day 02

Today's ride::

And the ride so far:

Orange is the New Black meant I didn't get quite as early a night as planned, but was still asleep by midnight and didn't wake until 9am. Breakfast finished at 10am, and I made it there by 9.45am. Eric made it by 9:57am.

We were today starting out by heading east to get onto the official route, then heading down to Hardenberg-ish. Ridewithgps initially routed us through Germany, which would of course by highly illegal on a Ronde van Nederland ride, but you can just drag the route to adjust it, so I dragged it back into the Netherlands.

The day was looking a little short at 36 miles, so when offered us a choice of three guesthouses, I looked first at the furthest one, 7km south of Hardenberg. This looked lovely. The owner didn't speak much English (though infinitely more than my Dutch, of course), but we got there in the end. I hoped.

The revised route claimed to be 43 miles, and indeed was. It was after 11am by the time we'd finished messing around with routes and guesthouses.

You don't see many cyclists wearing hi-viz in the Netherlands, but we did catch up with one school group who were. A shout was passed down the line to let them know that foreigners were overtaking.

It was another hot day, so we were pleased to see a lot of the route was through forest.

I took other photos through the forest, but to be honest they all look pretty much the same. Trees. Path. Just imagine that one duplicated about a dozen times.

Things opened out here and there, but thankfully not too much completely uncovered route.

The Netherlands seems a pretty patriotic place. I think this was something to do with yesterday's holiday, but you do see quite a lot of flags and the like. JW did point out that there is some kind of international sporting event on involving men chasing balls around fields, so perhaps it's that.

Most of the route was either off-road, or on small roads. with only a few stretches directly alongside a road.

We had settled on a navigational strategy of me asking ridewithgps to plot a route, and loading that into my GPS, and Eric doing the same with bikeroutetoaster, and loading it into his. We then followed whichever one was showing the shorter 'distance to destination' at any given point.

This works well, but Eric has an older GPS which doesn't offer the option of switching off recalculation, so sometimes got locked into a loop of recalculating and - by the time it's finished doing so - finding it's now in a new place and needs to recalculate again.

Portrait of a man Having Words With His GPS:

More countryside.

More cycle paths. You get the idea.

In reality, I would die of boredom if I lived somewhere rural, but this does look rather lovely:

Thatched roofs everywhere.

Fifteen miles in, it was tea and cake time. We couldn't see anywhere obvious, so I accosted a local and asked her. "Follow me," she said.

The place she suggested turned out not to have cake. I was pretty taken aback by this concept, but fortunately a nearby place did.

There was a choice of just two, but that was more than enough.

Eric's GPS wanted to take a big detour for no apparent reason, so he tried showing it the route on mine in the hope that it would see the error of its ways.

We'd both managed to leave things behind at the hotel. Eric had opted for a cheap item - a water bottle that he replaced at a Halfords. I'd chosen my MacBook Air power supply. I called the hotel and arranged to have them send it on to two of the Dutch friends we'd be meeting on Friday.

Eric also bought a spare inner-tube while he was in Halfords, for no reason in particuar.

Some of the local residents are knocking on a bit.

There was rather too much of this surface in places. In a country where everyone cycles, why do town planners think this is a good idea for cycle paths?

A polite 'excuse me' saw people pulling over to let us past.

More tree-lined avenues.

And non-tree-lined ones, but fewer of those.

Much greenery.

We were following Eric's GPS at this stage. I'm fairly sure this wasn't on the official tourist route, but you'll soon be able to pick up a copy of Eric's new best-seller: Industrial Estates of Northern Europe: A Cycle Tour.

Rule 34 probably applies.

We did find our way out.

A few of the paths, the trike had to breathe in.

We then picked up a canal or river - something wet, anyway - and would be following this for much of the rest of the way.

Our cake alarms went off.

(Ignore the 'Dist to dest' field here: we were following Eric's route at this point, and my GPS was sulking.)

Eric's side-stand seemed a little over-engineered.

Refuelled, it was back on the bikes, following the wet stuff.

The surface wasn't always ideal.

Hardenberg had been our original destination for the end of day two, but we were a little ahead of schedule so passed through it heading for a little village seven miles south.

Eric spotted this rare Growyourownbarn tree.

Local wildlife.

And then we reached the village.

Impressively, both GPS units routed us through a little alley as a short-cut to reaching our guesthouse in a small cul-de-sac. We were welcomed with apple juice.

A very hospitable place. We were offered the choice of eating out at the local restaurant, or a home-cooked meal on the patio. After asking the obvious question, and being assured that yes, she did have red wine, and probably a better one than the local restaurant where everyone drank beer, we accepted the offer.

Both dinner and wine were rather more modest than the previous evening, but both went down very well.

I spotted a washing-machine in the bathroom and asked if I could do some laundry. I still had clothing for two more days, but it makes sense to take the chance when it arises. Eric had been efficient and hand-washed his the previous evening.

I asked Helen and JW, who were being sent my MacBook Air power supply, where I might be able to find an Apple reseller to see if I could pick up a Magsafe 1 -> 2 adapter so that I could borrow Eric's charger. They found me both a Media Markt and a premium reseller in a town that was exactly on our route. :-)

That should tide me over until we met up with them on Friday.

Our hostess offered us tea and asked if we wanted sugar. We both said no, but milk, please. "Ah yes, the English." Quite. I have Indian friends who put it less politely.

The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the patio drinking wine. Until we ran out of wine and moved onto port. Port is always a bad idea. But mornings can worry about themselves.

Tomorrow we would be heading to Enschede (hopefuly picking up a Magsafe adapter whilst there), and looking for accommodation 5-10 miles south of there.