Summer plans: the North Sea Cycle Route

We are off on May 8th to Europe in May for four months, cycling and visiting.

We’ll spend three months cycling around the North Sea:

North Sea Cycle Route
North Sea Cycle Route

 

Our route will take us through eight countries. We start at The Hague in the Netherlands and head south through Belgium and just into France. Then across the Channel by ferry and up the east coast of England and Scotland. On to Orkney and the Shetlands, then by ferry back to Aberdeen and by air to Bergen, Norway. From Bergen we head south and east, around the coast of Norway to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and back to the Netherlands to finish where we started on a beach just outside The Hague. About 6000km. Then a month of visiting family and friends, and some less ambitious touring.

Three Weeks

Three weeks from now we’ll be in the Netherlands. We’ll start cycling on May 13 with a ride from The Hague to Burgh-Haamstede in Zeeland, south of Rotterdam. It should be an easy and scenic day hopping from island to island in the southwest of the Netherlands. Easy unless there is a headwind. Or very easy if there is a tailwind. By the North Sea, you never know.

We were out for a ride today. Part of it was near the Vancouver airport, flat and near the ocean. A strong headwind on the way out to the sea and a fast ride back. A crosswind on the bridge back to the city. Good practice.

IMG_1108-1That’s an iPhone selfie of Inge at our destination today. Fluorescent green is our colour this year. We didn’t need new cycle clothing, but this colour is so visible. At times we’ll be cycling in poor weather and we want to be seen by drivers.

We’re looking forward to the trip.

The North Sea Cycle Route in context

Eurovelo routes

Our route this summer, North Sea Cycle Route, is also know as the EuroVelo 12. It is one of 14 long-distance cycling routes established by the EU and the European Cycling Federation. The network totals about 70,000km. Click on the map to see it on the EuroVelo site and check out the EV home page for more information about the routes.

130613_NEX6_01197-2Two years ago we followed part of the EV 6 along the Danube from Vienna to Ulm. (Our new header photo was taken somewhere in Austria on that trip.)

We’d like to go back to do all the EV 6, from Nantes in France to the Black Sea and on to Istanbul. The EV 8 along the Mediterranean is also inspiring.

In Europe

We arrived at Schipol Airport on Saturday. The passport control officer asked me only one question: “Why are you here?” I thought “Wow. The Dutch ask the big questions. I’m still trying to answer that one.” But I quickly realized she wanted to know the purpose of my visit. I replied “Vacation.” She stamped my passport and wished me a pleasant stay.

We had planned to cycle the 60km to The Hague, but the wind was blowing at 50kmph from the southwest, the landing was exciting, the plane shook while sitting at the jetway, and it probably would have taken six hours to get there. We were grateful for a ride from our friends Cora and Gerard.

Sunday we came by train to Deventer to see family. The weather is warm and sunny. Tuesday we’ll head back to The Hague and Wednesday we’ll start cycling.

The Hague to Bruges, days 1 to 3

BIRU-WP-20150513T085344GMT-0200.jpgTwo days of cycling and today in Bruges seeing the town.

Our first day was almost too good…perfect weather and good cycling through dunes, forest, and pretty towns, mostly on bike paths. About 84km to Burgh Haamstede, a small town in Zeeland. We stayed in a B and B and slept well.

Yesterday, our second day was 105 km to Bruges in Belgium. Again good cycling, good weather in the first part of the day, but headwinds and rain in the afternoon. We arrived at the home of our friends Bob and Joan tired, wet, and happy not to have to do anythng more than eat a wonderful dinner of Dover sole and sleep.

Today Bob took us on a walkng tour of Bruges. Historic, pretty and different, like a blend of Holland and France.

A busy three days and a very good start.