NL2018 Day 15: Nuth to Kempen

Saturday 23 June 2018

Here is our planned route for the day:

And here is the actual route we rode:

We slept really well in the very lovely B&B de Pingerhoeve and enjoyed a tasty breakfast.

Our ride today would be just 90km so there was no major rush to get going. We packed the bikes up for the last time and were on our way at 10:15.

We actually stopped after about 200 metres as I had some weird noises at the back of Millie. I had completely rearranged a bag with some spare clothes and a rain Mac when packing everything in this morning so I shuffled that around a bit and the noise stopped. We carried on.

I had noticed from the track that there was a bit of a hill near the beginning of this ride, and it arrived very soon! It was so steep that I had to switch to my granny ring; this is fine, but I find it almost impossible to twist the grip-shift back to change to the big ring. I eventually managed it today but it was so tough I resolved to avoid doing it again. I end up weaving all over the road as I have to use my right hand to change the left hand shifter and so it’s not something I can safely do if there are any cars around.

Very shortly afterwards in the village of Puth there was another big hill. I decided not to change to the granny ring and Klaus very kindly rode just behind and to the side and gave me an occasional push to help me. It was tough going though as it was a long hill.

I stopped at the top for a breather – we could see a long way down to the Maas valley.

Cycling up hills can be hard work (particularly for me), but cycling down is just mega fun. And so was this!

We zoomed down… I ended up sitting at about 65 km/h for a fair distance; I used the brakes slightly to prevent me going much faster as I felt that the front tyres were a bit under inflated and didn’t want to go too fast on them, but Millie was stable and easy to steer. Klaus also had a great experience with Humphrey, finding him rock solid on the fast downhill.

I got a Strava QOM for this downhill as I cycled the 1.1km of this segment at an average of 57.8 km/h. Fun!!

We were slowly getting closer to familiar routes. Our track took us through Sittard which was OK but lots of traffic lights. I was ahead on the cycle path so had the job of trying to reach the button for the traffic lights. This provides a bit of an upper body workout!

After Sittard we headed to Susteren on a fast bit of cycle path. I was finding the cycling easier going today than yesterday and the day before.

After Susteren we continued along and ended up cycling through Echt again. We had ridden through Echt two days before.

As we were riding between Echt and Roermond we spotted a yellow velomobile coming towards us on the cycle path. Lo and behold it was chum Rolf from Schwalmtal. He was on his way to to have some work done on his velomobiel; we also bumped into Rolf when we were at some weeks ago. It is a very small world! We had a short chat but he had to get going as he was being collected from there by car; we will meet up with him soon again no doubt.

We were soon arriving at Roermond, 40km after we set out. We stopped for a cuppa at a cafe in the central market area.

There was a street market on so it was very busy. We were very near to Germany here and there were lots of Germans wandering around, and once again we found that people were tending to touch the velomobiles. We had had two blessed weeks of peace from that with the Dutch who seem to have more respect for others’ property.

We had decided not to have any cake as we wanted to experience some German cake instead. We had decided to do a slightly alternative route back, travelling up into Germany from Swalmen rather than Steijl.

We left Roermond and rode towards Swalmen, then turning onto the road that leads to Germany. This is a long, 9km ride to Brüggen, but the cycle path is smooth and the slight uphill barely registered.

And then we crossed back into Germany. It was a nice feeling, to know that we had cycled all the way around the Netherlands but were on our way home.

In Brüggen we stopped for cake.

Then we headed off and found ourselves round the corner from Ralf’s so popped in to see him and his wife and enjoy another cuppa.

The final stretch from Ralf’s to our house, 20km on smooth German roads, showed that the speed issues that I had with Millie are related to the riding conditions in the Netherlands and the way I become tired with all the stopping and starting. We were cruising at 30 km/h between Grefrath and Kempen and it was great fun. Klaus diverted to the supermarket in Kempen but I rode directly home as I had a bit of a headache and didn’t feel the need to tackle a German supermarket!

It was lovely to be home and greeted by Poppy the dog. The washing machine is now doing its thing and we are enjoying relaxing in our own home whilst watching Germany playing in the World Cup.

Today’s ride was 91km at an average of 21.2 km/h.

Here is the list of all rides on this tour, a total of 1,311km for me, 1,336km for Klaus:

And here is the ‘wheel’ which shows where we have been.

Now we’ve had a couple of weeks of touring in NL, we have a bit more experience of the suitability of our bike choices for touring in our Dutch neighbour country. Klaus and I are both writing an additional post that we will probably publish tomorrow with our thoughts about cycle touring in NL and the velomobiles and other equipment that we chose for it.

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