note that the route is not sign-posted and we encourage everyone to either have a Garmin (or similar GPS navigation device) or install the Strava App & routes onto your phone.  Garmin has launched various new models in the last 12 months, many of which include navigation at far lower price points.  See reviews here ( – a great excuse for a new cycling gadget!

As always, we do not follow the quickest routes each day – the routes are planned to minimise traffic & busy roads and maximise the scenery & significant places.

If using various versions of Garmin to prevent navigation problems please

  • Follow the route as a “Course”
  • Ensure that “Autocorrect” is turned off in your settings for each course
  • Do not “navigate to start” when prompted at the start of a ride – both will cause you problems with navigation.

Ride25 will provide an amazing cloth micro-fibre map that will get you out of trouble if you are lost with no working devices but to navigate effectively you’ll need to use a Garmin or Strava on your phone.

Please print off our guide for using Strava on your mobile phone below:


Do I need to train?

Yes! Cycling from Essex to Amsterdam is a significant challenge but it is achievable. We do recommend you follow a training schedule, lots of advice HERE. You can always call the Ride25 support team if you need picked up at any point.

Please remember that wou will enjoy the cycling, company, scenery, food and wine a lot more if you are that little bit fitter!



How do I get home from Amsterdam?

FSI will arrange your flight from Schiphol to Southend airport to return home on Saturday 21st May 2016 via Easyjet – arriving at 15.40.  At Southend, a coach transfer will pick us up to take us back to the office in Upminster. Your bike will be transported back to the office in Upminster via a Ride25 van.

What is the cost – and what’s included?

There is no cost for the cycling challenge.

The following is included:

  • Rome to Milan 2015 Ride25 296All breakfast, lunch, coffee stops.
  • All dinners – including a celebratory meal in Amsterdam
  • Drinks on Thursday and Friday nights
  • All accommodation for 2 nights:  (Ferry, Amsterdam)
  • 2 x FSI Branded, personalised cycling shirts for use on your trip
  • Fully professionally supported route – first aiders, ride leaders & bike mechanics.
  • All photos & video of the event, professionally edited – but shot by our crew.
  • Garmin / Strava – GPX route to download beforehand.
  • Branded cloth maps
  • Return of your bike to the FSI head office in Upminster

Optional extras:

  • FSI waterproof cycling gilet (this can be purchased before the event)

What’s not included?

  • A Bike!
  • Personal insurance

How do I book a place? 

To book your place, you will need to register here.

What do I need to bring?

  • Rome to Milan 2015 Ride25 237Chamois Cream – lots
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses / clear lenses for glasses
  • Large saddle bag with –  2 x spare inner tubes, puncture repair kit and tyre leavers
  • Cycle pump or gas canisters
  • 2 x large water bottles for hydration drinks and water
  • Your favourite energy gels or bars
  • Sun cream
  • Top bar bag for phone, wallet and energy stuff
  • Phone mount if you are using Strava as a navigation tool
  • Portable battery charger for mobile
  • Garmin (or similar GPS navigation device) or Strava App for phone
  • Bright lights (Front & Rear) – hopefully you won’t be cycling at night but a good precaution
  • A bell for your bike (this is a legal requirement in the Netherlands)
  • EHIC Card (formerly E111) – these are free. Click here to get one
  • One hand luggage sized bag (for all your belongings)
  • Passport and personal insurance document

What bag should I bring?

Important note: Please bear in mind that there is only limited space in the van for your bags.  Therefore, all your belongings that you do not need whilst you are on your bike need to be contained in a hand luggage sized bag i.e. 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 18in x 10in) and should weigh no more than 10kg.

What clothes should I bring?

Ride25 Geneva to Milan June 2015081We recommend layering up so that you can add or remove items of clothing to keep you at a comfortable temperature. Always make sure you carry waterproof layers with you and buy clothes made from a fabric that is designed specifically for exercise that will absorb sweat and dry out quickly.

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Cycling socks
  • Cycling shoes and pedals (either clipless with your own pedals or firm-soled shoes suitable for cycling)
  • Helmet
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Cycling overshoes (a good idea if the weather looks bad, but not essential)
  • Arm and leg warmers (if it looks like the weather will be bad)
  • Some comfortable, casual eveningwear for when we kick back and relax in the evenings and for the celebratory meal in Amsterdam.

To get a flavour of the challenge ahead of you, please check out the video below!



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