Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’


The pressure and stress of the last week was released like air escaping from a balloon. A short ride through familiar territory with Ed and Frank to Aachen before a relaxing in the beautiful thermal baths in Aachen.

Ed and Matthew at the highest point in the Netherlands. 322m

Ed and Matthew at the highest point in the Netherlands. 322m

Relaxing in the thermal baths in Aachen, I slipped in and out of consciousness. Lying in the pool, the dome high above my head, which changed colours from blue, to green, to yellow, to red. The pattern of the waves was overlaid, putting me into a trance. In the hot bath I lay, what seemed like hours, in a kind of eternal dream. The light shining from below refracted around my hand, forming a red tinge on the top of my hand, and a blue tinge on the bottom. I felt the stress dissipate. I felt at one with the universe.

Frank Thiele, a cycling friend and colleague from my time in Aachen had cycled to Schimmert to return to Aachen with Ed and me. Ed was on an old bike from his grandfather with 3 gears and the saddle way too low. And, after a few kilometres, only one brake.

Farewell at Schimmert

Farewell at Schimmert

We passed the castle where I was a witness at Ed and Judith’s wedding many moons ago.

Ed's wedding castle

Ed’s wedding castle

And we made our way up to the Vaalse berg – the highest point in the Netherlands. What better place to part ways than at the border – the border with Germany and Belgium?

Then it was downhill with Frank into Aachen, through my playground for 12 years – the Aachen forest.

Aachen Forest

Aachen Forest

And passed the old Philips Research labs in Aachen.

Old Philips Lab in Aachen

Old Philips Lab in Aachen

Looking through the familiar gate, nothing seems to have changed. But, much has changed. That was a different time – my time in Aachen. A fun time that has, with other eras in my life, been banished to being fond memories.

Thanks very much Frank and Danielle for letting me stay at their place. It was great catching up!


 


The day was surreal. Escorted by a mass of friends to the Belgian border, we sat in the sun, fearing the moment of our ways diverging. Then welcomed by more friends on arrival in Schimmert – with the Dutch flag and a glass of champagne. I still haven’t fathomed everything. That will come.

Departure in Eindhoven

Departure in Eindhoven

 

I guess it must be the excitement. 2 years in the making, the day arrives, and I have a cold. Not a bad cold, and nothing that a bit of fresh air, and 30 people with waving flags can’t fix. I walked out of my front door, and soon, the people amassed. Lots of friends, people from work, and even people that I didn’t know that had read about my departure in the newspaper. Really cool. After flying the flags of the 32 countries I will pass through, the moment came: not only am I unemployed, but I am also homeless. I handed over the keys to my apartment to the new tenants. And then the trip began – with 30 followers on their bikes. The Pied Piper of Eindhoven.

All of a sudden, cycling through the forest, I hear ‘Advance Australia Fair’. A string of flags crossed the path, and Rufus Driessen – a friend from Philips – was cheering us on. He was set up there with his stereo in the forest. How cool is that? As my webcam had decided to crash again, I wasn’t able to capture this.. But, it is stored between my ears.

The sun came out for us as we sat in the cafe just over the Belgian border. The 2 hours there was punctuated with hugs and tears between the eating and drinking, and some magic tricks by Dhemie. The time for the departing of ways finally came, and I turned towards Belgium as the friends returned into the Netherlands.

A pleasant and familiar trip along the Belgian canal followed, before my very warm welcome in Schimmert.

Welcome in Schimmert

Welcome in Schimmert

Welcome dinner in Schimmert

Welcome dinner in Schimmert


See below for English.

Vandaag hebben Mansi Jasuja en ik (arctic-cycler) aan het eerste Green Pedals activiteit deelgenomen – een leuke, interactieve sessie over duurzaamheid en wereldfietsen op de Willemsparkschool in Den Haag. De kinderen waren tussen 10 en 12 jaren oud, en waren fantastisch. Ze hebben echt goede ideeën gehad hoe ze kleine dingen in het dagelijkse leven kunnen doen om het milieu te helpen. We hebben de kinderen gevraagt om hun ideeën op de Green Pedals Facebook pagina te delen, klaar voor de pre-cycle kick-off volgende week vrijdag. Wij zijn allemaal benieuwd naar hun ideeën!!

Today Mansi Jasuja and I (arctic-cycler) took part in the first Green Pedals activity – a lively interactive session on sustainability and world cycling at the Willemsparkschool in Den Haag. The kids were between 10 and 12 years old, and were fantastic. They had some great ideas about little things they can do in their own everyday lives to help the environment. We asked the kids to share their ideas on the Green Pedals Facebook page for the pre-cycle kick-off next Friday. We are all keen to see their ideas!!

