Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Loop Day...

Today we did a loop ride, starting and ending at our hotel in Sint Nicolaaga. Our tour leader, Jan had arranged for a visit to the maritime museum in the town called Sneek (pronounced Snake) in the town where he grew up. The museum also included materials about life in Sneed in the 1800's, including winter life.

Just as we were getting ready to leave for lunch, a downpour started so we all hung out in the museum's lobby drinking coffee until it blew over. Then it was time for heading out to lunch that was held at a local community center just a couple of kilometers away. As we getting ready to leave the rain started to come down in buckets again.

We were fortunate in that the rain passed quickly and we were soon on our way. The return trip brushed the parameter of Sneek and went through some of the residential sections of the town before heading out to the fields then looping around a couple of lakes. The wind had picked up and at times we were heading into some brisk headwinds. As we started to turn south and then west, the headwinds turned into friendly tail winds pushing us along.

With about 20 km (12 mile) to go, we spied the town of Heeg and decided that ice cream would be in order. We found a shaded cafe in town and enjoyed some sundaes be for finishing up the ride and getting back to the hotel before showering up before dinner.

link to photos, click here

All in all, a very nice day to be on the bike

Happy Riding,

Brian



Monday, July 30, 2018

Second day on the bike....

We're getting the morning routine down a bit better. Had great breakfast before the ride briefing. Today we headed further north to cross the Afsluitdijk. A huge 20 mile long dike that allows motor traffic and bikes to cross over the dike.

The ride north started under gray skies and about 72 degrees temperatures, just about right for biking. The route was along tree lined bike paths with a gentle tailwind pushing us along at a nice clip. At 10, about 90 minutes into the ride it was time for coffee. After about 30 minutes it was time to push on to lunch. The picnic lunch was located on the dike almost mid way across.

I'm not sure how long we were at lunch, perhaps 45 minutes or so, before we headed out for the last halve of the ride. Once were were back on land, the task was to find ice cream. Yea, breakfast, coffee, lunch, ice cream that's the that ticket, the right elements for a good ride. The final push from the ice cream stop was in full sun and a bit of a headwind as well, but you're near the end of the ride and more traffic circles to navigate, cute neighborhoods to cruise through and a brief ferry ride before the hotel.  We arrive close to 4 PM. Time enough for a shower, blogging and now time for a beer before dinner. Oh this is what a call a vacation!!

click here for photos


Sunday, July 29, 2018

First day on the road...

We had to hustle to get on the road this morning even though it was fairly late start at 8:30 AM. Had repack, get your breakfast, load the baggage van and make final adjustments to the bikes.

I'm renting a bike, so that final critical seat adjustment were required. The bike routing is much more sophisticated than in the past where we would all get route sheets to follow hope for the best. This trip everything is also electronic. Tiny little GPS receivers with maps and routes the that beep at you on all the turns and buzz you when you go off course. Most of the units are various models of Garmins and a couple of units from Wahoo.

In addition, there is a smartphone system called "ridewithgps" that allow you to turn your phone into a GPS bike device as well. The nifty feature of "ridewithgps" is that it will call out the routes as you ride through your headphones. I used both devices today. The Garmin on the handle bars and the smartphone tucked into my back pocket with the headphone snaking up to my ears. For the first day, it worked out ok. I've also helped several others get their units set up as well.

The Ride

Today was a ride that headed a bit south then east as we left Amsterdam. Some this on bike paths that ran beside the road and many times paths that headed out across the fields. The dutch have put a lot of effort to make sure that bike travel is practical and safe with special bike routes, signs and traffic lights.

In contrast to the recent heatwave, today was a bit overcast and cooler. I don't remember the exact temperature, but it was likely in the 70's most of the day. The day was also pretty breezy with headwind early in the the ride turning into tail winds as the day progressed.

Jan the trip leader lives outside of Amsterdam and arranged for us to picnic at his waterside house. The picnic is typical items to keep you going for the final 1/2 of the ride, sandwich fixings and drinks. I made a couple of peanut and butter sandwiches.

The final push into the hotel was almost all tailwinds with some sky threatening to pour at any moment, but out luck held as it spit on us a bit but never developed into full downpour.

The hotel is very upscale and even has a gambling casino. After a great dinner it was time to get ready for tomorrow.

Click here for daily ride photos




Saturday, July 28, 2018

Arrived safely Thursday and toured Amsterdam Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This evening (Saturday) the entire group of riders, about 40 of us, headed out to dinner at local restaurant for a good meal and a ride briefing. Jan out lined the ride in detail, giving a rundown on the local traffic markers and riding customs of the Netherlands.

Tomorrow's ride is a bit over 66 miles (107 km). The temperatures have been record breaking the past couple of days with one day hovering at 99 degrees F, which if unheard of in the Netherlands. With some showers today, perhaps the heat has broken. The highs for tomorrow are predicted to be about 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

Happy riding,

Brian

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Getting Ready

Last minute preparation before I get on the plane. almost fully packed. Just gotta throw my tooth brush in the bag before heading to he airport. The flight is on KLM, direct from LAX at 1:30 PM to the Netherlands with an estimated arrival time of 9AM Thursday. The flight will be on a 747. Expect one or two movies then just snooze until arrival.

The trip blog will have daily description of each day, a GPS route and links to photos.

Have fun.

Brian