In the gold mountains

For those who think that the Netherlands is flat, today's tour was definite proof that this is not the case.  We did over 500 meters climbing over a distance of 55km. It is not that the Goudsberg ('golden hill') is that big (it goes up to a massive 50 m above sea level), but the cleverly-chosen route took us up and down its steep slippery sides time after time (see below). And they were so steep and (especially) slippery that on quite a few a few of the ascents most people had to get off and push. There were a lot of people taking part as well, we had to queue for ten minutes to sign in at the begining. As usual the organisation and sign posting was perfect.


Riding to raise money

Last weekend mountain bikers raised money for two local charities simply by joining in a tour in the same way they always do. For organised tours there is always a small charge (4 to 5 Euros).  For this tour there was also a €5 charge, but the organisers persuaded a local supermarket to provide the refreshments and all the money went to two local charities (horse riding for the disabled and a 'clothing bank'). Good idea! It was a great tour as well, well organised, good signposting and nice route.  

Manege zonder drempels

Photo: Bert-Jan Piek

What to do?

You are cycling through the forest and you come across the scene below, then after you have noticed how pretty the reflection of autumn leaves looks, you will realise that you are faced with a dilemma. Do you try to cycle round the water-filled rut with the risk that at a given point there will no longer be room for you in between the trees alongside the path and the water (it's still wet where you see the big conifer jutting out onto the track further on), so with the risk of sliding out of control into the water, or do you go right through the middle, with the knowledge that you cannot see how deep it is, you do not know how muddy it is (so there is a risk you will simply get stuck in the middle and ignominiously tumble over)? The clue is that, almost no matter what time of year it is, those ruts are filled with water.  That can only mean that they have a pretty solid base. As to how deep they are, well the only way to find out it to try it.  I am happy to report that its ok, they are not too deep.  I was also happy that I had my waterproof boots on though!


Sign the petition against the 2-meter rule in the Black Forest

In Baden-Württemberg, the area of Germany where the Black Forest is, has introduced a new and bizarre law where you can be fined by cycling on a trail that is less than 2 m in width.  In other area of Germany similar laws have been overturned. Please sign the petition to get rid of it in Baden-Württemberg (note, you can change the language on the top right of the petition page).

Tour Club Wageningen Winter Tour 1

All week the forecast has been promising large quantities of rain for this morning, but when it came to it, it all fell during the night.  Today was bright and sunny and the leaves were really golden. However, all the rain overnight made it incredibly muddy under-wheel; real liquid goo in paces, with lots of sliding around and messiness. Over 500 people turned up for the tour, so having a few hundred tyres mashing up the ground before you probably did not make it a lot firmer. As usual, the organization was exemplary, with all the signs, refreshments  and everything being done very well.

Winter Tour 1 2013


Autumn again

We have had so much wind the last few days that I was wondering if the woods would be so full of fallen trees that it would be quite impossible to cycle through them.  But in fact I only once had to get off the bike to step over a horizontal tree, and there were not even that many branches to hop over. However, the ground was covered with a deep layer of leaves, so much so that in most places there were only green leaves left on the trees, and all the bright colours were on the ground.  It is always a bit scary this time of year wondering if the fresh leaves are covering up some slippery branch or deep pit, waiting to throw you off, but in today they were helpfully providing a covering enabling me to scuttle over some soggy damp patches without sinking in too deep. I was lucky with the weather, lots of thunder to the north when I was out and hailstones the size of marbles when I got back, but only a bit of rain whilst I was out, and still ridiculously warm for the time of year.

 Autumn colours in the woods near Wageningen