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Roel's new shop is open!

Roel Peerenboom has moved from his old shop on the Churchillweg to newly refurbished premises in the city centre. Today was the first day that it was open. Even though everything is not quite in its final place yet, it is still looking very impressive.  A great improvement on the old place. Good luck with your new shop Roel and Cindy!

See the Shops tab for location, etc.

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Deer in the woods

One of the good things about mountain biking in the snow is that you stand a better chance of seeing some wildlife. The snow quietens everything down, so you don't scare them off from such a distance. If it is still snowing, like it was today, that scares the people off, so that also helps.  And so today, we saw two deer, reasonably close, and when we stopped, they just moved a small distance and stood and watched us, as we stood and watched them for a while.  In addition to the actual animals, there are all sorts of interesting tracks on the ground.  Today we saw quite a lot of what I think was pheasant tracks.  There is a long narrow sweeping line, caused by the long tail feathers trailing in the snow as they walk around.  It is so narrow and straight that it looks quite unnatural, like a child has been making stripes in the snow.

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Winter wonderland

Yesterday afternoon and last night about 5 cm of snow fell, coating everything in a thick blanket of stunning beauty. It was not deep enough to be really difficult to cycle through (so long as you watch out for hidden branches etc) but seeing there was little wind, all the branches were coated in white. The only thing was that it was so spectacular that all of Wageningen was out in the woods and I passed more dogs, other bikers, walkers, etc this morning than I normally do in a month.  I had to try quite hard to find some paths going through unspoilt snow fields with only a few rabbit tracks blemishing the even surface.

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Paradise regained*

It has been six weeks since I was last on the mountain bike. Paradise regainedI had to recover from a small operation and am only now fit enough to go off road.  As I set off the weather was a bit miserable (below freezing, sleet and snow), but before long I was warmed up enough so that the same conditions changed into not so cold and hardly any snow, with the usual added benefit of this sort of weather that most people hide indoors leaving the woods alone.  The thin layer of fresh snow soon smudged out the footsteps, paw-prints and tyre tracks, making it look even prettier.  Six weeks of little exercise has of course left me pretty unfit, so I trundled around one our my summer evening favourate routes in twenty minutes longer than the usual hour. Of course, cycling through snow, even if not so so deep slows you down as well.  Doubtless what is left of my muscles will be complaining like mad late on. But all that did not matter, I was back on the bike and back in the woods!

(*Note for Dutch readers, the title is a famous poem).

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Kingfisher!

This is admittedly a little off topic, but given that most mountain bikers enjoy being in nature as well as cycling, maybe not too far off. Kingfisher in WageningenIt is cold out.  The temperature is - 5 degrees C, although the wind makes it feel more like -13. That means that all the small streams out in the countryside next to Wageningen (the Binnenveld) are frozen, so there are no fish to be found for the kingfisher. However, in the suburbs warm water from various sources comes into the ditches keeping them at least in part ice-free and suitable for fishing.  It also means that if the birds come there, people are walking and cycling past all the time, so it is possible to get not so far away (though any closer than this photo and it flies off) with it being too scared.  First we saw the bird, but came too close and it flew off.  We then cycled off into the (cold!) Binnenveld to see what else there was to see, but on the way back home called at the same ditch again, and there it was. We crept closer and managed to get the photo here. Yes!

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Butterfly in the woods

It is not the time of year when you expect to see much iButterfly in the woodsn the way of butterflies, but this weekend there was one in the woods! As you can see, it is a painting, and it was fresh, the paint was still wet. What was particularly nice was that the artist used the natural shape of the bark to form the butterfly's body.

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