Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 24, 2016

A week of summer!!

We have had a week of warm sunny – for the most part – weather and I was able to make the most of it riding 142 miles over the course of the week. It was sad to see more fly tipping along near the river.

On Tuesday, I had booked the day off work to attend a lecture on Japanese textiles at the  sister quilt group I attend. Well, instead of taking the car , I got in Speedy, my Dahon folder, and rode the 8 miles across to Yarm. I really enjoyed the morning learning about Japan the customs associated with kimono and other textiles. The Japanese didn’t waste anything in the past, but now with the influence of the Western throw away culture, things are changing. Old kimono, that at one time were precious and passed down from one generation to another, are being discarded.

Anyway, after the talk was finished , DH rode across to meet me. We had expected to ride further but the day had really heated up and the temperature was above 30C which is unheard of for this part of the world. So we headed back home along the river, glad to have a cool shower when we got in.

Early morning rides we fairly short , but again on Thursday, we took the opportunity to ride. It was marginally cooler and made for pleasant riding up to Hurworth Burn.


We then turned and ran down into Hartlepool.  The visibility was good and we could see right across the bay to Saltburn and beyond.

We stopped to have a late lunch  the bus shelters at Seaton Carew. It was more ro keep out of the sun , than our usual sheltering from rain or wind. Makes such a pleasant change.

Remember I told you about these two last week?


Well  they made it to Guisborough but emailed to say they were probably going to take a train. I phoned them at their hotel to say they had done the hilliest parts and it was a shame not to cycle to Durham and we offered to guide them. So on Saturday, I took my car and we loaded their Bike Friday folding cycles into my car and brought them into the Boro to avoid the fast dual carriageway. it is such a shame that a perfectly good track cannot be used because British Rail have blocked people from crossing the line to come out in Nunthorpe , thus avoiding the fast roadway.

Watching them reassemble the Bike Fridays, I was glad to have chosen a Dahon Speed , as the folding is much simpler and more compact and does not require the chain to be put back into place.

So we acted as travel guides, taking them over the Newport Bridge, pointing out the Transporter Bridge and cycling along the track at the side of the A19. Once in Norton we cycled along Junction Road and then up to Thorpe Thewles and up the Castle Eden Walkway to Hurworth Burn. DH had brought a flask filled with ice cubes which we all used to cool our drinks with. R and H were a bit  impressed and began to realise we had done a lot of cycle touring. DH said we had learned by our mistakes over the years and have acquired a lot of skills.

So off again, we cycled along to Shotton Colliery and  then took them via the roads to Haswell where we picked up Route 14. This goes via a quite road to Haswell Plough and then follows mostly down hill into Durham.

Being our usual frugal selves , we had called to the supermarket and bought bread and cheese and chicken and oranges to have a picnic lunch alfresco. We stopped in a tiny place marked as Little Town on the maps and on the corner there is a beautifully kept seat surrounded by well kept flower beds. We stopped here 6 miles from Durham and ate lunch. R and H said they were sure they would be fine following the route into Durham and it would save us a long climb out , so we said our goodbyes. I do hope we can cycle together again at some point in the future. We turned for home retracing mostly the same way and arrived home just after 5.00pm . Awaiting us was an email to say they were safely at their hotel in the centre of Durham and thanking us for a mostly traffic free ride. A wonderful week

I am reminded of the scripture that says when we are in the service of our fellowmen, we are in the service of God. Glad to have been of service this week.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 16, 2016

Post Tour Riding

On our return , we had a family funeral to attend and it was good to see both my brothers. One of  SIL’s had seen this on the internet and bought it for me as a gift as she thought I deserved it after all the rain.20160701_164325198_iOS So often, after our summer trips, I don’t ride for a few weeks but not this time. I haven’t ridden everyday , but nearly. In the two and a bit weeks I have managed 170 miles which I am very pleased with.

My lovely cycling friend C , has a field and wood just outside of Yarm and she decided to have a summer festival. It was such a shame that the weather wasn’t too good, but we all enjoyed ourselves. All morning, it rained heavily and we had a job to do  but by the afternoon, we decided we had to make the effort to go. So we were going to use folding bikes and drive part way , but when we were ready , the sun came out briefly and we cycled all the way.

C had borrowed a “smoothie” bike and children used it and played with play  bows and arrows and ran about in the woods having a wonderful time .

Later in the day they had a bonfire and fireworks but we couldn’t stay for that part but there was  dancing in the rain too.


