Not everything on my long distance bike tour was fantastic. That’s why I’m cherry picking the best on cycle route Utrecht in this post. I got on the train to Woerden and felt the adrenaline running through my veins again. I was getting ready and looking forward to the bike trip which was feeling more like a cycle holiday through the Netherlands.
I have to admit that I got scared the morning of the bike ride from Woerden to Nijkerk. Why was I doing this? What did I want to prove? What if the cycling distance was too long? I could still cycle back from Woerden to my home town near The Hague now. It was quite a ride, but doable in one day. I talked to my partner. He said I should go for it. He would be there for me in case something would happen. Then I convinced myself. This would be the only week the weather in the Netherlands was this good. I wanted to continue the long distance cycle tour, just to show myself I could do what others could.I had googled to see if there were any farms or fruit gardens enroute and was surprised to find my dream stop in Haarzuilens. My bike was patiently waiting for me at the Woerden train station. I jumped on my bike and in a blink of the eye I was in the village of my dreams.
Cherry picking the best on cycle route Utrecht region
Strangely enough, the reason why Haarzuilens became the city of my dreams has little to do with the De Haar castle. Amazing sight , huge gardens, beautiful castle and very attractive cycle routes around it, but not the reason why I fell in love with the town. At the very entrance of the village there was a farmershop which sold cherries. And the best thing was, this was part of the Oosterom kersen enterprise. The low-stemmed cherry trees where right here in this garden and a bit further down the lane were the standard or tall cherry trees. I bought 500 grams of cherries in the farmershop in Breudijk and promised the owner they would be finished by the time I reached the other cherry stall in the Thematerweg.
Cherries, castles & cycling stops
Between the two cherry shops is De Haar castle. There I met an Australian couple. They asked if I wanted them to take a picture of me, my bike & the castle. I offered them a cherry and that’s how the conversation got started. His bike was from a friend, he said. An IKEA bike with which he did a bike-and-barge tour through Belgium and the Netherlands. The Dutch cycling infrastructure was amazing. Couldn’t compare it with the one in Australia. If I ever planned a trip to Australia, it was best to rent a car. Cycle holidays down under weren’t very usual, but I should go there anyway. Near Sydney were some pretty awesome beaches.
Family friendly farmers shops, goat farm & cherry orchard
In Haarzuilens village there was farmershop De Haarse gaard where I bought apples & pears. Difficult to decide as they had at least 5 different types, all from their own fruittrees. Further down the lane was the cherry stall with their beautiful garden full of cherry trees. And, on this same Thematerweg was Geertjes Hoeve, a spacious goat farm. Can you imagine how happy I was to find these three together in one lane?
Along the river Vecht is a steady cycle lane, beautifully asphalted. I guessed it was time for a little sprint. So I put some more force on the pedals to gain speed and immediately felt light and fast. After a while I heard a voice behind me: “keep up the nice speed”. I turned my head and looked into the face of a smiling cyclist. With the lane being nice and wide we are able to cycle side by side. “Today’s destination is Nijkerk”I told him and explained that the final destination is Zwolle. As if I’ve given him a green light he enthusiastically started telling me about all the cycle routes in that direction. “Pass the castle”, he said. “Stop at Laage Vuursche and eat a pancake”.
From Utrecht-Noord to Laage Vuursche – where I stopped for a pancake at De Vuursche Boer– to Baarn the route is just amazing. Polders and meadows are replaced by lush green forests where a gentle summer breeze filled with that unique pineapple, moss and honeysuckle scent fills all your pores.
Lost in a river of Dutch cycle junctions
After Baarn it became messy. The cycle junction signs ( knooppunten) disappear, the typical Dutch white-red cycle route signs were nowhere to be seen and I was desperately finding a way to cross the river Eem.
Then a cute cycling couple passed by. A full list of numbers ( the cycle junction numbers) stuck on her handlebars. I ask edthem for directions and they said they weren’t from the area. – Well, duh, could have guessed that huge paper on her handlebars, couldn’t I?- So I asked them which cycle junction number they were following and that’s how we got to the other side of the river. From there a long, windy and quite boring road led to Nijkerk where I reached the train station at 17:10. Thirsty. The train would leave in another 25 minutes. My ass felt sore, my legs tingling of exhaustion. The shop for drinks and snacks was closed. I opened my bike bag, sat on the steps to the train platform and ate some cherries. It had been a long, but fantastic day of my cycle holiday through the Netherlands. Was already looking forward to the next leg on my long distance cycling route: Nijkerk – Zwolle.