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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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:
VIEW/DOWNLOAD the GPS routes I plotted and used*:
- ARRIVAL Ferry-Rotterdam (20 Miles)
- DAY 1 (75 Miles)
- DAY 2 (75 Miles)
- DAY 3 (80 Miles)
- DAY 4 (82 Miles)
- DAY 5 (76 Miles)
- DAY 6 (99 Miles)
- DAY 7 (96 Miles)
- ENTIRE ROUTE (600+ Miles)
*My actual route ended up being a bit different and longer to these because of detours and getting lost!!