Category Archives: Biking

Harwich to Cambridge

Before leaving home I had carefully plotted and loaded into my GPS a Harwich to Cambridge route on Bikely, avoiding all towns and main roads.

It proved an excellent route, although one part was down a track, but I was used to that by now!

What a pleasure to have fellow cyclists, passers by etc to smile, wave even say hello! It certainly brightens up your day to have a cheery smile rather than the ‘expressions’ you get in Germany & Switzerland which give you the uneasy feeling that they would mow you down rather than recognize your existence! I think life over there is VERY serious! I cannot say that I felt the same way when cycling in France last year. Although it has to be said the futility of marking cycle lanes on the roads which disappear when you actually need one is extremely frustrating for all road users.

This is a very pretty route if quite hilly, taking me past many of the places I have walked with Sally on the Cambridge Rambling Club walks. In fact I had a lunch break in one of the pubs we have used on our walks!

The ride was 67.6 miles which I cycled in 6hr 3min

Total ridden miles since leaving Les Gets was 1072.69 🙂 No punctures or breakdowns just one painful cracked rib!

Heres my Everytrail off the trip :-

Harwich to Cambridge at EveryTrail

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Wijk bij Duurstede to Hook of Holland

Total distance: 143853 m
Total climbing: 891 m
Total Time: 10:29:14

Today was the final Rhine day where The Rhine meets the North Sea, although a long time ago it met the River Thames and wound its way through what is now The English Channel to meet The Atlantic.

I did 90.5 miles in 8hr 13min making a near record 11mph! The smell of the sea beckoned!

For the first time I met a local cyclist who chatted to me on the Wijk ferry 🙂 , telling me about how their royal family’s home was in Buren, home of William of Orange which I was about to bike through! Not quite as glamorous as Windsor but very pleasant place.

I dashed on past the intriguing barns where the roof moves up and down on pulleys. Past the poignant memorial of Sylvia who never made it to her 16th birthday, yet another road death.

I crossed the river again in Gorinchen, a very pleasant place full of canals. Eventually making it to Rotterdam where I had the first experience of taking my fully laden bike down a long elevator to cycle through the long cool tunnel under The Rhine (Nieuwe Maas) then to hang onto the bike for grim death on the up elevator!

It was then, in what seemed like an eternity cycling down an endless path to the ferry! The lady at Stena said that only Comfort 2 berth cabins were available at €156 no breakfast but you could empty the mini bar! To wrecked to argue (apart from the additional €6 they wanted for the bike!) I sailed at 10.30pm with the big surprise of free open WiFi.

Xanten to Wijik bij Duurstede

Today I finally made it to The Netherlands leaving Germany behind when I crossed on the ferry at Millingen aan de Rijn.

I did the 77.6miles at 10.1mph on another really hot day, consuming 1 litre of Apple juice in just about one gulp! The countryside is pretty flat and uninspiring with no industry either. Although at Kalkar I came across a huge power station type of building which on close inspection revealed itself as Wunderland Kalkar some sort of Euro Disney/Butlins fun park I think.

There was a lot of uprooted trees and branches so obviously they have been having summer storms. It was good to see that all those modern windmills could be put to a useful task – as mobile phone towers!

I went through Arnhem thinking of all that lost of life trying to capture the bridge here. The cemetery is on a beautiful hill but I didn’t explore, but pressed onto Wijik, a lovely city sporting only one hotel, a quite expensive one at that! I couldn’t face searching around for b&bs so booked into the De Oude Lantaarn for €73.50 a night and enjoyed cheap mussels & chips around the corner at De Veldpoort!

Two things I hate about The Netherlands are (a) Scooters and small motorbikes are allowed on there otherwise fantastic cycleways. (b) The drivers get really agitated very quickly if you find yourself on their road instead of the cycleway hiding on the other side!

Having said that, the only other cyclist to have spoken to me whilst travelling along was here 🙂

Here’s the Everytrail of the day:-
Xanten to Wijk bij Duurstede at EveryTrail

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Cologne (Köln) – Xanten

Today was a day of many dead ends including falling of my bike at Monheim!

I left Cologne over the railway bridge which is festooned with hundreds of locks all engraved by lovers and locked to the steel mesh – be fascinating to know more about this ‘tradition’ On the other side I was barred from riding along the river due to the previous nights party (which I had failed to hear at all!) so I had to pick a way through the rubbish (no plastic bottles though that 25cents makes a HUGE difference). Then another detour around Chempark to get back on the river at Wiesdorf.

20 miles into the day at Monheim my little tragedy happened 🙁

As you can see on the pic. I should have kept right. However, I kept left, once I saw the path heading into the river I knew I had made a bad choice so I did a quick right up what was to be a very steep incline. I started to go to slow to be unable to unclip my feet, so over I went – the wretched handlebar ends hitting the rib over my heart – acute pain and agony. Now this scene was been witnessed by a about 10 folks sat on benches,  the unbelievable part is not one of the 10 showed a flicker of emotion not a “tut mir leid” between them not even laughter – It was if they were statues (Oops didn’t check if it was an Antony Gormley set up).

I eventually picked myself up and recommenced my journey. A few miles later, after another major detour (wretched signs show the route for both sides of the river, so easy to get confused)I found myself in Dusseldorf, along their festive waterfront I was wondering if I should find a krankenhaus but opted for a mega Italian ice cream or two instead 🙂

Onwards I went towards Duisberg past the blast furnaces of my youth (theirs have been turned into a museum rather than a caravan park like the ones I worked on in Renishaw). At Duisberg as part of the “Still Life” festival (very ironic in few of the tragedy of  of 20 deaths as part of the recent Love Parade in Duisberg)., the A40 motorway had been closed to form the longest table in the world. Amazing scenes!! Oh how I wish UK city centres could be closed to all traffic on Sundays 🙂 🙂

After 94miles of cycling at 10.2mph  along miles of paviors I arrived in Xanten for a good meal and sleep at Hotel Michael Neumaier 96 Euro all included.

The trail and pics are on Everytrail:-
Cologne (Koln) to Xanten at EveryTrail

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