Finally holiday! After working for two days last week I prepared myself for the trip to Wuppertal (Germany). Preparations means, doing some shopping, creating a route, uploading the maps to the GPS, getting things ready, lubricating the chain, mounting a new set of front tires and cleaning and polishing the bike. Besides that I lay down on the couch and relaxed.
Friday morning I was up early with holiday tension. I was uneasy all morning. I departed at 12 PM because the place where I stayed for the night in Almelo wouldn't be ready until 5:00 to 5:30 PM (she had to work). The first part of the route was well known and with a tailwind the journey went well. At a certain point a came near Laaghalen (just after the TT near Assen) and the route that I created using the Dutch Cyclists Union website sent my passed a few gates. Carefully I maneuvered my bike though. On the other side of the closed off part there was another gate, this time it was the zigzag variant which meant I had to turn around.
It was pretty warm that day (somewhere between 26 and 30 degrees Celcius) and I was happy that certain parts of the route took me through the forrest. The gravel road wasn't fast, but I didn't care. It really cooled me down. Another unplanned break was the little ferry south of Rheze. It was electric and the roof was covered with solar panels which supplied the power and also a nice place in the shade. Seven minutes of relaxing while the local youth swam in circles around the little ferry.
After 133 kilometers I arrived in Almelo where I ate two big plates with potatoes, red beets and meat. Afterwards we watched a movie (The Green Hornet) and I had a good night sleep.
Saturday morning just before 8:30 AM I left for the last stretch of 171 kilometers towards Wuppertal. The first 50 kilometers were through The Netherlands towards Winterswijk where I planned to cross the border. Because I needed some cash money I deviated from the route and went to the ATM. And because I was already in the center of Winterswijk I also visited ACE Recumbents where I was offered a cup of tea (thanks), I had something to eat and I chatted with the personnel and the customers.
Once in Germany the routes changed a bit. If present I would cycle on the segregated bike path next to the main road. If it wasn't present the route took me on B-roads with now and then a stretch of 80 km/h road. No problem at all because this meant a. variation and b. the German drivers are better mannered then their Dutch counterparts. The keep their distance and only overtake when it's safe. Thanks!
After some 100 kilometers of cycling (and some 70 kilometers from my final destination) it was time for a bigger break. I sat down at a local bakery where I enjoyed a cup of peppermint tea and a kind of pastry. Further down the route there were a number of locations I remembered. Like the valley at the river Ruhr where I cycled some 4 years ago back home and the climbs at the end of the route. A nice part was (I think) a old railway track which was converted to a cycle path. Nicely in the shadow and going slightly uphill. The last two kilometers the the 'campsite' in Wuppertal was pretty steep though, but manageble with velomobile, luggage and the lowest gear. During the climb there were two mountain bikers who came up beside me to have a talk. They could climb much easier though.
Once at the campsite my youngest brother and my little nephew Joas were already there with their caravan and a big plate of food. I at it with no trouble at all. I quickly put up my tent, took a shower and went to the first Biblestudy meeting. The weather the last couple of days was wonderful (around 30 degrees), but a bit warm. Earlier this afternoon I adjusted the brakes on my velomobile and now I'm writing this blogpost in some shade. Later this afternoon we'll do shame shopping in the (probably) cool supermarket. Later this week we'll go swimming. In short, relaxed.
This Saturday I'm leaving for Bonn to stay with Josef Janning (the organizer of Roll over America) for the night. If the weather keeps up we'll go BBQ'ing together with his family. Sunday we'll go towards Igel to join in for the last five days of the Euro Tour 2013. A 180 kilometer ride with a number of climbs. We'll see. Next week I'll try to post another update, but for now I'll do some more relaxing.