We caught a train from Lelystad to Assen as planned, and had a sightseeing afternoon once we had dropped the bikes off at our hotel. I have to take a moment to rave about travelling with a bike on a Dutch train – proper bike space, no hanging the bikes by their wheels and all very easy.Continue reading
It looks as though I didn’t ever finish my blog about our 2019 trip. That’s a shame, as we had fun – cycled on from Lelystad to Zaandam and then returned to the UK via the usual ferry. I had no idea, of course, that we wouldn’t get away for a cycle tour again for three years due to Covid and family issues. It feels like longer, to be honest. It felt familiar and unfamiliar to be cycling from Newcastle out to North Shields to get the ferry to IJMuiden again – lots of the old landmarks but also brilliant sunshine, which isn’t traditional for us. Sitting outside in the ‘Sky Bar’ on the ferry while it headed out to the North Sea felt properly holiday-ish.
Over the Houtribdijk to Lelystad on another windy, but mercifully mainly dry, day. We cycled over this in the opposite direction in 2017 into a mad headwind the whole way. Mainly crosswind this time which was only a problem on the first section where the cycle path runs right beside the road, and every passing lorry gave us a big sideways gust with added sand. It took some time to shower it all out of my hair and face when we reached the hotel.
We are really not putting in the distance this trip – and only partly by design. We set off on day 7 to cycle to Enkhuizen, which should have been around 69km. The weather forecast didn’t look too good but we put our faith in goretex and neoprene. The cycle to the ferry was a slog into the wind most of the way, but the real fun started at Den Helder as the heavens opened.
Setting off yesterday to cycle round the island I was feeling smug about having dodged the usual day 3 curse by having a rest-and-sightseeing day. Legs were feeling springy, the sun was shining and the cycling deities appeared to be smiling on us.
So far this year there has been far too much work and not enough cycling. We have escaped again for some more exploring on two wheels, but this will be a deliberately gentle trip to help rebuild some fitness.
We finished! Grey, drizzly and windy day for the finish, alas, with full-on rain later. Winding our way out of Rotterdam was slow and made me very glad we didn’t try to finish the previous evening when we would have been tired and hungry. Eventually reached Hook of Holland and cycled out to the end of the breakwater for the obligatory photo before looking for some lunch.
Really wearing day yesterday with some rain and a lot of wind. Westerly wind. And we were heading west.
An easier day today even though a bit more distance covered than yesterday. Wesel is not a large town and we were quickly out in the countryside – peaceful surroundings and easier navigation. The wind had dropped a bit also, and was mostly coming from the west or south west, so we only one short section of headwind.
A day of detours and wind today. According to the infallible Wikipedia, Düsseldorf is the seventh largest city in Germany and Duisburg the fifteenth – Duisburg with a population approaching half a million and Düsseldorf well over 600,000. There is only a very limited belt of farmland between the northern suburbs of Düsseldorf and the southern suburbs of Duisburg, so the morning ride was slow and complicated as Bruce navigated us through urban streets. It’s much more tiring doing the endless starting and stopping at junctions, and quite wearing keeping the concentration up to figure out the route cyclists are supposed to take.