Drunen

MTBroutes.nl gives the Drunen route a relatively high ranking, so when I found I had to be near to there the other day I took the opportunity to take a look.  It is in an area of inland sand dunes call the Loonsche & Drunensche duinen (‘duinen’ means dunes) which means that the landscape is impressive and that there are enough small hills to make it challenging.  They have indeed done their best to make the most of the landscape.  For a start the track winds its way through quite some diversity of different habitats from open sand dunes (the loose sand was tough going in parts) to heathland (August was definitely a good time to be there with all the heather in flower) to mixed woodland with a well-developed understory.  It was in places quite similar to more sandy parts of the Veluwe, but just a little bit more fertile soil, with more brambles and so on in the woods. The track is sufficiently challenging in parts that you need to keep your wits about you, with various small drop-offs and steep (but short) climbs which are definitely easier if you see them coming. Another reason to keep your wits about you is that the area is also extensively used by walkers and horse riders.  Where the paths cross footpaths and bridleways there are clear warning signs but I came across quite a lot of walkers on the mountain bike route, despite many signs saying it was forbidden. The other thing to remember is that you do need a permit, though if you already have one for the Posbank that is valid here, and I did run into a warden (not literally) in the middle of the route, so they do check.

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 MTB Drunen

The route is very clearly signed, though if your colour vision is like mine then the black and green routes look quite similar, but nevertheless a gps route in front of you is certainly handy to let you know when sharp bends are coming up. If you do follow a gps route, make sure you go the right way round (anti-clockwise).  This is not only to avoid bumping into everyone going the other direction but because a lot of the short steep slopes have a metal grid on the uphill bit. This doubtless does a great job in preventing erosion, but it is not a surface I would like to be braking on.

I imagine that the weather in the preceding week is going to make a huge difference to the track.  When I went there, there had been a lot of rain and then dry for a day, which was probably optimal.  In dry weather there will be much more loose sand, which makes it more difficult.  If it is really wet, then parts of the woodland in the second half of the route which were now hard and fast, will be sticky or slippery. Is it worth its high ranking on mtbroutes.nl?  I suggest you go and form your own opinion, you won’t be disappointed.