The rest of last week, I got out  and was surprised to see so may daisies growing  along the beck side.


 When we rode through Albert Park, we saw the swan still sitting  on her nest and I remarked to DH, that I wondered how long it would be before she abandoned it as the egg must have been infertile. Sad to say, the very next day , she left the nest and her single egg. Such a shame the her other eggs were stolen early in the spring.


The weather started to improve  steadily as the week progressed but there were heavy down pours of rain but today dawned fair with no prospect of rain in the forecast. Yiphee!!!

So , up early and made food to take with us and we were off. Wind was from the west so that was the direction of initial travel. So we headed across to Darlington and then stopped to eat breakfast in the sunshine in the village of Cleasby.

IMG_20160716_100728 [314712]

 We  were surprised to see so many club riders out and about and I was thrilled to see some youngsters being encouraged by hard riding roadies.

We climbed up to Manfield and then to Eppleby before riding through Hutton Magna and on to Whorlton. The road descends to the river Tees and I stopped to take a few photos of the place where we used to take the children to play in the river.

I was delighted in myself , as I rode up the twisting climb into the village and then up  the hill to cross the A67 and down to Little Newsham and up through South Cleatlam. I was most surprised to see a lama in a field here but I couldn’t get a photo of it. I was too busy getting up the hill!!

Then we rode on to Staindrop which has so many benches to choose from and we sat here to have lunch. I noticed a couple of folding bikes that appeared to be loaded for touring, so being the nosey, well OK, inquisitive person I am, we went to chat with them. They are R and H who have come from the USA to cycle here. Unfortunately, they have pre-booked accommodation and believing England to be flat  are cycling to Barnard Castle, Asygarth, Ripon , Goathland, Guisbrough and then up to Durham. We talked about routes and gave them advice as most of the roads they have chosen initially were major A roads including the A19 which is now banned to cyclists. So we have given them our phone number and instructions to ring us when nearing Middlesbrough so we can help them through.


We returned to Darlington via Langton and Summerhouse and I called in to the fabric shop in the indoor market. I had to get a couple of metres as I am trying to keep her in business heehee! Then it was the ride back home. I had hoped to get the full route on Viewranger app but I ran out of power. Still I will insert what I have so you get the general route. We actually rode 65 miles today so I feel good, if a little tired.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 14, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Home

We had a very comfortable night in the trekker hut and we left the site and headed into Brielle  to buy some lunch.

We then headed over to Oostervoorne and had a lovely ice cream as there was warm sunshine. This is one of my favourite photos. \just look at those ice creams. Yummy.


Then we took a leisurely ride across to the port in time to check in for the P&O Pride of Hull ferry back to the UK. We met an older Dutch chap who was also riding a Koga Randonneur, with another type of handlebars, who was going to ride down through the UK calling in to Cambridge before going to one of the channel ports and then riding back to Holland.

On the ferry back , we were again treated with great by staff, DH being recognised by one of the restaurant staff and I was immediately whisked in past another long queue. Really great service.

On  checking the weather forecast, DH persuaded me to phone our son who came down to Hull and picked up me , my bike and all the luggage. DH said he would ride home. Well that was his plan. However, in teeming rain  and having no map  ( or his navigator – ME)  he missed a turning and phoned home at 5.30pm asking for a lift.


He found himself near Helmsley and  after starting to have gear slippage climbing steep hills, he decided it wasn’t a good idea. So I went and picked him up.

My mileage was just short of 700 miles and DH was just over 800 miles for the trip. I am well pleased  with  this . Despite all the wet weather, we had a great time and  laughed  a lot of the time. Enjoying the journey is what this life  is all about .


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 13, 2016

Summer Tour 2016

Monday 27th June 2016

Despite a lovely sunny Sunday, Monday dawned  cool and cloudy with some drizzle but by luck , we managed to get the tent backed away almost dry The other Koga rider was also packing up to head north. He was out for 2 weeks of riding.

The first RET ferry was at 9.00am and we left the site at 8.40am and peddled hard in case we missed the ferry but we didn’t. It was windy and wind socks were blowing horizontal.

As we walked down the gangway, the crew were smoking in the shelter. It was a real pity that this blew into my face resulting in a loss of my voice. They thought I was ill but my Dutch friend here in the UK had kindly written a note of explanation for me. I showed it to them and they were horrified that they had caused it. They were really lovely to us. We appeared to be the only passengers . There was one other but he was in the inside area. We stayed outside that. After the first stop , 2 other cyclists got on but weren’t friendly – they were obvious roadies.                                                                        IMG_0167

The ferry slowed at the sandbanks and we saw 2 seals.


