Monday, August 13, 2012

What a day, so much to see, and riding the Netherlands Alps

 Woke up this morning on houseboat in Arnhem... just downstream on Rhine from the "bridge too far" of Operation Market Garden fame.  New bridge, old one destroyed in war, but way too easy to imagine riding into barrel of Panzer tank as we cycled across the bridge. Glad we only had a little light traffic to contend with.

Houseboat was cool.  Ducks know how to beg for breakfast!  And many tiny flying gnats last night, thankfully no mosquitoes.  Great  breakfast, packed up, then headed into downtown Arnhem to do some provisioning for the ride.  We dawdled around until about 10:00, but it was still way too early to find anything open.  City almost empty except a few delivery trucks and cafes.  Turns out that 11:00 is the opening hour.  Civilized, what?

Rode out of town past a favorite landmark tree of mine... different story, different trip, so will leave it at that.  Then began a day of what seemed like climbing the Dutch Alps.  Up out of Rhine valley, and down, and up, and down, and up, repeat for several hours as we rode through the Hoge Vulewe.  Maybe 95% of the Netherlands is flat, but believe me, the remaining 5% is a surprise!  Bikes glide on the flat, feel heavy uphill.  Tempted to ditch some gear... like heaving piano off a Conestoga... but really, we don't have a lot to pitch.

Hoge Vulewe beautiful.  Forests, heather, fields, hills, bike paths.

Cemetery within the park.  Some anonymous WWII dead, some military dead going back to the 1800s at least, some local people.  Feeling was almost pagan.  In a forest, with many of the graves marked literally with uncarved stones. 

Stopped at a little clearing for lunch.  Couple picnic tables, couple bikes, family having a picnic in distance.  Another family stopped, wished us "eet smakelak", or something very close, means "bon apetit" in Dutch.  What was really very cool about this place was what was missing.  No trash.  No graffiti.  No initials carved in the tables.  Just beautiful countryside and a shared public space, not misused by anyone.

Saw the bikes of our dreams in tiny town of Dieren.  Electrified folding bikes with Shimano Nexus 8-speed hubs.  That is to say, very much like what we are riding... but augmented with batteries and electric motor.  Going to have to investigate these a bit more :-)

And in same spot, just a really nice scene of older couple riding a tandem.

In Brummen now.  Time to put my feet up.

Oh yeah, NO RAIN today!  Hotter, humid, can tell it is going to rain sometime soon... but another beautiful day for riding today.


  1. Shops in the Netherlands are closed on monday morning to compensate for being open on Saturday. Oh yes stores are closed on Sunday!

  2. Electric bikes rock. Just an bit of assist when the muscles say no more. Keeps you in a bike and on the trail for longer then without the assist and that all in all makes for longer nicer rides more often. Also great for just a tad of help up a hill on the way home if you are on a hill.

  3. Hi Katrina! Couldn't agree more re electric bikes. Our legs are way tired. A little boost would be just the thing about now. Fine on the flat with wind at back, but hoping we don't hit any headwinds today. Pretty much certain we won't hit any hills.