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Old 09-09-03, 02:00 AM   #1
chewa
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Reflections from the low countries

Well, I'm back at my desk now after a week's touring in the south of Holland and northern belgium. 6 days of cycling, 360 miles, two nights on the overnight ferry from Rosyth to Zeebrugge.

I've toured a lot in Holland and Germany before but this is my first time in Belgium.

My thoughts:

Signposting on cyclepaths in Belgium is not as consistent as in Holland, and it's much easier to get lost. I wish I'd taken a compass as it would have saved some time and at least one matrimonial!

Also, what's the secret about distances.? Even if you get a signpost, it rarely gives an indication of distance.

The LF routes are excellent, but again signing is not too good. For our trip from Bergen -op-zoom via Lier to Gent, I ended up relying on the Michelin road map i had brought along just in case.

Isn't it great being in a place where cars and trucks look for bikes?

Isn't it fine to pass dozens of 60 year olds all dressed up in racing gear on fine road bikes out for a spin.?

It sure raises your spirits when a racing team spins past you on the road shouting encouragement.

Some highlights:

being given whisky on the house all night in a hotel in Holland because we were Scottish and had cycled there.

The kindness of strangers helping us find our route when we became lost.

The ribbing I gave my wife when finding out that not only did the hotel room she had booked in Gent have a 4 poster bed, and a jacuzzi, but 3 channels of porn and a mirror in the canopy of the bed! She swears she didn't know!

Watching a Ferrari F40 edge down a farm track near Zomergem and then drive in to the village to pick up the driver's bread before coming back.

Being told by three different people that they had seen us passing through other towns earlier (touring bikes really stand out)

Grimberger Dubbel, and Duchesse de Bourgoine beers. Mmmmmmmmmm!

No punctures, no mechanicals of any kind, other than regreasing the threads on one of my wife's bike pedals. The clicking was driving me daft but not bothering her.

Taking Sandra's picture, her holding a chocomel and her computer up to the camera as she celebrated the first 1000 miles on her new bike.

The scenery on a hot day at the beach in Zeebrugge, (Human scenery!)

Two absolutely flat calm crossings of the north sea.

A serious tailwind all the way from Middelburg to Bergen -op-zoom.

The bouncing we got from the dogs when picking them up from kennels and the realisation that they looked in great shape and had been well taken care of.

Roll on France in May
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1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
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Old 09-09-03, 02:35 AM   #2
Richard D
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Sounds idylic - I must try and persuade my wife to give a touring holiday a go...
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Old 09-09-03, 06:09 AM   #3
chewa
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard D
Sounds idylic - I must try and persuade my wife to give a touring holiday a go...
I can give you the URL for the hotel in Gent
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plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
2012 BTwin Rockrider 8.1
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Old 09-11-03, 10:06 AM   #4
alexeicharkham
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great stuff chewa....good to hear you guys enjoyed it. I've ridden both - very impressed I must say.

Just did the end to end trip - didn't end up going your way though (we kinda stayed west until inverness) - another time....

Alexei
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Old 09-11-03, 07:27 PM   #5
Jean Beetham Smith 
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My daughter worked in Bergen-op-Zoom (BOZ in GE parlance) for 6 months. We had a great week camping at "FamilyLand" south of there. We stayed in one of the treker huts and loved it. Rented Dutch bikes and rode around there. Our daughter was very upset that we didn't try to cram Paris in. Her idea of touring in Europe was very different from ours. That week was the clincher in my decision that I had to become a bike commuter. Glad you had a great time, thanks for the reminder of pleasant memories.
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