Mad March Hares

There is a saying* that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Judging by the complete absence of any other mountain bikers last Sunday, it is not only scorching summer sun but also large quantities of rain and wind that deters sane people. Especially towards the end of the afternoon, it was really quite impressively high work pedalling into the wind. It was not only the weather, the day before I had been out with the club and my energy reserves were still depleted from that. However, it was that or sitting drinking tea and making polite conversation the friends my wife was visiting, so storms and tiredness did not seem too bad. We were visiting Almelo, which is a town (officially a city) about an hour's drive northeast of Wageningen, in the province of Overijssel.  The route next to Amelo starts from the village of Wierden.  The landscape is quite flat and open, so the makers of the trail really had to do their best to make something of it. I had been forewarned by the reviews on the MTB routes site that there was quite a lot of asphalt, so that was not such a problem, but there was also a lot of narrow singletrack sandy paths snaking alongside fields and some really great pieces of small woodland with nice windy tracks made through them. The woodland was nearly all broad leaf, so the picture below is completely atypical, but that was the only moment when it stopped raining long enough to take a photo without destroying my phone. The singletrack was not really difficult or technical, but did require me to concentrate on my steering. What was difficult was the sand.  Probably in more normal weather conditions it would have been all right, but with with everything so incredibly wet, it was really hard going cycling through wet sand for a very high proportion of the route. And yes, I did see a March hare as it dashed across a field in front of me, and it did look at me like it thought I was mad.

MTB route Wierden


*From a song by Oscar Wilde

New group for spring

This week it is the official start of spring, which this year has come together with a dramatic solar eclipse - not that we got to see it through the mist, but at least it gives me an excuse to post Danny McAskill's stunning photo (below). The other new event for spring is that the local club started a new mountain bike group.  Actually, they started last week, but then I was still riddled with flu so unable to join them, making today my first time.  They have had a mountain bike group for many years, but they claim to go through the woods at such a high average speed that it was clearly not aimed at non-competitive mountain bikers like myself. So it was with some anticipation that I joined the new group this morning to see what it would be like. It was great!  About 20 people turned up, so we split into two groups.  I joined the slower of the two on the grounds that I've still not 100% recovered from my flu and we had a great ride through the woods.  It was very sociable, I chatted to lots of friendly people as we went along and the speed was fine.  It would have helped if the weather had cooperated, we arrived back rather on the wet side, but if you think rain and mud are a problem then mountain biking may not be the best activity for you. Anyway, nice ride and I'll certainly be joining them again.

Danny McAskill Rides TheEclipse

© Rutger Pauw / Red Bull Content Pool

Tour Club Wageningen starts new MTB group

Toerclub WageningenThe local cycling club, Toerclub Wageningen have had a mountain bike group for years, and they organize tours for everyone both in the summer (the 'hell of Ede-Wageningen') as well as a couple of excellent winter tours every year. Their mountain bike group goes at an average speed for up to 25 km per hour, which has always put me off a bit as being definitely faster than I like to go (ok, than I'm able to go).  However, it seems that I'm not the only one who feels this, as they have announced that they are starting a new group for those who go mountain biking more for fun than with the intention of racing through the woods as fast as they can.  It is not a group for beginners, but it is intended to be more relaxed than the established group.  If you are interested please inform the club (mtb <at>  The first ride is on Saturday 14th March, leaving at 09:15.  You need to bring your own mountain bike and wearing a helmet is compulsory. 


"There is no time to beat, there is Lyme to beat".  With these words Casper Freriks announced his intention to cycle an amazing 400 km in one day to raise money for helping victims of Lyme disease.  If it is diagnosed early enough then it can be treated without great problems, but for some patients it has dreadful consequences. Casper is going to cycle on his racing bike from Langroek to Yersjeke to Meijel, finishing on the Eltenberg on May 9th 2015. May is Lyme awareness month.


You can follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter (@lymetrial). If you want to sponsor Casper, you can mail him at c_freriks <at> or donate directly to 'Stichting voor Lymepatiënten' bank accoount number NL49 INGB 0003 504 330. Casper is also looking for volunteers to ride part (or even all) of the way with him. 

Hard work

Yesterday morning we had a few centimetres of snow, and since then the temperature has been hovering at about freezing point.  That meant that it was hard going this morning.  In parts it was icy, and I was very happy of the amazing ability of my Schwalbe tyres to grip where you would think it was impossible, and then all of a sudden the types would break through the crust and then it was all mud and slush and hard  pedalling. But of course the good thing about all the difficulty was that it scared off all but the most determined dog walkers and other people, so I had the woods mostly to myself.  Whenever I stopped to get my breath back after a hard bit of pushing through slush then it was wonderfully still, with the snow blanketing out the noise of the traffic.

Dangerous dog!

I could have understood it if I had surprised a dog out in the woods, but no, I was going along a normal cycle path and a large dog rushed out of its garden, through the gate, past its owner and sank its teeth in my leg.  Not what you expect. The dog was clearly normally kept behind a fence, buts its owner had open the gate to drive his van in.  He did try to call it back, but that was completely ineffectual, the dog was out of control. Irritatingly,  he did not even apologise but just continued with what he was doing. I got the impression it was normal behaviour for that dog.  So if you are going along the Kruislaan, between Planken Wambuis and the tunnel under the A12, look out! This is not the house with the dogs which always make a lot of noise on the west side of the track, but the one on the other side (Heycamp). This does illustrate that it is always useful to have a small first aid kit with you when on the mountain bike. I always carry one and sometimes wonder if there in any point, but in this case I hope that applying disinfectant iodine into the wound (together with the fact that my last tetanus vaccination was not too long ago) will mean that there are no serious consequences.