Mountain biking in Wageningen district


Photo archive

Woods near Wageningen 21-08-2010 Fresh Ferns
Sunshine shining through the fern leaves glistening with fresh rainfall. Beautiful!
Spessart 10-8-2011 Spessart
This photo was clearly not taken very close to Wageningen, there are no hills that steep round here. But it does demonstrate ncely that within a few hours travel there are some seriously steep hills. This photo was in a German national park called Spessart. We found some impressively steep hills (lots of cycling at more than 20%). A little further on from where this photo was taken, a young wild boar ran across the track, right in front of us.
MTB 3-7-2011 3-7-2011 Summer woodland
The photos on the left says it all. Sunny early summer, shrubs growing fast out over the tracks. Despite the thunderstorms of the last week, the ground is again dry and dusty, but it is not yet like May with the plants wilting.
                green rouet: Click to enlarge 13-6-2011 Nijmegen Green
This morning I cycled the Nijmegen 'green route' with my daughter. It was perfect conditions, 20 degrees, little wind, no rain, but it had (at least) rained a bit in the previous week so that the ground was not too dry and dusty. The woods there are beautiful at the moment. They are mostly mixed deciduous woodland, with patches of conifers. Some areas of oak with various ferns including bracken, and other areas are damper with the ground vegetation dominated by sedges (with some muddy paths through them). The last stretch is a bit different with the path going over lots of sandy banks, giving rise to technical rises and drops twisting up and down. Great fun!
Corynephorus canescens 29-5-2011 Dust
It is incredibly dry in the woods. It is stll May but already drier than it would be at the end of a normal dry summer and the rainfall defecit is more than in the historic dry year of 1976. That means that the paths in the woods are filled with dry dust, and it is like cycling through powdery snow in places, with a need for similar techniques. There have been a lot of heathland fires as well. A lot of the nature areas are really drying out and this must be having a big impact on the wildlife. I think it must be for that reason that we had a woodpecker (photo!) in the garden yesterday, eating the peanuts and fighting off the sparrows - presumably less caterpillars and others insects than usual, as normally they only eat seeds and nuts in the winter. The dry weather must also mean that the paths in the woods are suffering more from erosion than usual, but in itself that is not necessary a bad thing as some of the specialities of the Veluwe are plants like Corynephorus (photo on the left) which need open sand. But as mountainbikers we should be careful not to go into the 'forbidden' areas round Wolfheze as the nature will be quite vulnerable there at the moment, and above all not to go of the paths in aeas where there are delicate lichen communities.
broken link 22-5-2011 Problems
Luck was clearly not on our side today. I was out cycling with the club and we had  one problem after another. First thing was that somone forgot to wake up, so we hung around a while getting cold waiting for him. Then someone's deraillier failed, so his gear shift stopped working |(temporarily), then my chain snapped (result of the problems below), and finally we had a crash with one person falling over and another one tumbing over them, causing severe bruising to her hands. So much for the volley ball match they were hoping to play soon. Oh yes, and we lost someone half way round.

