Sunshine, rain, wind, kilometers, discomfort, accidents, wetness and more of those kind of things. That sums about up the weekend. Okay, a number of those things were unplanned, but it was still a weekend full of happenings. But I'll start at the beginning.

This ROAM weekend was in Roermond and of course it's the idea to arrive there by bike. I thought 300+ km in one day, doing the ride and getting back afterward was a bit to much. So instead of 3 days I took 5 days to do it. I could sleep at Johann S. his place in Amersfoort and the next day we would ride to Roermond together. Johann wasn't home before 8 PM so I didn't have to leave very early. Around 11 AM I got into my bike. The weather was nice, not to could, just a little bit foggy. And of course several things happen when you do such a ride. For instance, there were two school boys who yelled: "faster, faster...". And there was a car driver who almost caused a accident. He was coming from the opposite direction and wanted to make a left turn across the other land and over the bike path (where I was cycling). When he made the turn and saw me, he stopped in the middle of the other land. Another car had to break really hard not to hit the other car. I think it's just a matter of good judgment. Around 7 PM I arrived in Nijkerk where I enjoyed a 350 gram entrecot with fries, potatoes and a salad. After my belly was full I only had to do a few more kilometers towards Amersfoort where I was brutally driven off the road by a moving van. Luckily I made it safely after 166 km.

Friday morning the alarm clock went at 8 AM and just after 9 AM we left. Roermond, here we come! Johann had brought a walky-talky set which we could use to keep in touch while driving. Very handy if you drive behind each other. I would lead the way on the way to Roermond and Johann would lead on the way back. In my route there was a ferry that didn't go until May. So when we got there we could cycle another extra 15 km to the next bridge to cross the river. No problem, it's all trainings kilometers. Today we also experienced the (un)necessary things. For instance, there was a car driver who was overtaking us with a very high speed. From the other side there was another cyclist (mountain biker). My bike was shaking back and forth from the movement of air when the car overtook us. Halfway we ordered a cup of tomato soup and a frikandel in Grave. At some point the father of a family who was having lunch there had to go outside and started to call his son. The little kid walked outside and shouted: "come and see, what a cool bike!". A minute later my bike alarm went of and he came back inside with a sad look on his face. Yeah, that's what you get for touching my bike Wink. After 175 km we arrived in Roermond at Jean S. his place (where we all slept). Jean had ordered Chinese food and in front of the fireplace it was very nice.

Saturday morning... time for the tour. The day before Maarten H., Bert V., Marcel B. and Rob H. (together with Johann and myself) arrived also and this morning 4 Germans joined us. Josef J., his sister Nina M., Stefan H. and Christina M. The first three are joining us in America, but the last person just came for the ride (I think). First we went to the Munsterplein to take a group photo. Then we headed south. But after a few kilometers Stefan had to quit because one of his cranks had come off. After a short search for the missing part we went to the local bike repair shop, but they couldn't help us. Using the walky-talky I contacted the group in front of us (I was driving in the back, just for these cases) and Jean called another shop who picked up Stefan's velomobile with a van. In the meanwhile we started riding again because we still had a lot of cycling to do. The high's and low's for this day? During the trip I spotted two guy's sitting on a bench on the side of the cycle path. I stuck out my hand and expected a high five. And just when I was about to pass them the last one held his hand out. When he get's home he'll have something to talk about. Despite the forecast the weather in the morning was good. The sun was shining and my shades were on my face. Unfortunately after the lunch break in Heerlen it started to rain and the sunny day turned into a rainy one. Just before the Belgium border we split up. One half went straight to Maarstricht to have a drink, the other six (including myself) went on for some serious climbing. Some were more of a challenge then others, but the muddy (off-road) surface couldn't be beat by bike. It was to slippery, so we had to get out and push our bikes up the hill. A small error in the route, Jean called it. Also a 10% descent which was very nice, going downhill at 70 km/h. In Maastricht we crossed the bridge and were photographed as if we were the queen. I wonder how this is going to be in America. When we crossed the bridge we met up with the rest of the group by accident (a matter of good timing). So we skipped our planned break and headed home, it was starting to get late. When we left Maastricht we colored a piece of cycle path yellow. Just before a traffic light the cycle path and the moped path joined and there was a weird 'edge'. Bert got his rear wheel stuck behind it, his rear end went sideways and before he knew it he was on his side. No big damage to his bike or himself, just a little bit shaken up. When we got back on Dutch soil by crossing the bridge at Maaseik we ran into Stefan. The bicycle repair man had fixed the bike with a quick release for the axle of a wheel. After a long ride we arrived at 9:30 PM. It took us almost 12 hours to do 151 km. This happened partly because we had 11 punctures. Jean had 1 flat rear tire, Marcel had 2 flat left one's, Stefan 2 rear one's, Nina had 1 rear and 1 right punctures and Rob even had 4 flat left tires. Despite us arriving that late we still had time to eat a zuurkoolschotel (made by Ine Bexkens, the neighbors of jean) and the boerenkool, soup and desert (made by Dinie Bimans from Vucht).

