This whole week I was in the Netherlands. Normally I don't ride that much on a trip visiting family. This time I brought my bike and made routes to travel between family members.
I arrived early in the afternoon in Amsterdam on Tuesday with a redeye flight thru Iceland. Originally I had planned to do a ride with my sister-in-law Annique the day of the arrival. Instead I had to get my American Covid vaccinations registered. A registered vaccation would allow me to go into restaurants.
Wednesday was my first day in Holland on the bike. I had a 90 mile route planned from Bussum to Hattemerbroek. My cousin Wim had tweaked it to get more dirt in. Within a mile I was on trails. The route started with the heather fields of Bussum.
The route then led me the defunct landing strip of Soesterberg airforce base.
From there I rode to the Veluwe, which is a large nature reserve in the middle of Holland. I also passed a military terrain with large shooting range signs and at some point heard them shooting rounds and even heard machine gun fire.
Just after the shooting range I passed an iconic radio station building: Radio Kootwijk. The art deco building is from the 1930s.
From there I worked my way through the Hoge Veluwe and the Kroon Domeinen, the hunting grounds of the Dutch royal family. This area is known for its deer and wild boars so I kept my eyes up for them and then finally I saw a wild boar at about 50 feet. It was rummaging around in the ground so I had a chance to take a few good pictures.
After the hunting grounds some more heather fields and woods until I arrived at my sister Ingrid's house in Hattemerbroek. Apart from some sputters kept it dry but my bike and legs were a mess with the ground wet and the various trail surfaces: sand, gravel, crushed shells, mud and scottish granite dust (learned that from a grounds caretaker I chatted with).
The next day I rode to my brother Eric in Dalen. This was an 80 mile ride, with a detour to take in Giethoorn. Also called the the Dutch Venice. I started with a bang as I slid out on one of the sand covered cobblestone street in the first few miles. Had some road rash on my left knee and hip but other than that my bike and I were fine. The sky started to look pretty dark and I was in for a wet ride.
Just after that the route brough me to the shore of the IJssel river, there was no bridge, but a small ferry to brought me across the river.
Just after the river crossing, riding on the dike along the river the heavens opened up. And did not stop for another 2 hours. I rode through the city of Zwolle and continued to follow to river to Hasselte. There I stopped at a grocery store to get some candy bars and some coffee to warmup.
The rain jacket and trouser I wore fortunately kept me dry. Just me hands and feet got a little cold. After the coffee continued my ride and rode some beautiful path through the fields and then rode thought the town of Meppel.
It was the first time in Meppel, it had a beautiful downtown. I was now near Giethoorn, but in the end could not go there as the road was closed, bridge repair. It was disappointing as I had planned to have lunch in Giethoorn. I ended up getting coffee and a roombroodje (custard pudding roll) in the town of Havelte.
After the lunchstop I came in more familiar terrain with towns I normally passed on the highway when visiting family. Now I actually rode though them, they brought back memories from my teenage days when I played away soccer matches in towns such as Niewlande, Elim and Dalerpeel.
Soon I arrived in Dalen, my destination, after passing through a sunset lit orange colored tunnel under the highway.
It was a good match with the Orange from my Seven EverOrange.
On Friday my nephew Stan and I rode a 42 mile to the VAM berg. The VAM berg is an artificial hill and one of the highest points in the North of Holland.
My previous 2 rides in the Netherlands got some comments on how little elevation I got.
The ride to the VAM berg with a peak height of 4280 cm (Dutch joke) should fix that a little. When we left we got caught in rain storm. That combined with a fierce wind made for an interesting ride, especially when it came across the road sideways.
After we arrived at the VAM berg we climbed it via 3 different roads. One of the climbs included a little cobblestone section, later it turned out that Stan broke one of the spokes on his bike bumping over the cobbles.
On the way back we had the wind mostly in our backs fortunately. The hot shower after was a treat.
Saturday took the day off the bike and visited my sister Saskia and in the afternoon we had a party to celebrate my father's 82nd birthday.
The next day I rode back to my sister in Hattemerbroek. The 84 mile route I created was a more southernly route through Overijssel along the Vecht and over the Sallandse Heuvel rug and I had included the two hills in that area, the Lemelerberg and the Holterberg.
The weather was nice, sunny, although a little on the cool side. After leaving my brother's house in Dalen I soon rode along the Stieltjeskanaal (canal), I used to live there for 5 years back in the late 70s, to Coevorden. Coevorden has an intricate canal system shaped like a star that was used as defense to protect against intruders in the middle ages. From Coevorden the route brought me to Hardenberg. There I followed the Overijsselse Vecht for a while.
Then I came across a sand pit adequately called Sahara. From there I rode to the Lemelerberg, the first of the 2 small hills on the route. With an elevation of 163 ft, pretty modest, but a beautiful view over heather fields.
The route then headed south to the Holterberg along the Sallandse Heuvelrug (ridge). Highest elevation here was 257ft. I stopped for a coffee and apple pie with ice cream in Holten.
The route now headed west towards the river IJssel. Saw some interesting animals including a camel.
When I reached the river the ferry I was supposed to take did not run this time of year and I had to detour north for another ferry to cross the IJssel. This added 6 miles to the route.
After crossing the river made my way back to the original route and then finished the ride with 90 miles with an average pace of 15.7 mph, despite the head wind. I had felt strong.
Overall a good week of riding in the Netherlands here an overview on Veloviewer.