 

In front of Willemsparkschool in Den Haag

In front of Willemsparkschool in Den Haag

Mansi at Willemsparkschool for Green Pedals

Mansi at Willemsparkschool for Green Pedals

Talking about the trip

Talking about the trip


Last week I was interviewed by @SimonRood from the Eindhovens Dagblad (newspaper), and today it appeared in the paper. There’s a bit of a party atmosphere at work today. Really nice!

Article in the Eindhovens Dagblad

http://www.ed.nl/regio/eindhoven/australi%C3%ABr-fietst-vanuit-eindhoven-36-000-kilometer-naar-huis-1.4513483

Here is a pdf of the article in the Eindhovens Dagblad


With two months to go before leaving Holland to cycle to Australia, my equipment needed testing, and friends needed visiting. I cycled back to La Jonchère in France – where I spent 3 months as an exchange student in 1988-89. This was the start of my relationship with Europe.

And, yes, I am glad I tested my equipment. I need a new pedal axle, and the baggage-holder has broken off from the frame. I’m glad I have time to fix all that before I leave!

As I only had one week this year, I started in Paris – last year I cycled from Eindhoven to Paris, so that stretch was already covered.

Day 1. 145km. Eindhoven-Brussels: A day along the canals of Belgium, staying with Kevin in Brussels.
Day 2. 191km. Brussels-Guise: Following bike paths (existent and non-existent) along rivers and train-tracks to beautiful France.
Day 3. 205km. Guise-Paris: I was awake before the sun. It was crisp – well, cold outside. My tent had a layer of ice as I left it to start my morning ritual. Today was a long and eventful day. It saw me cycle 205 km into the Parisian dusk.
Day 1. 155km. Paris-Égreville: A ride through the old and the new. The old: beautiful Paris – overflowing with memories of the last 26 years. Bathed in warmth and sun, I cycled through memory lane. The new: Following the Seine upstream I discovered the meandering valley, and met my lovely Warmshowers hosts – Nicole and Claude – at their house in the rolling hills of wheat.
Day 2. 120km. Égreville-St Cyr en Val: Along a sand path next to the canal – on and on along the green, shady waterway. A bit bumpy, but peaceful and pretty. A cycle of solitude, finished with a lovely dinner invitation at the camping ground.
Day 3. 165km St Cyr en Val-Montbazon: Sun, castles, views overlooking the Loire, minor bike problems with improvised fixes. Very very bright. It’s summer. I like!
Day 4, 125km. Montbazon-Luzeret: Sun, sun and sun. Leaving the Loire valley, the hills are getting bigger, and the sun is bringing out the sweat. Rolling fields along the Indre River, and then a landscape of lakes in the Brenne region.
Day 5. 95km. Luzeret-Ambazac: South of the Creuse River, the hills get bigger, they said. They did. They also got more familiar, those hills, and I got more emotional. I am here again, and by bike – I laughed with joy. My arrival at La Jonchère was marked with thunder and lightning.

With the equipment tested, and all the farewells made, arctic-cycler is ready for the big trip. Bring it on!


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

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My route through Europe, on the way from the Netherlands to Australia by bike is complete. Well, I have a draft route with lots of options. And I will definitely end up cycling something else. That’s part of the fun. Still, it’s nice to have a basic plan to make some timing estimates.

World Bike Trip 2014: Route through Europe

World Bike Trip 2014: Route through Europe

The starting date is 13 September 2014. Here are some expected dates (very approx):

  • Stelvio pass 28.09.2014
  • Trieste 05.10.2014 – then one week on the Istria peninsula
  • Thessaloniki 30.10.2014

I plan to arrive in Istanbul the start of December. Clearly I will have about one month extra up my sleeve, so, depending on how I feel, I will do detours on the way. One I have in mind is cycle to Athens, then take the boat to Chios, and then cycle up the Turkish coast to Istanbul. Let’s see.

Once arriving in Istanbul, I will take a break for about 3 months for the seasons to change. I will spend Christmas in Australia before returning to Istanbul to continue the trip.

Many thanks to lots of friends and people from the cycling forums for their tips and advice. A lot of it has been built into the route. In fact, in many countries, I have lots of different options for my route, which are visible in the links below. See how I feel when I get there. Here are the more detailed routes and notes on the different countries in Europe.