Matthew and the art of bicycle maintenance

Posted: April 6, 2014 in Cycling
Tags: ,

I remember Thursday mornings in year 8 at high school in Australia. Tech studies – woodwork. I dreaded it with a passion. 30 years later I am afraid of touching my bike – I might stuff it up. Not good if I am to cycle around the world. So, biting the bullet – Matthew and the art of bicycle maintenance.

Bike maintenance

The bike maintenance course is offered through with bicycle guru Marten Gerittsen – a lovely guy with a dry sense of humour. He lives in Kiel Windeweer – a village that runs along the length of a canal in the back blocks of Groningen provence in the north of the Netherlands. We were allowed to camp in his apple orchard – time to get out the bike, the new tent and mat, and camp for the first time in 2014.

Camping in the apple orchard

Camping in the apple orchard

I can now replace a broken link in a chain, remove the gears from a wheel, and change a tyre (although, I must admit, I could do that before). I watched on as brake and gear cables were replaced, pedals axles replaced, the handle bars taken apart, and spokes replaced. One of the students helped fix a wobbly handle bar that he had on his own bike. I looked on in awe, hoping that I would never have to do this. On then cycling to the train station, I noticed a click coming from the handlebars. :-O

It was a lovely group of people learning the art of bicycle maintenance. Oh. And a cat.

My bike maintenance friend

My bike maintenance friend

Its a beautiful part of the country up there. I cycled to Kiel Windeweer from Groningen city, did a circuit around Kiel Windeweer on Sunday morning, and cycled to Assen to take the train home.

To Kiel Windeweer

To Kiel Windeweer

Click here for map and gpx.

I passed through marshy areas with only me and the symphony of squawking birds.

I passed windmills that reminded me of Australia,



and lovely paths through the fields:

Path through the fields

Path through the fields

  1. AndrewGills says:

    Oh those photos of Holland make me want to come there even more now. My Oma, uncles, aunts and cousins all live in Brabant in the south of Holland. I am hoping to visit them all early in 2015 as the winter turns to spring. Will bring my bike with me because I have always wanted to cycle in Holland but never had the chance because my partner (who I have broken up with but am still living with until the sale of our house is finalised) doesn’t ride. But now I think one of the first things I will do is go cycle there.

    How is your trip planning going? When do you leave?

    • Hi Andrew.
      Indeed, Holland is a great place to cycle. There are cycle paths everywhere, and you mostly don’t have to cycle with cars or other traffic.
      The planning is going well. Still a lot to do, though.. I’m leaving on September 13.

      All the best from Eindhoven (in Brabant)..


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