Tag: Netherlands

Le Grand Tour: T – 1 Week – The Calm Before The Sun, Hopefully

Now getting to the pointy end of the planning. Just a week to go before I set off on the ferry from Hull, destination Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany and a return to The Netherlands and Rotterdam in early September. My mind has been on other things in recent days as I’ve been away for a few days, not on the bike, but with 120 12-year-old pupils on a school trip to the YHA hostel near Ambleside on the shores of Lake Windermere. An idyllic location. Well, it was before we arrived in our two coaches. The peace was somewhat disturbed by the inevitable noise but everything went to plan, including the weather which was sublime (until Thursday evening when it decided to chuck it down…)

A Wanda Around Europe, Explained

Earlier today some of you must have been scratching your heads just a little upon seeing the Twitter post or the Facebook post or the Instagram post relating to my decision to ‘tweak’ the route of my upcoming cycle around the Baltic Sea. It is, admittedly, one hell of a tweak. So much of a tweak in fact that the only remaining part of that planned Baltic Sea Cycle that remains in the new planned cycle is the rather short journey from the ferry port in Rotterdam to the Hook of Holland. And yes, even that section is nowhere near the Baltic Sea. The new route will see me not turn left upon arrival in The Netherlands but turn right in the direction of Belgium, then France, then (after quite a while) through Switzerland, then Germany before finally returning to the Hook of Holland and my return journey across the North Sea to Hull. Mmm… Perhaps ‘tweak’ might not have been the most appropriate of words. So why the change?

The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 048 – A Mountaineerโ€™s Guide To Cycling From Spain To Norway

The Cycling Europe Podcast mainly features, well, cyclists. The interviewee in this episode, however, is first and foremost a mountaineer. But heโ€™s not just any mountaineer. His name is Tim Ralph and heโ€™s a seven summiteer; a man who has climbed the seven highest mountains on each of the continents. In the last few years, heโ€™s also taken up cycle touring and has just published a book called โ€˜A Life Accomplished: From Spain to Norway on a Bikeโ€™. So what can mountaineering teach us about cycle touring? What can cycle touring teach mountaineers about climbing mountains? And what happens when an experienced mountaineer sets off to cycle from Europeโ€™s geographical southernmost point at Tarifa in Spain to its northernmost point at Nordkapp in Norway?

Next Slide Please: Sir Chris Whitty, Dutch Children And Italy

It’s been a great week to be a commuting cyclist. I actually filled the car up with petrol on Wednesday evening, at about 5.45pm. As I drove down to the local Morrison’s I was listening to the radio and to how people were eagerly waiting to do what I was about to do until 6pm when the 5 pence reduction in the price of petrol came into effect. Spotters around the country were keeping their eyes trained upon the electronic boards outside service stations to observe the drop take place as if it were the ball falling in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Strewth. I couldn’t be bothered to wait, parked up and filled up. ยฃ65 if I remember rightly. Perhaps I’m not that fussed. Not that I’m a rich man. Far from it. But having returned to the life of a commuting cyclist recently, it just seems a little less important than it might have done a few months ago…

The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 043 – Monologue Special / Gavin Woodย ย 

In 2021 I put out a call for anyone who was interested in recording a short monologue about their experiences of cycling to get in touch and, in the past year, quite a few people have come forward to record such a monologue. In this episode you have a second opportunity to hear Laura Massey-Pugh set out her plans to cycle around the world on a tandem, Laurence Warren tell the story of round-the-world cyclist Colin Martin as well as discuss his experiences of cycling in his adopted home of Austria, Robin Watkins talk about cycling in Czechia, the poet Caroline Burrows reflect lyrically upon her commute to work and Simon Garland recount his experiences of cycling the EuroVelo 15 or the Rhine Cycle Route. We also hear from Gavin Wood in an interview recorded at the time of the COP 26 climate conference. He works in West Yorkshire in the north of England as an active travel advisor and we chatted about the challenges of building infrastructure and changing minds in order that we can all live in a much more cycling-friendly place.

two white rice mills

Baltic Sea Cycle: Travelling To The Baltic

My mind continues to be focussed on plans for this summer’s ride around (much of) the Baltic Sea. Although I am happy for the details of the journey to simply go with the flow of events (as was the case during the previous long European cycles) with accommodation and day-to-day destinations being decided upon on the day itself, I have committed myself to two ferry journeys; from Hull to Rotterdam and then, a few days later, from Kiel in Germany to Klaipeda in Lithuania. Initially, this gave me a maximum of five days to travel from the port in Rotterdam to its counterpart in Kiel…