Sunday it was time to head home, well for me that meant Amersfoort. Again we had rain all day, which was kind of depressing. I rather like sunshine. We (Johann and myself) left early, but after half a hour I really had to go to the bathroom. Because I didn't know where the next gas station would be I stopped at the first house, rang the bell and asked if I could use there toilet. After I had done my business I got back in the bike and we went on. That's when I spotted a little orange dot in my rear view mirror. It was Maarten who was riding with Bert. Maarten wanted to go faster and asked if he could 'dump' Bert with us. No problem, our speed was lower.

A joke that was the theme of the weekend was if we were able spot some bears on the road (it's a Dutch saying, meaning I we could expect trouble ahead). We didn't spot those bears but after we got though a field of bison's with horns about a meter long we had to think back at that joke. I sure was glad we didn't get impaled, that's got to hurt. Luckily the animals had more interest in the grass than us. After a quick shower we watched a movie (The Last Castle) and ate a lemon ice with a lickerish cane before going to sleep.

In the morning I woke up nicely on time and was eager to get home early. But because of some circumstances that didn't go as planned. First my rear tire was flat so I had to replace it. Than, just after riding for half an hour, a see a truck parked on the side of the road and a van parked half way on the cycle path. Grrr, I thought to myself, do you have to? And while the men where leaving their vehicles and running of I spot what's going on. A micro car had driven into a ditch. I immediately stopped, got out of my bike and helped so the vehicle would not tip over. One of the truck drivers was knee deep in the water holding the vehicle up, while his colleague was dialing112 (the Dutch 911). Together we helped the 69 year old man onto dry land and gave him a warm blanket. Not long after the ambulance, police and fire department arrived. It looks like the man was not feeling wheel and lost control. I'm not sure what his condition is currently.

112 Nijkerk - Brommobiel uit koers

Some other things that happened the last of the five cycling days were: a horse with rider who got off so the animal could take a look at my bike (horses are easily scared of velomobiles), a boy who was yelling from the school yard that my bike was on fire and I should drive into a ditch (well, that's not a good idea) and after I left I was overtaken by a racing bike after my lunch break. I thought, wow... let's have some fun. I put a little more power on the pedals and quickly caught up with the racing bike. He was going quite fast (about 30-35 km/h). As the cycle path widened I overtake him slowly and yell: "nice speed" and accelerate to 40 km/h until he is just a little dot in my mirror. Those things really make my day.

But this day has even more 'bad' moments in store for me. Near De Haspel (just above Haulerwijk) two boy's were cycling in the other direction and when the passed my they spit on my bike. In a split second I hit the breaks hard, leaving to nice black stripes on the surface. I turn the bike around as quickly as possible and start the chase. Within 10 seconds I'm at 40 km/h and have to break really hard for a corner. The boy's at least had a head start of a few hundred meters, but just as I enter the village I see one in the distance pulling up to a house. I park my bike there and notice some bikes standing there. One of them has a backpack hanging from the side. I walk inside though the open backdoor and see people standing in the kitchen. I knock on the door, walk inside and ask the boy standing there: "didn't I just pass you on the cycle path?". "No", he say's. "But didn't you just spit on my?", I asked. "No, that was my friend". "Ah, so we did pass each other on the cycle path!". The ego of the little guy got smaller and smaller. And when I said: "Be a guy, admit it" he couldn't deny it anymore. Apparently he went inside a friends house, because the other people in the kitchen didn't know him. Only their son knew the spitting boy. "Ask the lady for a piece of paper and go clean my bike", I said. You should have seen him. Yeah, you can't win a 'fight' with a recumbent rider, especially me. When I left he shook my hand and apologized.

And when you think you've seen it all you still have to cross Leek. What was happening there? Well, a truck was laying on his side. Things couldn't get any crazier. Luckily I didn't have to ride the cycle path there because it was a very big mess. Fortunately these were the only 'bad' things in the 168 km ride home.

All that's left is the photo's and a conclusion. And it goes a little like this: success! Five day's of biking, 824 km and not a very big physical problems. Although I did have some pain in my left knee, which got better after I adjusted my SPD plates a little. Also the muscle pain on the last day wasn't that bad. The funny thing is that when you have muscle pain and you start to cycle, it disappears after about 10 to 15 minutes.

Links to other report's, photo's and movies.

Blog reference: 
My bike is gone

1 comment

Smilingdevil's picture
Smilingdevil (not verified)
I guess you coud have spat nails that moment..

Lovely little lesson learned I hope.. great fun reading your Blog Wink