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

Goudsberg tour

On its website, the Goudsberg tour organisers describe it as one of the most beautiful tours on the Veluwe. And it is true! It starts off running alongside the famous Wekeromse Zand (an incredible landscape of inland dunes), which unfortunately you are not allowed to cycle through, and then there is kilometer after kilometer of intricately twisting singletrack through beautiful deciduous woodland. The combination of turning leaves and bright green mossy forest floor was spectacular. After the break, the twisted woodland path continued, but then a series of very steep sandy hills (or rather, sand pits), with  sharp descents and impossible ascents come into play. The combination of gradient and loose sand made me give up and step off the bike on multiple occassions. I was glad to see that virtually everyone else was getting off at the same points as well. There were hundreds of other people taking part, and a nice friendly atmosphere. By the end, after 45 km, everyone was looking quite tired. I was amazed to see when I got home that it was only 500 m elevation, it felt like much more. All in all, a wonderful route.





Bottom photo by Joop van den Brand, others by Andrew Spink

Apeldoorn Official Route

The official Apeldoorn route is 50 km long, and for much of that 50 km you are cycling on sand. Not much tarmac, and if you do it at the end of a dry summer, a lot of loose and difficult patches. In case you are not familiar with it; cycling through dry sand is like cycling through powdery snow. That means hard work on the uphills and some skill required to keep upright on the downhills. By the time you get back to your stating point again, if you are not feeling some tiredness in your legs you must be very fit. But that was in August, after a bit of rain I am sure that the trail will be quite fast and then the 50 kms will fly by.

Radio Kootwijk: MTB Apeldoorn














The route goes through some beautiful woodland, mostly mixed broadleaf, and there are some spectacular views across open sandy heath.  Rather surreally you come across the art nouveax Radio Kootwijk building in the middle of one such heathland.  It was built in the 1920 to maintain radio contact with the Dutch colony in Indonesia, initially with Morse transmissions and later with short-wave radio.

The route officially starts in Apeldoorn, but if you are coming from the south you can also park in Hoenderloo for instance.  The signposting is excellent (August 2013), although watch out that in a few places the signposted route does slightly differ from the GPS route.

 Apeldoorn MTB route