When we got off the ferry, we saw lots of seabirds nesting in the same place as we had seen them last year, near the oil refinery. It never fails to amaze me  just how much nature can exist alongside  big industrial complexes.


We went along to the P&O  office and managed to get our passage brought forward as we needed to get home for a family funeral. They very kindly rearranged our tickets so we could get home a day early and get to the funeral. So in the rain, we peddled into Brielle and I bought a new bell for my bike as my air horn had broken and DH couldn’t  repair it.

We then cycled to the  campsite just outside of Brielle. We were also really lucky to be able to hire the only trekker hut.

This meant we didn’t have to unpack and pitch the tent in the rain and was very  comfortable . It cost 35 euros and that included the cost gas and an electric heater so we could get clothes dry.

26 miles


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 13, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Zoetmeer to Hook of Holland

We attended church with our hosts and family but only stayed for sacrament meeting. There was also a visiting American chap and so P translated for the first part and then another chap took over for the rest of the meeting. I very much enjoyed being a part of our church family in another country.

It was lovely and warm and sunny as we set off cycling once again on LF4 through the Hague and into Scheveningen  where we picked up LF1. We had a bit of a climb up to the old harbour area and sat to have our late lunch.

Setting off again, we were in dunes again and passed through  small village called Monster!!!. Very soon we were at the Hook of Holland  but unfortunately we were too late for the small RET ferry that goes across to Europort.

Nothing for it, turn around and find a campsite. There is a site about a mile outside the town. It has lots of static caravans and when we were pitching the tent, it was a bit noisy but the music soon stopped. Another cycle tourist came in and he also rode a Koga Randonneur. I asked when he had bought it  as the handle bar set uo was different to ours. He wasn’t sure of its age as he got it second hand  .

31 miles cycled.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 10, 2016

Summer Tour 2016- A rest day at last

Well we didn’t get out of bed until 8.00am – wow. Our hosts tend to sleep later and so we didn’t want to disturb them while they caught up on sleep. It also gave me a chance to do our washing.

We  decided to head off to see a few places in Zoetermeer and we cycled past the chapel and go down to see the temple. It is called the Hague temple but as it is in Zoetermeer, that’s what the locals prefer  to call it.



It was cool with a few drops of rain, but it was nice to see the temple. It  has new landscaping being installed  so it isnt looking at its best but it is special to us.

On our return journey  we called into a cycle shop and I bought new elastics for my rear carrier as the old one is becoming perished after about 5 years in all weathers. Continuing on we cycled to Benthuizen to visit an old windmill. It was built in 1793 and has been maintained with the original wooden internal cogs etc. Nowadays, volunteers keep it working and grinding grain into flour which is sold to the public. There is also a confectionary  shop selling traditional  sweets. I bought some liquorice called drop in the Netherlands . Everyone, including me loves the stuff and so I couldn’t resist  buying some – and eating it all. We also went to the little café and  had hot chocolate and biscuits.



Then it was back  to the washing to get it dried. Our hosts and their teenage children were in a ballroom dancing event  so we went off to have dinner in an Asian restaurant. It was really nice but pricey. Still we hadn’t been extravagant all tour.

15 miles



Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 10, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Vinkaveen to Zoetemeer

Friday 24th June 2016

It was a very warm but heavily overcast morning . We knew we didn’t have a very long ride planned and so we had a later start. As it was fairly windy, the tent was in a reasonably dry condition for our onward journey. Indeed , most of the residents of the caravans we up and going to the showers. There were 2 trekker huts on site and these were being cleaned out by the farmers wife , ready for weekend tenants.  She was a very nice lady who talked about her farm and as in others the cows were being fed under cover because of the weather.  The other people on the campsite were only too willing to talk about the news from England and the resignation of the prime minster and the financial markets crashing. Oh joy! just what we needed. Great that I got the extra Euros out , I thought.

We needed to backtrack for a short way but soon started to follow signs to Wilnis and Woerden. Signage was a bit unclear when we got into Wilnis  and we did a short    ” detour”  but soon got back on track along a small canal without any onther people in sight. We were now following LF4b and as we got into Woerden, the rain started falling but after putting on waterproofs it didn’t last too long and by the time we got to Bodengraven , we could take them off.

