Netherlands Day 2 | 2017 Cycle Tour

Last August I cycled over 600 miles around the Netherlands in a week to raise money for mental health charities Mind and Bipolar UK. I never properly shared all the photos and experiences from my trip so every day this week I will be editing and reposting the daily diary I made exactly one year ago.


7 August 2017 – Day 2 – 76 Miles

Another 76 miles and another gorgeous day today. I woke up to a near perfect morning: no wind, bright cloudless sky but cool enough to ride in comfortably.

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Most of the morning was spent travelling eastwards on bike paths running parallel with a huge canal that stretches across the country, stopping every now and again in picturesque villages. Everything seems so much more relaxed here; market traders setting up their stalls for the day, people of all ages on traditional Dutch bicycles trundling over the cobblestones – all very welcoming and friendly.

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In one of these villages I stopped for lunch on the terrace of a local pub, earlier than yesterday as I was making good time.
Once I got going again I headed on to Venray, where I unexpectedly ended up tracing the route of a pro bike race BinckBank Tour before passing through bike-festival crowds waiting at the finish line. Turns out Peter Sagan (famous racer) was competing and won today’s stage!

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On my way out of Venray and with the temperature rapidly climbing a McDonald’s caught my eye; and I discovered that the drawstring closure design of my new Apidura drink/snack pouches on my handlebars hold chocolate milkshake perfectly whilst riding.

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Once crossed over the river Meuse via Bergen ferry I started northwards along wide, open countryside roads, baking under the afternoon sun. Temperatures were in the 30s at this point, so I was really starting to sweat.

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However my route took me through the cobbled, medieval streets of Gennep, where I found a very cute little ice cream shop in the gorgeous town square (with the brilliant name N’ice Cream).

Whilst I sat cooling down I came to the conclusion that all villages/towns in the Netherlands must be in tight competition with one another for something similar to Hot Fuzz’s ‘Village of the Year’. This would explain firstly why every one I have passed through is as picturesque as the last, and secondly why they are all so peaceful and quiet – they must have killed off all the ‘crusty jugglers’.

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On my final stretch through more nature reserves and woodland I suddenly came across something I had almost forgotten here – hills! I mean they weren’t epic climbs by any standard but they were certainly steep enough to slow me down at the end of a long hot ride. What really stalled me though was several unpaved, gravelly tracks which put my new puncture-resistant tyres to the test. Amazingly they emerged unscathed; although I’m not so sure I can say the same about my body being rattled on my unsuitably rigid racer frame.

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Having been significantly slowed down I was left with a final 5 mile dash into Nijmegen to get to my AirBnB at the agreed 6pm. Remarkably I rung the doorbell on exactly the turn of the hour.


Watch the whole of my Netherlands bike trip in this video:


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VIEW/DOWNLOAD the GPS routes I plotted and used*:

*My actual route ended up being a bit different and longer to these because of detours and getting lost!!

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