I have to get into some serious training on the bike. May 2010 in the Netherlands has been officially designated “Cycling Month”. This seems like overkill in a land where already 50% of travel is reputedly done on two wheels, but the tourist office is trying to encourage even more of us to get pedalling more often…and faster.
On May 8-10 Amsterdam will go crazy as the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) begins here with a few laps of the town and its surroundings, then heads south to Middelburg. It’s naturally ridiculous that a country that has yet to discover the rudiments of decent coffee making can be considered an honorary part of Italy, but money talks, and legs of the Giro are for sale. 7,500 serious Dutch fanatics can race the first two stages of the route after the big boys and their entourages have sped past. Even the amateur division is way out of my class, so I’ll find myself a vantage point by the route and call out “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” in the unlikely event that I can recognise Cadel Evans in the fraction of a second it will take him to pass me.
My intended personal contribution to the mania will be to visit the bike museum in Nijmegen, and maybe ride the ‘Classico Boretti’. Some people will be treating this 50-125 course as a race, but I’ll be happy just to get around it without falling over and bringing down the peleton in a tangled heap. I won’t have a team leader, support vehicle or ear plug, but if I get a flat tyre, I’ll have a puncture kit, and I’ll know how to fix it myself.