Day 1: Am I on an audax?

8924449411_78b436d77cWe packed up and left in the evening of Friday 24th May 2013, cycling across London in rush hour traffic. I soon got used to pulling away on a fully loaded tourer, and probably did this more times in the 6 or so miles to the station than I did in the rest of the week. I was a bit wobbly at first but eventually it became second nature. Continue reading

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Our tour of the Scottish Outer Hebrides in May 2013

In early May 2013 we decided that over half term we would head up to the Scottish Outer Hebrides for a wee cycle tour of some of the islands. The idea of camping was suggested and rejected, on account of neither of us really having cycle-camped before for more than a few nights at a time (and even then we had got to our destination in a car). So instead we opted for hostelling. Continue reading

Day 8: Scherpenzeel to Utrecht to Den Haag to Hoek van Holland

And so the final day of our tour was a functional day, getting us from Scherpenzeel to Utrecht to catch a train to Den Haag before the final few km to Hoek van Holland.

Once again, we followed the Knooppunts to get us there. It was pissing down with bloody rain all morning, but luckily our route took us through forests so we had some shelter. The forest tracks were all absolutely fine to cycle on. They weren’t always concrete tracks but they didn’t cause us any problems. Continue reading

Day 7: Zwolle to Scherpenzeel

Today we were sort of venturing into the unknown. We didn’t have paper maps and we didn’t have any routes on the garmin, as our original tour was going to end in Zwolle and from there we were planning to take the train to Den Haag to cycle back to HoH for the ferry. So instead we used the knooppunt network (knot network) to navigate. Continue reading

Day 6: Ossenzijl to Zwolle

We set off the next morning and as this was the area in which Adam had previously lived, there were a few places he wanted to show me. So we cycled along the canal in the sun, crossing little bridges which allow residents to get their boats out. We stopped in the old sea port of Blokzijl, which was really pretty and sat on a bench eating cake. I realised that my instincts yesterday were correct and my legs were feeling quite sluggish and we probably should have opted for staying at the campsite and having a short pootle. Adam gave me more cake and I felt better.
Continue reading

Day 5: Harlingen to Ossenzijl

We sat around thinking about what to do. Our original plan was to spend two night on Terschelling and to then cycle down towards Ossenzijl, so we brought that forward, as we had heard good things about the campsite there. So off we set.

It was warm and sunny and I even managed a smile. We could multi task and dry our clothes on our panniers.

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Day 4: Oostwoud to Harlingen

Today, all our best laid plans fell to pieces. However, in good news, it was sunny. In bad news, the usual westerly winds had changed to easterly, which was the direction we were heading. Boo.

Our aim today was to get to Harlingen to go over to one of the Islands. Fed up with swamps, we had contacted a warmshower host on Terschelling and we were hopeful we might have somewhere dry and warm to stay for the next couple of nights. This, along with the sun raised my spirits.

And then we cycled on very long, very straight roads into a headwind for all of the day. This included the afsluitdijk dike, a 32km road which turned the sea into a lake. Continue reading

Day 3: Oostwoud to Oostwoud via Edam

We woke up and were dry and warm surprisingly. We opened the tent door and it was still swampy. Any clothes that we had washed were still wet. Our towel was damp. It was still squelchy. I ate my porridge in bed and we both agreed that booking in for 2 nights wasn’t the best decision ever. Anyway, we had a circular loop planned today, to go to Edam and eat some cheese. We set off in the grey and damp morning wearing all our dry clothes as it wasn’t exactly summery. Continue reading

Day 2: Driehuis to Oostwoud

The next morning, we were still dry inside, but the tent itself was pretty wet. We had some porridge with yoghurt for brekkie and packed up, leaving the tent till last. Of course, as we took it down, it started raining so we ran for shelter (with the tent) to the toilet block.  Continue reading

Day 1½: London to Harwich to HoH to (just beyond) Haarlem

These blog posts are about our cycle tour to The Netherlands in August 2014.  We took the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland on a Friday night, spent a week exploring before taking the ferry back to Harwich the following Saturday. Continue reading