Nettetal – a ride round the quiet lanes (Saturday 11 August)

The weather is great here in Nettetal and I fancied going out for a bit of a faster ride (without the dog). After I had my lunch and a cup of tea I gathered together my cycling stuff and Poppy clearly looked like she wanted to come. I had to shut her in the apartment as I closed the door and I hoped that she wouldn’t start howling.

All was quiet as I started unlocking my trike. I also removed the front mudguards as it’s nice and dry and they annoy me with their rattling. I faffed for a few minutes generally and then was ready to go – at which point Poppy started barking. I decided to wheel the bike just out of sight from the door so Poppy thought I had left and see what happened.

What happened is she continued to bark on and off, with a few little howls thrown in for variety. I had listened for about five minutes and we tended to have 30 seconds of barking followed by 30 seconds of silence. A neighbour came out and said that she could hear Poppy barking but that she had been quiet yesterday when I was out. She didn’t appear to mind and went back into her house. There was another neighbour gardening and she said to me that I needed to make the most of the sunny weather and that the dog would probably go to sleep soon. I waited another minute, by which point all seemed to be quiet. I think Poppy was responding more to other dogs barking rather than doing it herself out of annoyance but I didn’t want her to irritate the neighbours.

Of course, five minutes into my ride I realised I should have put the radio on for her in the apartment so that she couldn’t hear as much outside noise. D’oh!

Anyway, today I decided to follow a route that I had downloaded from GPSies again.

I started off heading westwards on the now-well-travelled route across the De Witt See and into Busch, then crossing the main road and cycling on a long, straight road past some kind of bush and tree nursery. They seem to have been practising their topiary – I felt like I was cycling through lines and lines of topiary chessmen or something!

I then started passing fields of various crops including lots of onions, spring onions and what I think here are leeks, with Leuth church in the background.

From there I carried on north-ish through some dense forest. The quality of the path was absolutely excellent, mostly very smooth tarmac with good signage. I was about 200 metres from the border with Holland, going parallel to it at this point, although I didn’t cross the border on this trip.

I saw one of the towers that are often to be find in German woodland – I don’t know what it is – anyone have any ideas?

I crossed the B221 again (Geldrische Straße) and then I recognised the road I had taken previously on my trip towards Venlo, turning off this to go round the Poelvennsee, then heading up again to Wolfsee and turning more easterly – into quite a strong headwind.

I’d had about four miles going through the forest and it was rather nice and quite cool in this weather too. I continued on, now out in the open, enjoying the vistas and the smooth tarmac.

I saw a field of geese:

And pootled on, heading eastwards into a bit of wind. The views were great, with lots of farmers out harvesting grass and straw. I was overtaken several times by tractors carrying bales of hay.

I then turned off into the village of Mariendonk which doesn’t sound very German, rather more Dutch. It had a church with what looked like a monastery attached but I’m not sure if it is. This is a photo of the church tower.

Now I turned south, riding once again along quiet lanes with a good quality tarmac and lots of bicycle signage – no real chance of getting lost. I went through Ziegelheide and then Klixdorf before finally turning westwards and enjoying a tailwind. I seemed to zoom from this point onwards and soon found myself in Grefrath.

Something is clearly going on in Grefrath this weekend as lots of the streets were decorated.

I initially thought they’d done some rather weird tree planting but soon realised that these were in fact tree boughs which were fixed to some metal stands in the kerb and had silk flowers wound onto some of the branches.

The first ones I saw were all red and white, with some red and white bunting around some houses, but as I cycled through Grefrath centre (and saw various mobile food stalls and other stuff denoting an ‘event’) the colour scheme changed to yellow and white.

I may have to go back tomorrow and see what’s going on!

At this point I deviated from the downloaded GPS route as I could see what looked like a brand new cycle path which was heading in the direction in which I needed to go, towards Lobberich.

Looking at the map I think this is a former railway line as it’s very straight, very smooth and built on quite a lot of banking to raise it up above the surrounding fields (which I don’t think people would bother doing for a cycle path!) Whatever, it was lovely and smooth and fast – except I had to climb quite a hill for the first mile or so. I then got the corresponding downhill afterwards so didn’t mind.

This joined up with the path that I take to the supermarket in Lobberich so I realised where I was and nipped back along there.

This was a lovely ride and I hope to have a chance to do it again, perhaps going the other way round (for a change of scenery!)

Total distance: 24.10 miles
Moving time: 1 hour 59 minutes
Average speed: 12.2mph
Average heart rate: 126
Maximum heart rate: 168
Calories burned: 802

When I got back I parked the trike up the road a bit (without making any noise), then crept towards the apartment. No sound of barking. I crept up the stairs (difficult on metal stairs with cycling sandals with SPD cleats on) but made no noise and still couldn’t hear any barking or howling or whining. I got to the front door and peered through the glass – no sign of Poppy. I knocked – nothing. I knocked louder, called “Poppy” through the door and then heard the patter of tiny paws. She came down the stairs so had clearly been upstairs asleep. This is encouraging – she clearly wasn’t too traumatised that I have been out for two hours.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the WiFi arrangement. It originally lived under the kitchen cupboards but the signal wasn’t working at all well. In the end the landlord put it on the draining board to test it and it started working better, so we left it there.

However it has now been moved to a new location, near the front door, and it seems to be working much better there. I think it was struggling to get the signal through the concrete and insulation of the building (this building is only one year old so it’s probably got mega insulation).

This evening I decided to take Poppy for a longer walk so we walked into Lobberich along the cycle/walking path past fields of cut hay. This is the view of Sassenfeld – it’s lovely!

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