I am sat writing our first journal post having taken shelter inside our campsite’s ‘Canteen’. It’s a miserably wet day on a very beautiful campsite just west of Arnhem in the Netherlands, on a gentle meander of the river Nederrijn. I shouldn’t complain it’s wet. Yesterday we completed our longest day so far (and my longest ever..) in gruelling heat, for UK standards. We cycled just over 90km from Schoonhoven to Arnhem, so the cooler temperature is welcomed.
Here are just a few things we have learned so far:
- If you plan a long days cycle, leave before 9am. It gets hot as early as 8am and the sun does not make cycling very fun, even if the roads are perfectly smooth and flat.
- Buy food before reaching your final stop. It might be a long cycle to the next available place and you better hope it’s still open.
I’ll take a step back and talk about how we got to where we are from our start point in London. This is our 6th day on our ‘world tour’ and our first rest day. We set off from our local pub in Stoke Newington, London on Sunday 3rd June surrounded by our wonderful friends. It was extremely hard to tear ourselves away from the occasion, to climb onto our loaded bikes and cycle away from it all. But we did it. And we made it to our first quaint campsite in Essex (or as described by Matt, “just outside the M25”). The next day was more strenuous but the picturesque English countryside and perfect weather made the cycle to Harwich pleasant.
We rocked up to our final pre-booked campsite which turned out to be a grassland to the rear of a pub. Yes - we were camping in a beer garden. It was perfect. We spent the evening drinking beer, ‘overhearing’ first world problems being aired from other punters and hogging the wifi. Very British. We made the short journey to the ferry port early morning and excitedly boarded the boat.
Seven hours later we pedalled our way off the ship and into our first country - the Netherlands. It was love at first sight. With a fully segregated cycle network slicing through open countryside, we were in cycle heaven. The terrain is flat and there is a tangible sense that cycling is king (or queen). We were being spoiled by this country from the minute our wheels rolled into the Hoek and we liked it. Alongside the cycle paths were vast agricultural greenhouses, which fronted canals lined with reeds and grazing animals.
We found our first campsite on the outskirts of Delft, set in a clearing amongst the wetlands.We chatted to the campsite owner who was curious about our ladened bikes. Shortly after he presented with his last two cold beers. This was a very warm welcome from the Dutch, for what was to be a very long journey. And for that, we thank you. B
- Total days on road: 7
- Total rest days: 1
- Total distance completed: 275 Km
- Best meal cooked: Bean tacos
- Recent Ailments: Nappy Rash; numb right hand
- Latest argument topic: (#1) Whose turn it is to ask for the WiFi password..