It was a cold morning in the middle of October and the grass surrounding the bike paths were already frozen. The crystal white colors stood up to orange sunrise which gave us the indication it would become a beautiful and sunny day. This morning was the departure of our final repetition for our Bike Expedition. We planned to do a week-long cycling round-trip in the Netherlands. Mainly to check if our new gear was suitable for our expedition and if our chosen gear was perfectly adjusted to our way of cycling. Since the Netherlands are quite expensive it was also a good test to see if our daily budget of 20 euro’s (sleeping/eating) was calculated well enough.
The plan was to cycle across the ‘’Ijsselmeer’’ followed by the Dutch Wadden Islands and completing the trip by cycling throughout the Frysian Countryside in the North of the Netherlands. This trip would be around 400 kilometers and gave us the opportunity to see some parts of the Netherlands we also hadn’t experienced before.
We started our trip from the city of Genemuiden (Our current hometown) from there we cycled across Kampen to the city of Lelystad which is also the starting point of the Houtrib Dike which lets you cross the Ijsselmeer to Enkhuizen were we tried to stay for the night.
Besides impressive dikes, the Dutch also build a huge artificial island in the middle of the Netherlands which is called ‘’The Zuiderzee Works’’. The whole project is a man-made system of dams and dikes, land reclamation, and water drainage work, in total the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the reclamation of land in the newly enclosed water using polders. Its main purposes are to improve flood protection and create additional land for agriculture.
The American Society of Civil Engineers declared these works as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Sleeping between the Tulips
The first day was a pretty good day for testing, we cycled 95 kilometers on the famous Dutch Dikes besides the sea, with full blasting headwinds the whole route. It was a route containing long endless roads, but it was also very special to cycle along the Zuiderzee Works.
At the falling of the night, we arrived in Enkhuizen, a city in a region famous for the beloved Dutch Tulips. Since we’re living on the budget during the trip, we asked a local farmer if it was possible to sleep in their barn for the night. The friendly farmer and his wife said that we weren’t allowed to sleep in the barn, because it was better to sleep in their canteen. As amazed as we were about the hospitality, we took our bikes and followed the farmer to the canteen. The farmer told us we could use the central heating and we could take some fresh coffee. We were also allowed to cook our dinner inside and we could use the toilet and showers downstairs if needed. While Huub & Liska were already sleeping the minute we entered the canteen. As professional Pet-servants, Annebeth and I started preparing dinner to fill up the calories we burned that day. After a delicious self-cooked dinner and a beer in our bellies, we were sleeping right away after a successful first day of cycling.