The long and windy road South

by Mark on April 25, 2017 · 0 comments

I woke not to rain, but a nice sunny blustery day for what will be the longest ride of the trip – 120km to Antwerp.

Time to check out of the boat I stayed on last night.

Initially heading SW I was getting some benefit from the wind,  but as my trajectory shifted SE it began working against me – reducing my speed to single figure mpg at times.

It took 5 hours to cover the 48 miles to Roosendaal where I had a rest and some lunch.

It took me another hour to reach the border at Essen, then a further two to make it into Antwerp.

At least there was reward at the end of the journey.





Onward to Rotterdam

by Mark on July 10, 2014 · 0 comments

I followed the river Ijsel from Gouda to Rotterdam.

It was another short day of cycling, with a relaxing lunch en-route. I’m becoming increasingly convinced this is the best way to travel.

Rotterdam is entirely different to all the other towns and cities in the Netherlands that I’ve visited (which is quite a few now).



Different because Germany bombed the living daylights out of it during WW2.

As a result the central shopping area shares the same architectural style as Coventry,

I spent the afternoon hunting for glove puppets for Arthur.

Oh how my life has changed since becoming a father.

Miles today: 22.54
Miles so far: 399.72



World’s cheesiest …

by Mark on July 1, 2014 · 1 comment

I set off at lunchtime for the short hop to Gouda (pronounced “How-dah” by the Dutch).

Having elected to take the shorter option it allowed considerably more flexibility of route, some of which was planned – the rest not so much.

I ended up getting seriously lost as I left Utrecht, and ended up taking a rather meandering route with a nice stop for lunch in Oudewater.


Food stops are always the highlight of the day when slogging out lots of miles, and I almost felt guilty tucking into rack of lamb for lunch with so few miles today.


I’d booked ahead so had a room in a B&B for the evening. Then when I got there they showed me to the room and there was someone already in it.

I’ve enjoyed the Dutch hospitality on this trip, but this was an epic failure.

The place was still advertising rooms an hour later when I was looking for a replacement, and to add insult to injury they have invoiced me €20 a few days later for failing to show up!

Needless to say they have received some fairly direct feedback.

So anyway, what about the Magnum’s on this trip?

I’m sorry to report that the Netherlands isn’t a fertile hunting ground for Magnum lovers, and it wasn’t until today that I snagged my first of the trip – €2 for those who are interested in the economics of the European ice-cream trade.


The closest I’d got before now was a ‘Magnum substitute’ called a Big on the first day (which was pretty good too).

The reason for being in Gouda was the Thursday morning cheese market.


It seemed to revolve around hundreds of children in yellow jumpers being organised into various activities by a town-crier type in traditional dress.

It was all Dutch to me, so after a late breakfast (and free cheese sample) I decided to push on to my final destination en-route back to Hoek van Holland.

I set off with Rotterdam in my sights.

Miles today: 29.37
Miles so far: 377.18


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June 27, 2014

It wasn’t a tough decision. I was enjoying the shorter days cycling and I’d already sacrificed the challenge early on. I decided to take a much more direct route back to Hoek van Holland. So today I set out for Utrecht. The route along the Nederrijn took me through pre-historic woodlands and the first real […]

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The gloves come off

June 24, 2014

You see some unexpected things when cycling through foreign lands. About once a day I’ve come across an elevated basket that looks a bit like the ones people use to catch fish in waterfalls. Instead of fish, these ones are used to catch rubbish from passing cyclists. It’s a great idea (that avoids you having […]

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Back in the 100 mile club

June 23, 2014

I may have been missing the peculiar comforts of the Forest Hotel, but Groningen fell short of my expectations. It was terribly quiet for a Saturday evening, apparently due to the World Cup. I felt a few spots of rain as I set off, which reminded me that I’ve been dodging rain the whole trip. […]

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The insurmountable plan

June 22, 2014

I opened one stuck together eyelid to discover it was already 10am. My eyes were still red raw from the previous days pollen, but I’d managed the remarkable feat of 10 hours uninterrupted sleep. If I’d still had any aspirations of cycling 117 miles today that would have been the end of them, but I’d […]

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Stick or twist in Haarlem

June 22, 2014

The invitation of a Stena Seaways Full English breakfast that came through the ships tannoy at 7am was tempting, but I didn’t really have the stomach for it with several hours cycling ahead. I figured I would get something lighter once on shore, and exiting the ferry I headed down to the Strand where I’d […]

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All aboard the Spirit of Misadventure

June 20, 2014

Statistically the first few miles of the trip are the most dangerous. The protected cycle lanes in the Netherlands make riding a bike almost as safe as being a pedestrian in London, so you very rarely see the Dutch wearing helmets. I’ve decided to join them and make this a helmet free trip – which […]

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Going Dutch: Ronde van Nederland or bust

June 19, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we took delivery of our new Dutch bike, complete with baby seat so Arthur can come along for the ride. It’s Chloe’s bike, but I quite like taking Arthur for a spin round Finsbury Park when the weather allows. It’s also about this time of year when I think about […]

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