Click to enlarge 14-5-2010 Eifel
Clearly this is not right by Wageningen, but actually it is only 2 1/2 hours drive away, in the North Eifel, not far over the German border. The Eifel has an abundance of steep slopes, impressive scenery, enough woodland so that you can cycle all day in it (with intermissions on dramatic plateaus like in the photo here) and a virtual guarantee of seeing some orchids/deer/butterflies or other interesting plants and animals to make it a great location for mountain biking. All that only a relatively short drive away!
Perfect weather for an Easter Monday mountainbike ride!Spring! Spring!
Burial mound 17-4-2011 Archeology
Every so often as you cycle around the woods here, you come across a large mound. Often the trees and shrubs have been cleared from it. These are burial mounds from prehistoric times. At the name implies, they were burial chambers, often for several people together. Their age varies from bronze to iron to stone age. Near Wageningen they are mostly bronze age (3000 - 800 BC). These ancianet monuments have legal protection. It permitted to walk on them, but is best not to take your mountainbike over them as that will erode away the outer surface.
Mossel 10-4-2011 Wildlife
I've now finished replacing the chain, cassestte and derailler pulleys on my mountainbile and the chain, cassette, wheel and pulleys on my city bike. At last everything is working again and I cycled 40 kms yesterday, heading towards Mossel where there is some great heathland with open inland sand dunes. The photo is of the viewpoint nearby, looking out onto the heath where I watched highland cattle grazing and saw 3 large deer rather  nearby. Also several  woodpeckers flying across the path as I went along.
2-4-2011 Mech
It seems to be the period for mechanical problems! I'm still waiting on a new cassette for my mountain bike  (I made the mistake of ordering it on the internet the second I got back home last week, so it is still not here), so this weekend I was confined to the cycle paths. Fortunately we are really lucky here that in the woods, miles away from any road, there are also cycle paths, so you can get out into the woods even if you do not have a mountain bike. However, just before setting off I noticed that the wheel of my other bike (ex-MTB, converted to city bike) was worn completely through in places. This time I've ordered a new one from the LBS, and they told me that if I only braked with my front brake it would probably be ok. It was!
27-3-2011 Spring cleaning
Time for spring clearning! New chain, new wheels on the derallier and the cassette and front cogs completely dismantled, cleaned and greased. All looked sparking and new! However, it seems that after all I had waited just too long with replacing the chain,and the cassette was also a bit worn (despite the fact it looked fine); once out in the woods it was slipping like mad and no amount of adjustment would fix it. Frustrating!
Spring is really on the way, with everything really greening up, also the mosses. The green carpet in the photos is Campylopus introflexus, which is know locally as 'tank moss' because of its habit of rolling over the indigenous mosses. Today was perfect mountainbiking conditions, with enough moisture in the ground to firm up the sand and not enough to make it boggy. Of course difficult conditions are also fun but it is also good to be able to go nice and fast without getting stranded in loose sand or fighting snow and ice. And what is more at one place a roe deer was only about 20 m away from me and we stood and looked at each other for a while. Of course as soon as I reached for my camera the spell was broken and it ran off.

12-2-2011 12-2-2011.  It has been raining steadily for the past couple of days, so everything in the woods is very wet. As well has having the advantage that once you get a little further from Wageningen and Bennekom (with a few dog walkers) you have the woods completely to yourself, it means that all the mosses were looking at their best. The conifer woods in the picture have a rich bryophyte flora, with Polytrichum covering much of the ground, interspersed with Pseudoscleropodium purum and the tree stumps coated in Hypnum.
16-1-2011.  The melting snow in Germany and Switzerland means that the Rhine has now flooded over the summer dikes and is lapping half way up the taller winter dikes protecting the cities. The water is lower than a few years ago (due to extensive projects creating basins for storing water in nature reserves on the floodplain), but as we cycled out along the top of the dike protecting Wageningen from the Rhine it was still quite dramatic to see all the flooded land. Somewhat to our suprise, the flooding was not confined to the floodplain. At this spot in the forest near Ede there is always a pool, caused by upwelling ground water. However, today the pool was 3-4 times as large as usual, and spread right out so that you either had to go a long way round, or go through it. As it was spring water, it was crystal clear, so even though it was in places about 1/2 m deep, it was still possible to see the ground and cycle through it without too much difficulty, so long as getting wet does not count as difficulty. At least my apparently foolish decision to wear shorts was a good one in this case. Route (right-click to download)

Click to
MTB in the snow
MTB in the snow MTB in the snow
After a thick layer of snow fell last night, the woods were spectacularly beautiful today. All the trees were covered in a thick layer of snow and in much of the woods the snow was pristine with only footprints from rabbits and deer. It has not been so cold, so in places the snow and ice was on top of puddles of soft mud which was not frozen, so when cycling along across what looked like a piece of smooth snow all of a sudden it would crack and the bike would fall into the water. Fortunately none too deep
Snow and slush
It has been snowing on and off the past few days and last night it started to thaw. That makes for exceptionally challenging mountain biking conditions; snow and slush on top of compressed snow and ice. You really have to concentrate to stay upright, let alone go in the right direction! Especially on the ungritted roads it slippery, but in the woods there is up to 1/2 meter snow to make it difficult in a different way. It is certainly a good exercise in steering technique! As ususal with such weather I saw very few people (and almost no tyre prints in the snow), but wildlife is easier to spot; a hare ran out right in front of me before dashing off in the opposite direction.
Frost 28-11-2010
It was -5 degrees C last night, so this morning everythng was covered in bright while frost, which looked spectacular with the sun coming through it. The  temperature will not go above freezing today (except for in the direct sun) and snow is expected next week. All in all, it was good biking weather and everything looked glorious.
WTC winter tour 1
Wageningen Tour Club winter tour 1. The WTC organises 3 winter tours which are open to non members and you can choose between 30 and 50 kms. The route is well signed and they do their best to choose the best paths winding through the woods and making the best use of the limietd heights available. This week it has been raining quite heavily on several days, so although the weather was fine, it was very very muddy underfoot (or under wheel). I was glad I switched my tyres for wide winter ones last night. The last 15 kms or so it was very heavy going and people were slipping around all over the place and even getting off and walking occassionally. Great fun! Over 200 people joined in the event. Right-click this link to download the route.

