Thursday, April 29, 2010

N 52.21.138 / E 4.51.006 > N 52.06.217 / E 5.47.025 (with one comic mishap)

When you have the penthouse room, with a sundeck, in a nice apartment in a lovely part of Amsterdam... and good coffee, good company, and a baby who can make even a grump like me laugh... it is pretty hard to convince yourself to put everything you own in a couple of bags, and hit the road on a folding bicycle.

Around 10:00 I ran out of excuses for postponement.

Cathleen took my picture as I got ready to head off. Based on her advice, I changed plans a bit... instead of cycling to Amsterdam Centraal to catch train, I went to Amsterdam Zuid. And miracle of miracles, I didn't get lost! Cathleen's directions were spot on: "turn left, go straight, turn right when you hit the big street, take third exit from the roundabout (and don't worry, bicycles have the right of way), go straight for a while, hink left, turn right, then keep going till you see the trains".

I puzzled out the ticket machine at station -- it rejected every card in my wallet, would only take change, so I bought a lemonade and got 18 Euros in coins to feed the beast. Then I tackled a flight of about 50 steps to get up to the platform.

The rack-mount arrangement I designed for the case on the back of bike works beautifully on the road: case stays in place like it was glued. But I never considered what might happen if you tilt the bike at a 45 degree angle to schlep it up stairs. What happens is simple: it slips out like it was greased, and slides down the stairs like an Olympic luge! Two ladies at the bottom thought it was a disaster at first, then realized no harm done, had a good laugh, and carried it back up to me. Kudos to Haliburton, they make a heck of a case -- not even a dent.

Easy trip by train to Arnhem.

At Arnhem, had a light lunch (Dutch specialty: grilled cheese sandwich), then began the ride-in-the-country stage. Beautiful ride, hit the edge of town just a few hundreds yards from station, then an almost instant transition to tiny bike paths through the woods. VERY happy with the GPS system, it is brilliant. Even with the "knooppunt" network of signage, it is still easy to miss signs and get lost. I'm pretty confident that, sans GPS, I would be sleeping tonight under a bush somewhere in the forest. With the GPS I only got lost once or twice, and easily got back on course.

Staying tonight at a B&B in Hoge Vulewe park, near Kroller-Muller museum (tomorrow's treat).

One thing, though. I made every effort to pack light, but even so it feels like I am carrying an anvil on the bike. Some of this stuff has got to go. Will sort it out tomorrow and see what I can do without. Tomorrow is Queen's Day, and apparently flea markets reign -- so I may be setting up a little stand by side of the road. Thought about a pricing solution to move this stuff fast. Might take this approach: "5 Euros for the first pound of stuff you buy, 3 Euros for the next pound, third pound free, and if you take a full 4 pounds, I pay you. Special 50% discount if any item needs laundering."

Had a nice dinner, now off to bed.


  1. Sigh. I loved those woods. It rained, of course. Where did you stay and did you have reservations or just show up?

    Trains: do you have to cover the bike or go onboard as-is?

    Keep writing all the little details---inquiring minds need to know---two more weeks and we'll be there! We'll have to go to internet cafes to keep up with you.

  2. Hi Jackie,

    Plenty of rain today! But everyone out and about anyway.

    No problem taking bike on board, uncovered. Got 2nd class ticket, and several of the 2nd class carriages had bike signs on the doors. They have a kind of little vestibule just inside the entrance, with a couple of seats, where bikes and their riders can stay. Hmmmm.... I guess that is really kind of 3rd class, but who cares. No extra charge for bike.

    Kroller-Muller museum blew me away. Van Gogh must have had some real life-changing experience... his paintings were DARK (literally), and then he discovered the wonderful world of COLOR.

    Had a reservation at a B&B on a working farm here. Profligate at 40 euro a night, but the breakfast alone was worth half of the price! (And ample enough to build a killer sandwich to enjoy for lunch.) Working farm includes roosters and pea-cocks, so I was up with the dawn.

    Hope you are getting over your cold quickly!

  3. All of it sounds really wonderful, all but the wet part. Did you stay warm enough?

    Did you have to fold the bike to take it aboard for free? My front rack makes that a bit harder, but can be done.

    Are you staying two nights on the woonboerderij? Where to next . . .