Water off a duck's back

Of course it is normal that whilst you are out on your mountainbike that you get wet and muddy.Water off a duck's back  Nevertheless there is no reason why that should not be a bit minimized.  The spray of water coming off your back wheel is a case in point; is it really necessary that you get a wet backside when going through puddles? Completely Waterproof clothing is not much good in the summer as you get far too hot and indeed today I took off my jacket after a few minutes, despite heavy rainfall.  I had seen that water resistant shorts existed, so when I was in England a few weeks ago got a pair from the Specialized concept store in Harrogate. My local shops do not have so much of that sort of wet-weather gear as a lot of people here seem to think that rain is a reason to stay inside. The shorts cost about half of what I was expecting to pay  - according to the helpful assistant, they had made too many, which I suppose means that not everyone sees the point. I am hoping they will be good both for warm wet weather and also on top of long cycling trousers in the autumn and winter. The shorts are made of nylon and coated with some sort of hydrophobic substance, but with a rather open weave (presumably like that, so that they are not too hot).  Today there was some serious rain before I set off, leaving all the paths submerged in a several centimetres of water.  Ideal testing conditions.
How did they do?  In short, I was pleased.  Indeed, the spray from the wheels and rain from above splashed off them like water off a duck's back.  Naturally, after a half hour or so on continuous wetting, they let some water through, but seeing that would normally have occurred within one minute of setting off in such conditions that was not bad. Of course I will have to see how the coating does after a few washes, but certainly as they are now, they are well worth having.

Photo: Statue by Edward Hore, 'Duck'.
'African Art' statues can been seen whilst mountaibiking through the Renkumsebeekdal.


I often go mountain biking in the woods around the Ginkelse



de and normally, other than the wide tracks in the sand left by the tanks carrying out

exercises on the heathland, there is not much to remind you of its history.  But this is the location where the paratroopers landed in the second world war, with Operation Market Garden, leading to the battle of Arnhem and 'the bridge too far'.  A historical site. Yesterday was the 68th anniversary so there were the usual celebrations and commemoratio

ns. By the time I cycled past this morning, there was not so much to see.  Fresh wreaths on the memorial, a few tents, and some fences left that had not yet been cleared up. I thought that was it, but a half hour later, the distinctive rumble of old aircraft came overhead and a couple of waves of small old planes (spitfires?) flew above my head. A reminder of the events of nearly 70 years ago that played out in these woods where I cycle so often.

Muddy legs

Yes, it's time for another muddy photo.

Muddy legs

  It has rained a lot in the past week and although it was dry and sunny today, that means that the woods are full of spectaucular damp bits that look like they might be just a bit on the wet side, but can be a good half meter deep. One was as deep as my wheels! At least all the mud earned us some impressed looks from passers by as we cycled home!

Autumn leaves

Wow, the autumn leaves, blue skies and bright toadstools were impressive today.  It was all of Autumn leavesa sudden half the temperature of last weekend (in Centgrade anyway) making for perfect autumn conditions.  Beautiful weather but cold enough to scare off enough dog walkers so that with a bit of care in choosing the route we did not have to slow down too often. Great! 

Perfect weather

After lunch it started to rain really heavily. Perfect, it meant I got the woods to myself.  I barely saw anyone the whole time. I could go round some of the paths on the Wageningse Berg where normally I would never go on a Sunday afternoon because there are so many people there.  Wonderful stuff, rain. And after a bit the rain stopped (though it was so wet under-wheel that that barely made a difference).  The autumn leaves were spectacular, and the setting sun (you can just see it in the photo) added to the colour. Perfect weather


Throughout December and January it has been constantly snowy and icy. That has given beautiful landscapes, but less than ideal conditions for mountain biking. 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 cycling thorough 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.