Best 23-10-2010
This photo was actually not taken right by Wagenignen, but about 3/4 hour drive south, just north of Endhoven (MTB route Best). It was beautiful autumn weather with bright blue skies and bright reds and yellows on the leaves of the oaks and other deciduous trees. A cold spell earlier this month has brought out the colours nicely. The route is quite flat, but the makers have done their best to put in lots of difficult bends and small ups and downs so that you certainly have to concentrate quite hard.
Suzanne in Bennekomsebos Bennekomsebsos
Blue skies, bright sun and cool tempreatures. Most glorious autumn weather; the woods are looking quite spectacular, not to mention a greater-than-normal diversity of toadstools this year (after the damp summer)

Edese heide 12 September 2010
It is September and the heather is (still) out on the heathland. The weather is a bit miserable, so that is great for mountainbiking; you have the whole healthand to yourself, it is not too hot and have the oppotunity to come home covered in mud. What more could you want?
near Ede 13 June 2010
Summer has its disadvantages. The woods are full of walkers, dogs, horses, not to mention other mountainbikers. Fortunately it is still possible to take less well-know paths and still have the woods mostly to yourself and the song of the larks in the heathland and songbirds in the woods make it a great experience.
Wageingsebos 24 May 2010
At the edge of mixed woodland, the cow parsley-filled field fills gives a real feel of early summer. The rain of small caterpillar dangling from the trees might be all very good for the young of the songbirds in the woods, but are less ideal for the mountaibiker.
11 April 2010. Typical Veluwe landscape with open heath and scattered Scotts Pine going over into mixed woodland.  Despite the threatening clouds, the rain held off and it was a cool but dry spring day
Renkumsebeekdal 4 April 2010.
What passes for a big hill round here. Actually it is steeper than it loks here (and the cyclist is only 10), but it is only short.
Oranje Nassau Oord March 2010.
After a dip in temperatures last week, it it getting warmer again. The buds are slowly swelling and the ground has even defrosted enough so that it is drying out. Spring is coming!
Bennekomse bos
Finally the ice and snow of the last months has gone. It is back to muddy paths and warmer temperatures. Today (28 Feb) it was 8 degrees and I was so warm that I had to take my waterproof off. The wildlife was also clearly showing signs of the apprach of spring. Near to this photo (the woods by Bennekom) I could hear woodpeckers knocking on  the trees, see signs of wild board turning the earth over and flocks of coal tits and finches were flying around.
Bennekom heath 31 January, 2010. Throughout December and January it has been constantly snowy and icy. That has given beautiful landscapes, but less than ideal conditions for mountaibiking. When there is some snow it is ok, but as it gets deeper, it gets more and more difficult to pedal. Once the wheels sink in more that 1/2 way it is difficult to make any progress. There are some places round here with loose sand, and I've always had an aversion to cyling throough that. However, now I know what the point of learning the right technique for that is; it is just the same as snow. Ice is another matter. The friendly paths through the woods are transformed into monsters waiting to trip you up and smash you down.  Cycling with a group becomes irresponsible and by yourself it is a matter of going slowly and carefully. Not exactly fun. Nevertheless, for views like in this photo it all becomes worthwhile.

Mountain bike in the snow by
              Wageningen Wageningen Eng
Renkumsebeekdal, 17 January 2010
Wageningen Eng, 10 January 2010
Near Wageningen 26 December 2009

Near Wageningen

This picture was not taken near Wageningen, but it is me.

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