Was this a Holland cycle holiday? A long distance bike tour? A cycling adventure? I’m not quite sure how to call my 6 day journey by bike from Rijswijk (The Hague) to Zwolle & Lunteren. It was a challenge, something I had wanted to do for a long time, but somehow didn’t dare. Would I be able to pull it off? Cycle 200 kilometre on my regular city bike all alone? What if something would happen enroute? I was clearly waiting for a sign. Thé sign.
The foreign Velo-citizens who inspired me
The sign came during Velocity, the conference on cycling, cycles, cyclists – where else?-. I met American, English, Belgian who covered amazing distances by bike with the Velocity conference in Nijmegen as final destination. They told me what they saw on their bike ride; the brass bands of the small town communities, the typical Dutch traditional festivals, the new cycle and pedestrian bridge in Utrecht. They were so relaxed, made a long distance cycle tour seem so easy. All my ‘what ifs’ disappeared in thin air.
Long distance bike tour Netherlands
The week after, adrenaline ran through my veins. I wanted to make a long distance bike tour. At that very moment. If I would wait, I would postpone and everyone knows what happens if you postpone things. The weather was fantastic, for a full week. High temperatures, lots of sun. Quite exceptional for the Netherlands. Plus, I already had a destination: Zwolle. I had to be in the Hanseatic city on Friday for an inspiration day for event managers organised by Congresregio Zwolle. This was thé moment. The light for my longest cycle tour turned green!
The Dutch cycle adventure begins
The cycle route from Rijswijk to Gouda was familiar and a piece of cake. Or should I say: piece of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and loads of cherries? Let me explain. Around the Rottemeren, the lakes near Rotterdam, you’ll find greenhouses growing fruit & vegetables. Several greenhouses have placed vending machines in front of their doors. This way you can buy delicious cherries & strawberries and fresh cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes enroute for a great picnic.
Wake me up for a local product
You can wake me up in the middle of the night for a visit to a miller, a farmer or a fruit/ vegetable grower. The very reason for making the detour via the Rottemeren was to visit the cherry grower Jomajole in Moerkapelle. Passing through the centre of this town I was happily surprised to find a Farmershop selling local cheese, juices, jams, fruit & vegetables. Of course they had cherries, but I already had my mind set on a visit to the cherry farm.
Jomajole is a big greenhouse. To be honest I was expecting a garden full of cherry trees, but once I entered the greenhouse I felt like I was in the garden of Eden. Besides different types of cherries, Jomajole also grows peaches, figs and other fruit. Just looking at all those different fruit trees made my mouth water. So I bought some 500 grams of cherries and had a little picnic.
The cycle route Moerkapelle – Gouda via Waddinxveen is a bit disappointing. I love cycling throught the Dutch countryside and enjoy the silence, but around Waddinxveen are just roads, traffic and lots of noise. Was quite happy to reach Gouda, sit down in a lovely park near the train station and have my favourite stroopwafels. – Sorry, ate them all before I even thought of taking a picture-.
At Gouda train station I parked my bike, hopped into a train back home and smiled. I was already looking forward to the next day.