I’ve just ridden across France, up the Alps and then the whole length of New Zealand. It only took me a couple of weeks and I hardly raised a sweat. Because I did it by reading.
My own cycling recently has been limited to gentle rides to the rehearsal room.
I’ve been pleasantly tied up working on a couple of new theatre shows. You’ll doubtless hear more about them on this blog as the time to buy tickets approaches.
In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying reading about two other people’s cycling feats and had the pleasure of meeting the writers. Continue reading
Halse smokehouse. So where’s the smoke?
The Quintin Lake photo that inspired this week’s challenge made me think immediately of the shots I took when Mevrouw T and I cycled around Bornholm Island, Denmark.
It’s an island with a rocky, wild, windswept coastline, but every man-made element appears to have been meticulously designed.
In my original post about Bornholm I wrote about the colours, though I could just as well have focussed on the shapes. Continue reading
The barge, ‘Holland’, and its intrepid crew getting ready for a great day’s riding.
As I’m going to be chained to a desk and a computer for the next few weeks, I’ll take the chance to look back on some of the highlights of the travel year to date.
Our time in Holland started with a great little trip by barge and bike though the classic Dutch countryside…
For forty years, the grimy little barge Germa carried sand around Dutch canals. Then someone decided that carrying tourists would be more fun, and perhaps more lucrative too. So in the 1960s Germa was given a total makeover, with guest cabins built inside and a coat of cheerful paint outside. They changed Germa’s name too, to the more appealing Holland.
Now proud skipper John and cycling guide Marcel lead people on leisurely canal cruises, along the way taking their guests on bikes, to pedal round those Dutch icons – tulips, clogs, windmills and cheese. Continue reading
Distance runner Craig Mottram gets cycling tips from Simon Gerrans.
I try not to let Facebook know everything about me, but somehow it has found out about my interest in cycling.
So every time I visit I get a sponsored pop-up ad telling me about the ‘Alpine Ascent Challenge’. It intrigued me enough to click on it. I was inspired.
I have keen cycling friends in Holland who challenge themselves by riding the mountain stages of the Tour de France. Mont Ventoux, Col de Madeleine and ‘the assassin’, the climb up the Col de Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, attract thousands of amateurs every year. They’re not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed, but I cherish the hope that some time in the not-too-distant future I’ll put in the training hours/days/weeks and have a crack at one of them.
I didn’t know there were rides in Australia as tough as the European classics for those who want to give their legs and lungs a serious workout. Continue reading
The long and windy road, and nothing else between Emmen and Roswinkel.
We arranged a final (for this year) farewell family gathering in a village in Drenthe, and my brother-in-law Hans suggested riding the bikes would be the best way to get there. That suited me fine. Drenthe is a super cycling destination.
Drenthe, in the north of the Netherlands on the German border, does not offer a lot of organised entertainment. They make some fuss about Kabouterland (‘Gnome Land’) though those of us over five find it a bit childish. It’s in the village of Exloo, which English speakers think is an amusing place name, but that’s where the fun ends.
Yet Drenthe is a very popular holiday destination for Dutch people. The main reason is that the cycling is brilliant – thousands of kilometres of quiet, flat, well-surfaced country roads and bike paths, through fields and forests, past thatched farmhouses and pretty villages. Continue reading
The replica of the Batavia, and Antony Gormley’s Exposure
I feel some sympathy for those who planned Lelystad. Damming the sea and creating 1400 square kilometres of dry land is hard enough; building a brand new town that people will love is even harder.
The city fathers of Lelystad have been trying their best, but people from longer established parts of the Netherlands still sneer at the place. It has some smart modern architecture, the New Land Museum, a replica of the ship Batavia and some interesting public art but where’s the soul? Where’s the atmosphere? Continue reading