Friday night just before 11:00 PM I received a email that the Northern Velomobile Ride 2013 of Sunday was canceled because of black ice. I have a rear wheel with spikes so I thought I'd manage. So I thought. David, where the ride was supposed to start, was a bit surprised. He called for a: Now or never, at your own risk, not scared of weathermen, ice velomobile safari. Together with Georg, Anton and Hans we were planning to cycle to Assen. But we agreed to contact each other Sunday morning at 8 AM to check if it was safe to go. And like a true Frisian ice master it sounded: It giet oan.

I first cycled to Groningen to meet up with the rest. From there on we went to Assen, but just before De Punt I got a flat tire. Well, stuff happens (a little bit too much). In the meanwhile the other guys made remarks that I have a flat every ride. After replacing the inner tire and fixing the cause we went on. In the meanwhile I was wondering why Hans was cycling so slowly. I didn't know him like that. Turns out that he wasn't the big cigar smoking Hans, but Hans who bought Anton his old bike half a year ago.

Upon arrival in Assen we enjoyed a warm cup of tea. The temperature was just a few degrees above freezing point and because of the mild rain the snow disappeared quite fast. When I left that morning there was some snow on my terrace roof, but when I got home it was all gone. After some 45 minutes of drinking tea and talking we got into our bikes and made a tour of almost 60 kilometers.

Ice velomobile safari - start

Of course we visited the big statue of Lenin. I shot a number of nice pictures during the ride (see photo album below) and saw some pretty things. Like three horses who were scared of our vehicles. They quickly ran away through the very wet meadow and it looked very spectacular.

Some 14 kilometers before the end of the ride there was a nice Anton-bridge with a double 90 degree corner where a normal velonaut would have to get out and do difficult things with his bike before he could continue. However, Anton was nice enough to pickup the back of your bike, turn it 90 degrees and put the bike back down. I could stay seated and warm inside. After we all passed the bridge David asked if we were thirsty. Well... Some 300 meters down the road there was the one and only beer brewery of Drenthe, Maallust. I wanted a nice beer and the 1818 sounded good with hints of pear and black berries. It was however 10%. That's why it was served in an smaller glass. Too bad, because it was very good. I also ordered a cheese and sausage board with delicious food.

Ice velomobile safari - beer and food

Once back in Assen we got some soup, bread and tea in the Hembrow house and went home. If it wasn't for the fact that Georg had a flat tire. What did you guys say again about my flat tires? When all was fixed the four of us could finally go home. At De Punt Georg and myself went left through Eelde-Paterswolde on the main road doing 36 / 37 km/h towards our home and Anton and Hans went right though Haren to their home. The last few kilometers before I was home I did encounter a few patches of black ice. And if you don't do anything stupid, it's quite manageable. Those spiked tires are good. When I got home I took a nice shower and had something to eat. Just over 140 kilometers today. Nice!

Update 1-2-2013: Marten Drenth also made a video.