Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day (Otterlo>Hoge Vulewe>Arnhem>Nijmegen>Lent)

Greeted the dawn, with assistance of tbe roosters.

Saw a stag last night, courtesy of my hosts who came over and knocked on door when they spotted it. A rare thing to see. Was a couple hundred meters away, across a meadow. Beautiful beast, with 4-point antlers.

Packed up, had breakfast, then walked downtown to post office with a bag of "Why did I think I needed this?" stuff. Posted (I'm guessing) 2 kilos back to Garrett & Cathleen's place in Amsterdam, contained in three separate mailing sleeves. Used three... because I wanted each to fit through the mail slot. Turned out the post-mistress actually had a mail-slot tempate to check size! How cool is that?

Also pumped up tires a bit extra, to cut rolling resistance.

Then said goodbye, saddled up and rode out.

Took indirect route, as I wanted to ride through the Hoge-Vulewe reserve. The indirect route became a bit improvisational, as the bike tracks meandered all over. If I were a stickler for the facts, I suppose I would say that I got lost. Anyway, did a few miles more than I had planned, but the park is lovely.

Rode through a series of squalls. Ranged from occasional dry spots... through drizzle... through rain... through drenching downpours... through "standing under waterfall". But except for face / hands / feet I stayed pretty dry. Goretex jacket and some kind of miracle fibre pants did the trick. The pants were from REI... cost a small fortune... but they worked. And they actually look kind of dressy. Their tag said something like "Climb a mountain in the morning, visit a chateaux in the afternoon." For the price, they should have included a nights stay at the chateaux, with a good meal thrown in, but worth every penny.

Anyway, I did finally reach Arnhem. Cold, tired, damp, hungry. Found a dry spot to stand under a building balcony to eat my sandwich and regroup. As I was standing there, I realized I knew exactly where I was... had been just across the street on my ride out from Arnhem two days earlier... and that the train station was only blocks away. Stroke of genius: the trains run from Arnhem to Nijmegen four times an hour, and the fare is only about five bucks. Need I say more?

Rode the last little bit to the station in pouring rain, and hopped the train.

Got off in Nijmegen. Beautiful town... looking forward to seeing more tomorrow. Nijmegen is one of the Netherland's main university towns... and today is May Day: workers of the world, unite! As I exited the station, I emerged into a sizeable demonstration. Didn't really twig to what was going on until I saw the polizie... some on bicycles of course, but some on horses... and saw that the horses had plexiglass shields over their eyes! All was orderly, but both sides were serious in playing out their parts.

Thought about stopping to take my turn waving a red banner, but after all... I was still cold, damp, tired and had some miles to go to reach my destination. Plus... would have been a bit of a fraud don't you think? Sure, I'm a pawn of the capitalist system... but I'm also enjoying sabbatical with pay!

Anyway, I'm here now -- safe, dry, and warming back up!

Tomorrow to the bicycle museum!


  1. Worth a thousand words, indeed---seeing the loaded Tikit aboard the train answered one question, but seeing her parked with the commuter bikes: priceless!

  2. A trip like this changes the trajectory of your life. Thank you for sharing this adventure, makes me want to wrestle my bike away from our exchange kid and go for a ride.