day 08

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

The hotel had a couple of bikes in the reception area that guests could borrow.

Exiting towns does sometimes seem to require a little effort. We'll gloss over me missing the cycle path crossing the road and ending up on the road instead at a three-lane roundabout. Fortunately, I think the trike looks sufficiently ambiguous that I didn't have to contend with any irate motorists before safely finding my way back to the cycle path.

The first part of the route wasn't as rural as it might appear at first glance.

As yes, that was a motorway sign you spotted up ahead. The path paralleled it for a few miles, sometimes right alongside it.

But then we passed beneath it and things got more peaceful.

Could be miles from civilisation but for the street-light giveaway.

Bicycles generally get right of way over other vehicles, but not all of them.

Back into the countryside.

Interspersed with small towns.

We'd seen these rucksack and flag combinations quite a few times and had come up with various theories. I finally googled it to discover it's how parents mark their kids passing their high-school exams.

One-horse town, countryside, rinse & repeat.

Funky clock tower.

Did I mention that the Netherlands has a lot of level crossings, for obvious reasons?

We'd gone eight days and only worn our waterproofs once, for about ten minutes. This was initially just a precaution after feeling a few spots of rain in the air.

We were now following the canal into Eindhoven.

Which offered an occasional alp.

And grew a bit less scenic.

We couldn't figure this out at all. I thought at first it was a gate that could be lowered and turned to block the passage of boats, but while the arms clearly lower, there didn't appear to be any way they could twist.

This was one of the things I was looking out for.

With its bigger brother round the corner.

Coming up to 20 miles, it was time for tea and orange juice. We were basically there, but wanted to head across town to visit the Hovenring, so had a few more miles to go.

I initially thought this was a station entrance, but it turned out to be an underground secure bike-park. Which we would be visiting later.

There's some pretty cool architecture in Eindhoven. A grey day and an iPhone doesn't do it too much justice, but you get the idea.

The Hovenring is part road safety initiative and part art: a circular suspension bridge created an elevated roundabout for cyclists, enabling them to cross a busy junction without going onto the road.

We of course had to do a few laps, even though it was a few miles out of our way.

The Strava record is a 46kph lap, so I don't think we'll be claiming a new lap record.

You can watch a more informative video about it here.

We also wanted to take a look at Evoluon, which used to be a Philips-sponsored museum of innovation but, sadly, is now a conference centre.

There was a barrier and a no-entry sign, but it didn't specifically mention me by name, so I assume refers to other people.

This is very cool: a very boringly conventional design transformed by some funky window shapes and a splash of colour.

Checking in at the hotel, I was advised that secure bike parking was in the underground parking place we'd spotted earlier. This was just one block away from the hotel.

It's completely free of charge, offers racks to secure your bike, is staffed from 8am until 11pm then locked up overnight.

It turned out to be not particularly trike-friendly, with no attachment points in the area designated for non-standard bikes, but I managed to hook my U-lock through one of the racks without blocking in the bike in it.

My hotel room was small and basic, but clean and good enough for the job.

I think the en-suite bathroom was bigger than the room itself. There was a bath. :-)

We met in the lobby to go in search of food just after 8pm. We didn't have to go very far: the place next door to the hotel looked fine.

The wine-list had three generic wines and their recommended one, which we opted for. It was very drinkable.

Tomorrow we'd be heading for Tilberg, to stay with a friend who was kindly putting us up for the night. As with JW, it had been a very long time, so I was looking forward to a catch-up.