OBC Social - Holland and Belgium Bicycle Tour - February 21st

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by Les Humphreys, Fred Geuer, and Dave McAuslan
When: Wed, February 21st, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Where: 78 Lisgar St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0C1, Canada (map)

Going Dutch in Holland & Belgium

Four riders from Almonte and one from Toronto met in May in Delft, in Holland for a 12 day 1000 kilometer self guided tour through Holland and Belgium. Our trip took us east across the Amsterdam hinterland to Woerden, Nijkerk, Zwolle, then, heading south along the Ijessel to Deventer & Arnhem, the Waal to Nijmegen,and the Maas toVenlo and Maastricht. After a brief foray into Belgium along the Albert Canal to Geel, returning to Breda in Holland, we split. Three continued on to Rotterdam to finish in Amsterdam, while the remaining two cut back through Belgium to pick up the Gravellines ferry to Britain for the return flight from Gatwick.

We stayed mainly in hotels, some B&B, all booked on the internet by organiser Fred Geuer, with some help from his dutch relatives. We were too late for the tulips but we enjoyed many easy days in warm sunshine along dykes, rivers and canals. We navigated via GPS, aided by cycling maps issued by the dutch automobile association. We gave museums a miss but spent many evenings in town squares enjoying a drink amid the passing parade of pedallers.

 

We paused for a moment of reflexion at the Canadian War Cemetery at Groesbeek before moving on to Venlo. Among the few hills encountered, it was in Valkenberg, above Maastricht where we got blown away. A lone break by a blue rinse lady riding an e-bike in her Sunday best left us gasping in her wake.

One museum we did not miss was the Hotel Courage at Nijmegen. Attached to it there's a bicycle museum. The museum comprised three floors packed choc a bloc with mostly pre-1890 machines including hobby horses, boneshakers and trikes. Some machines of cabinet maker quality, were exquisitely crafted, others, more crudely fashioned of blacksmith origin. The collection featured a wide variety of unique mechanical innovations, too numerous to absorb in a single visit. Hotel Courage also offers rental bikes and scooters to tourists coming off the riverboats moored opposite the hotel.

In a land of helmet deniers, one class of rider stood apart from the utilitarian milieu. We saw many cycling clubs out on the road, all lycra clad, all riding carbon bikes and all wearing helmets. Our paths seldom if ever crossed but we encountered many riders of the utilitarian variety, including one who blew by on a fully enclosed recumbent.

For anyone who's interested in learning more about the trip, Les Humphreys, Fred Geuer and Dave McAuslan will be at the Navy Mess for the Club Social on Wednesday Feb 21st
at 7:30 pm to give a presentation on their experiences.    More Pictures in the club photo gallery

As you already know, the presentation is at the HMCS Bytown Officers' Mess (Naval) CROW'S NEST at 78 Lisgar It begins at 7:30 p.m. 'ish'. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Look for the anchor on the lawn directly across the street from the south entrance of Ottawa City Hall. And, there is a cash bar to boot. Let's hope to see you there. Note: there is limited free parking on the east side of the building. Get there early for a parking spot. DOOR PRIZES will be given out.

George Gonis - OBC Social Director