Category Archives: Cycle touring

ABOUT THESE UGLY, NOISY WINDMILLS…

A Dutch wind farm. 'Too noisy,' says Mr Abbott. He must have extremely acute hearing.

A Dutch wind farm. ‘Too noisy,’ says Mr Abbott, who must have extremely sensitive hearing.

Dear Mr Abbott (Prime Minister of Australia) and Mr Hockey (Australian Treasurer),

I’m following your pronouncements online while spending some time in Holland, and I understand that neither of you like windmills. They’re ‘visually appalling’ according to you, Mr Abbott, and ‘utterly offensive’ in your opinion, Mr Hockey.

I read that your government has gone so far as to order the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to cease funding new wind farms.

You may be surprised to hear that many people over this side of the world seem to enjoy them. Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Holland

THE BIESBOSCH, HOLLAND – does this tale ring alarm bells?

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields...

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…

Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.

But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.

Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

AMSTERDAM TO HAARLEM – with bike and smartphone

Bring it on! Trucks and planes are no bother.   I have my own cycle path.

Bring it on! Trucks and planes will not bother me. I have my own cycle path.

The joys of living in Amsterdam. It’s a fine day, I need some exercise and I have the afternoon free. One of the most beautiful small towns in the world is an hour away by bike.

I don’t need a helmet, I’m not wearing lycra and this time I’m not even taking a camera. The phone in my pocket will do the job. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Amsterdam, Cycle touring, Cycling

RIDING NORTH – from Amsterdam to Hoorn

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!


A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.

There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

GO WITH THE FLOW – cycling by the Danube

It's one of Europe's most popular cycling routes - hundreds of kilometres of safe, car-free bike path.

It’s one of Europe’s most popular cycling routes – on safe, car-free bike path.

We cyclists hate stopping. When you stop pedalling a bike, it starts to wobble, then topples over. It takes far more effort to get a bike moving than it does to keep it rolling along at a steady speed.

That’s why cyclists run red lights and ring angry bells at pedestrians blocking their bike path. It’s also why, when enlightened planners lay several hundred kilometres of flat, smooth, wide, almost uninterrupted bike path along the iconic Danube River, we come in droves to roll along it. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Austria, Cycle touring, Cycling

THE BEAUTIFUL DANUBE – though it’s not really blue

I can't remember the name of this village...just one of so many.

I can’t remember the name of this village…just one of so many. Could look it up, of course, but it’s on the other side of the river. Just admire it instead.


I’m cycling along the Danube this week, doing Utracks’ Blue Danube Cycle adventure.

It’s almost the end of the season, so the Danube has turned a dullish greeny-grey; other things around it are still colourful.

Here’s a selection of my best shots so far… Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling

ITALY BY BIKE – quietly adventurous

Cycling in Italy doesn't have to be tough.

Cycling in Italy doesn’t have to be tough. On Lido it’s quite relaxing.

We hadn’t planned to ride bikes on this trip to Italy, but once we started we wished we hadn’t waited so long before taking to the saddle.

We’re not talking major excursions here, no lycra-clad slogging up the big climbs of the Giro d’Italia; just a convenient way to get around in Verona and a pleasant day’s escape from the madding crowd in Venice. If we can do it, anyone can. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Italy