As we cycled along , we noticed how the types of crops being grown had changed. In this area there were more potatoes and brassicas , whereas further south asparagus was going sold everywhere. One lady told me , it is a short cropping season for asparagus and so when in season they ate it about 4 times a week.

Water levels were very high and we came across a young man operating a large mobile pump that was pumping water away from a market garden and into a canal. We  just had to lift our bikes over – not bothered too much by ‘elf and safety here. Just after here we stopped to picnic and the sun appeared right on time.

We continued along LF4 and then and then after a couple of false starts diverted south of the route into Zoetermeer. We also came across a lifting bridge that was up for large barges to pass by. This interested us as until a few years ago, we had such a bridge in our home town , but as there are no boats going so far upriver, it has been screwed down.

 By now it was very warm so we stopped for an ice cream and then continued on. Quite by chance we came across the LDS chapel and stopped to take a photo and a couple of men who were cleaning the place came out to talk to us.  Just look at the cycle shed, you know you are in the Netherlands.


We explained who we were going to stay with, the sister of my friend here in the UK, and they gave us directions so we could find our hosts for 2 nights.

33 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 8, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Bunnik to Near Vinkaveen

We were awoken through the night in the most horrendous storm. There was very loud thunder that went on for a while and then the lightening started and became so bright that even with closed eyes (trying to sleep) it was as though a firework had gone off just in front of your face. After a simultaneous boom and flash, it sounded as though a train had rushed through. Well although the tent moved , it stood stock still, rooted firmly and let in no water and there was no damage.

So another reasonably early start  but the sky looked threatening.


very threatening sky

Well, we were lucky in that it didn’t rain just then. We rode back into Bunnik and amid cycle commuters we found our way into Utrect but using the red signs rather than the circle points. I do find cities very stressful. It isnt just lack of signage and cyclists coming at you in every direction but with my chemical sensitivities, asking for help for directions becomes impossible. Spasm in my vocal cords results in a “dalek” type voice which very quickly deteriorates to no voice at all. While it isnt painful , it is very frustrating.

We saw signs for both LF4b and LF7a and started to follow them but  they disappeared . Once in a quieter  part of town, we saw LF7a and as we wanted to go north we followed them. Unfortunately , we were wrong and we were in Nieuwegein when we ralised we were heading south. It was a nice ride along a large canal with large barges. I came to realise that on the LF signs , in much smaller writing  at the bottom describes the direction of travel eg Alkmaar naar Mastrict.

DH didn’t want to ride back the same way , so I worked out another route. We headed for Ijsselstein and started using the numbering system again.  Its great when it works but new points are being added all the time and don’t always correspond with the route atlas.  So riding across farmland and small roads next to canals, it became obvious just how much damage the storm had done. It looked like there were many trees which had been damaged. In places, it looked like a giant scythe had been swept along cutting them off at about 6 feet from the ground.

 We stopped in seemingly the middle of nowhere to eat 2nd breakfast and just as we got up to leave, it started to rain again. Nothing for it, cape up and get on with it. We did for a while but then the thunder brattles  boomed again bringing torrential rain. DH pulled off the road and  up went the brolly and we sheltered beneath it.


We got into Harmelen and bought some juice and I got some Euros from an ATM machine. We weren’t out of money but I wanted to be sure we had enough. I didn’t realise the day but with hindsight, I was glad as with the Brexit vote , there was chaos in the financial markets.

Eventually using the compass app, we found our way out of town and across to Woerden and then on to Knockengen but in the pouring rain, I got a puncture in a trailer tyre. DH quickly put in a replacement tube as I sheltered him with the brolly. It was unbelievable but with half and hour , the sun came out and it was hot. Great, as we dried off very quickly.

As we neared Breukelen, we went under a road bridge and then a rail bridge. Now we were so hot we stopped for an ice cream. We then went into the town centre and found the tourist information as we wanted to find somewhere to stay. As the water levels were so high , we had some concern about getting a campsite that wasn’t very wet. The VVV ( TI) was in a bookshop. One of the young assistants , had an uncle who ran a mini- camping and so she rang to see if there was anywhere on there place. There was a space.

Riding off to this site, we saw more downed trees and talking to people, we were told that there had been a mini-tornado and it had been on television. I then realised just how blessed and protected  we had been. I was so tempted by a fabric shop but resisted as I didn’t want to haul fabric around .

