Biking to me is a means of transport and travel. Travelling part of the world by bicycle will provide me with a lot of opportunities: The opportunity to go slow and to experience every meter; the opportunity to get close by, without the barrier of a glass window or a motor and the opportunity to challenge myself physically.
People have asked me if this is really what I want. And sometimes I doubt it myself and at other times I am very sure: I want this. To test myself, to get more independent from Martins practical skills and to have my own little getaway, I went on a solo bike trip for five days.
Starting from Rotterdam I biked South-West over the peninsula’s to Veere. The first kilometers were familiar terrain and generally I rode further and further from home. There was sun and high temperatures in de morning and wind and rain in the afternoon. The dams were beautiful and challenging in the wind and kite-surfers were enjoying themselves. I rode past bushes full of birds and over dunes on a small gravel track. In Veere I camped on a mini-camping after cycling 105 km and falling from my bike because of wrong judgment. Not the best thing to do when you are on your own, but I kept my cool, was okay and got back on the bike.
The first night camping was a bit exciting and scary; a lot of space in the tent and new sounds outside. To treat myself I went to eat a pancake and went to bed early. The next day was tough against the wind and with clouds. I had some beautiful parts along the coast of one of the peninsula’s and at the end of the day the Kalmthoutse Heide was very nice to bike through. I arrived at the house of the family where I would stay and set up camp in the backyard. They said the door would be open, but I couldn’t figure out which one and my stove didn’t work. Luckily they came home and I could use the kitchen. In the night I was inspired by the Nocturn of the Cassentree because of monument day. I had some nice time chatting with the family and had a late start the next day. But it was very nice to have some good company!
In the meanwhile I had contact with my friend Renske and arranged that I could stay with her. So after leaving Kalmthout at 11:30 I had 80 kilometers to go to get to Biezenmortel. The highlights of the day were the ‘landloperskolonie’ and Landgoed van Gorp, where I had a lot of kilometers of off-road through lovely forest. It was nice staying with familiar people and being at the lovely farm next to the Loonse & Drunense Duinen.
Two more days to go and the weather forecast was looking grim. Luckily I had the wind in the back. I treated myself to a nice lunch in Tiel. My route went fast and I was in Culemborg around 15:30 after riding along multiple rivers. Here I stayed at a unique Warmshowers host in the ecovillage. I got a tour around the village, saw the vegetable farm, the diverse houses (wooden and with solarpanels and unique warming systems), saw greenhouse houses and community gardens. I had interesting conversations with my hosts and was welcomed inside to stay in the guest bedroom. It was pooring with rain so I didn’t say no to that.
My final day started with a nice breakfast so I could head home. The weather was rainy and the wind was in my face. It was a route that I had taken before and was not so interesting. Also my moral let me down a bit and at one point I was stuck on a road where I didn’t want to be. But after just biking on I arrived on the outskirts of Rotterdam and knew I was almost back home again. And being proud of my accomplishment I pushed the last kilometers to get home.
It was a nice adventure of around 440 km and actually quite easy doing it by myself. During the day I was busy with biking and eating and in the evening a lot of time was spent with my hosts and friends. So all in all it was a successful trip and it made me more confident about the journey that we are planning!