Tuesday, 3 September 2013

5.15...Tuesday 3rd September 2013.

Alright then, let's have some Noel Tidybeard to wing us back to 1973. No Pete, not that guitar please?

Another day, another country...

Under starter's orders from Venlo and it is the same story as yesterday: continual traffic management which is obviously safe but so effing frustrating for what I want to be doing...ah diddums!

Only twinned with the mythical Fenland!

A rare unfettered stretch of cycle path. It'll last for a mile, tops.
I was just keen to press on as much as I could to get through Cologne and then into the last 30 miles which would be a tad uphill. We'll come to that in a minute or so...

More 'mills!

You don't need a weatherman, etc.!
Following my bike GPS's instructions (see, it's always someone/thing else's fault) I routed onto the B58 and ignored what may look like a 'no cycling' sign to some people. It was in German, mind...
Anyway, even by my standards it was a tad fast so I wasn't too distraught when a traffic police detail waved me across and told me that the war for you Tommy is over...
The bloke was sound and said that he strongly recommended that I take a detour...like I was going to argue, especially when he said that he had just nicked some bell-end doing 275kph on the same stretch. Evening all!

Die Traffiken Sweeney.

All this malarkey makes for a good laugh but it doesn't help the time-keeping: cutting through Cologne was pretty full-on too...no casualties thankfully! Didn't see too much tourist-wise...

Gonna topple, surely?

Way better advertising than SpecSavers!

Slow progress until the final 30 miles when I could largely wave gudbuy to traffic management and start slogging up some hills towards Westerburg and my lovely hotel. Wish I was staying for another night!

The trog home consisted of either this or,

...this. Switchbacks, how I've missed thee!

Lovely wee place.

One last bit of nonsense that I only thought happened in ropey Robin Askwith 70's films: I checked in and was "Sir'd" to death and given my room key. Only thing was there was a mildly startled 60 year old German bloke lying on his bed watching telly when I burst the door open and threw my stuff on the floor.
Difficult to say who was more surprised...

Right, now I know that at least two of you are keen to read my daily stats and guffaw...well, with five miles or so to go my Garmin gave up. Was I out there for that long? Anyway, Strava has salvaged the bulk of it, so...

CLICK HERE for slightly truncated stats!

When The Levee Breaks...Monday 2nd September 2013.

Alright, so perhaps they aren't levees that they have here but it's too good an excuse not to play this!

Not the exact route taken...it rarely is, hah-hah!

It's never good losing an hour a-kip but after a decent breakfast, unfortunately disembarkation time came around pronto...

You sure this is a good idea?

May sound daft but it does take a little while to get used to.

Crowd pleasing...yeah!
This is where the fun and games start: despite a kicking tailwind I cannot take real advantage of it because of the nervous navigation for one thing and the totally unique approach the Dutch have to cycling. Segregation is the key and it is so well traffic-calmed/signed/managed that it is impossible to get into a rhythm. 
Great for families and commuting but not what lardies on a mission really want. Alanis, is that ironic?

That said, it was a real delight to see some of their country...

This had to be Jan Ullrich on holiday in (minimal) drag. I couldn't keep up!

Rotterdam or anywhere...

This was occasionally fraught and slow progress because of frequent stops to double-check that I wasn't giving myself bonus miles: still some tremendous sights and with the exception of water (and I crossed over plenty of that) there wasn't one surface that I didn't cycle over. A dis-honourable mention goes to the small town of Heuston. Entirely cobble-stoned. Absolutely. No. Need. At. All!

When you pass a gent on a recumbent bike, wearing a beard, homberg millinery, with his dog in a basket behind him, possibly smoking a pipe (the bloke, not the dog) then you know you're in The Nederlands, hah-hah!

If only it could've been FC Twente...

Now *that* is a challenge. Bonkers.

Panoramic Hertogenbosch.

You wouldn't believe the thought (and wedge) that has gone into making cycling safe.

Yeah, it's only because I'm too tight to get a cycling jersey printed, hah-hah!

Windmills. Still rule!

Bit of comedy late-doors when I happen upon a closed road due to re-surfacing. I don't wanna turn-back and add miles and am joined by a couple of OAPs on push-bikes, of course. They rattle off to me in Flemish (I guess) whilst I nod sagely and gesticulate as only a loon can.

Yeah, I know it says road closed but that can't apply to me, right?

Long story short, we set-off over the tarmac towards the road-crew, well, safety in numbers right? Half-way up the old boy 'decides' to wait for his wife which means I face the gang alone. Couldn't have been nicer, hah-hah! Tyre tracks not a problem to them...

Welcome to, living in, etc..

Still great countryside to cycle through!
No dramas on the run in as I tried to rescue the tragically low average speed...check out the stats below to see the variation/laziness. My basic hotel did what it said on the tin and Venlo itself had quite a few inviting eateries...so all ends well.

I'll leave the last word to Schtevie...still gold!