19 April 2015
Today was not the official first day of the tour but it was the day that I met Joyce and Simon, two of the other SPEZI tour participants, in Venlo and then rode with them back to Kempen.
Here is my track for the day.
This was a ride of 56.28km in total at a very leisurely 13.8 km/h.
I set off from home at 9:30 as the plan was to meet Simon & Joyce at Venlo Railway Station at 11:00.
As A Brit it’s always a weird feeling to cycle across a country’s border, where there is a change of language and culture, without needing a plane or ferry or tunnel.
I arrived a few minutes early and they were already there so after exchanging pleasantries we set off up the hill back to Germany.
We arrived at Hofcafé Alt Bruch (for our lunch/cake stop) at almost exactly midday and Klaus, Claudia and Lara appeared fifteen or so minutes later.
We had cake of course.
Joyce and I shared a Nuss Sahne Kuchen
The waffles had looked so good last week that I had to have them as Afters, as did Claudia, Klaus and Lara (who had had soup for their main course).
It’s not often that five recumbent trikes are all together so I got Lara to take a photo of us all.
Then a passer-by agreed to take a photo of us all including Lara.
We headed off along the Bahnradweg back to Kempen. This is such a wonderful route but it was very busy with other cyclists and dog walkers. At one point a lady in an invalid carriage realised she had overshot where she wanted to go and stopped – right between two pillars that are meant to slow you down. I had to brake sharply to stop running into her (could not go round because of the pillars) and poor Lara, on an upright bike, was not able to brake sharply enough and hit the back of Claudia’s trike. It seemed undamaged though – ICE make ’em strong. Lara’s handlebar had whacked her in the stomach though so she felt a bit under par.
We said goodbye to Klaus, Claudia and Lara in Grefrath and they headed home. We will meet Klaus in Neersen tomorrow morning as we start the tour.
It was good to show Simon and Joyce some of the good cycle routes in the Niederrhein and we were soon in Kempen. They dropped off the bulk of their luggage at their hotel and then came back to my house for some tea and trike fettling.
After that it was time to head back to Kempen. This time I took Penelope and Simon had a go.
And here he is really disappearing off into the distance in true Velomobile style!
In St Hubert we bumped into Hartmut – who then popped in to see us in the restaurant a bit later (I told him where we were going). We had a very good Turkish meal and then I dropped Simon and Joyce back off at their hotel and headed home for last-minute preparations.
Simon, Joyce, Nigel (the fifth member of our little group) and I will meet in Kempen at 9am and head off to Neersen to meet Klaus, from where we will ride to Zons (south of Düsseldorf) as the start of our tour to SPEZI.