The site had one dry place in a corner and an awning on this site had been blown down and was laid out on a trampoline. It was blazing hot until about 7.00pm  when once again the ain came down. This site had a little garden room with a TV so we went in there for a time and watched a bit of BBC tv.

38 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 7, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Doorwerth to Bunnik

When we woke , there was a lot of mist hanging in the air and I sponged off the tent. We were packed and on the road by 8.30am. I was ready for a rest day, but instead of a day off cycling , DH said he would pull the trailer all day. Well, I am pleased I agreed because he didn’t know there would be quite a few hills. heehee!

Actually, some were unnecessary as when we left the campsite, we turned the wrong way and ended up climbing through woodland before the track looped around and we ended up back at the campsite.  We saw signs to Renkum and followed those along with communter traffic until we found the long distance LF4b  signs  climbing  by Wageningen.  The route skirted around Rhenan and we thought we had avoided a big hill. but we hadn’t. We rode through some beautiful open  countryside before climbing through woodland on good tracks and then back to the Neder Rijn  for a while.  Then we continued along to Elst. As we passed through countryside we saw storks nesting on poles. I have seen similar things in Poland.


It was strange  but when we got to Rhenen , I recognised exactly where we were and remembered the church even though it now had scaffolding around it. The water levels were really high on the Rhine and the seat where we sat last year was almost in the water. Apparently , the flooding was all coming down from the previous flooding in France. My cycle computer had stopped working so I cant be sure of the mileage when we stopped for second breakfast but it was in lovely warm sunshine.

We continued on through Amerongen and Leersum but it wasn’t until we got to Zeist where we found a park with a lovely fountain and had lunch there.


It was very hot by now and we were told that the forecast was for thunderstorms. A few spots of rain did fall so we decided to head for Bunnik on the outskirts of Utrecht. There was a site shown on the SVR map so I telephoned them. They told me that this site was no longer with their organistation but gave me the name of it.  I think it is because is too  the site has been extended and is too big for SVR.

Once we had pitched , we rode off to Odijk and bought a no cook salad for tea. Still it was blazing hot and we used the umbrella to keep off the sun!!

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 5, 2016

Summer Tour 2016 Gennep to Doorweth

Tuesday 21st June 2016 – this was midsummer!!

It was not the sort of weather we would expect for midsummer – more rain. Even the Dutch were saying how uncharacteristic the weather has been. Although we heard the rain hammering down through the night, I was fooled into thinking  had stopped, as we couldn’t hear it. It was that very fine , fretty ( Yorkshire word) stuff that  falls so gently  you don’t know until you are soaked.

So we had wet pack and joined the commuter cyclists on their way to school and work and were very soon out into the countryside and passed by some waterways too. We also had to content with paths being relaid and needed to find a way through and around. No one even attempted to stop us going through. How like the ‘elf and safety@ in the UK.

 We missed a turning and ended up in Mook and were surprised to have a real climb out of it. We stopped at a WW2 cemetery . This area was very heavily involved in the fighting that took place. It is a very hilly area and I was so pleased to manage all the climbs  some in forested areas and on into Nijmegen.



This is a beautiful city – clean and fresh looking. We had the usual difficulty in finding our way and were standing debating which way to go. I got out the compass app and determined the direction of travel which a passerby confirmed as correct. We passed through a shopping area. DH tried to get a wifi connection outside of McDs but couldn’t make it. So we continued down to the river Waal, which was also running very high and fast. We had second breakfast and then after a false start , we got underway again.

We followed the Old Waal and it was so obvious just how bad the flooding was. We talked to a chap, who also cycle tours , and he told us the route was impassable due to the water. So we made up our own route and found our way into Millingen aan de Rijn and found an A!di to stock up. We then made another ferry crossing and another man told us that the LF 3 was under water. He was a local man and knew the area really well. He advised taking the next ferry at Pannerden across to Doorenburg and then following minor roads on the other side of the river. We took his advice and cycled on into Arnhem. We were lashed by rain and a headwind – I think I dislike this most of all. Well, you have to keep your spirits up, so we started to sing.

On the outskirts of Arnhem, we saw 2 vintage tractors trundling along the cycle track. Apparently, they were on their way to rally about 70kms north. One of the tractors was towing a trailer tent, and they were not allowed on the roads , so they had no alternative , so the tracks it was for them too.

We believed there was a tent only campsite in the city but tourist information knew nothing about it . They were able to give directions to 2 others but when we saw that the nearer one was at a yacht club , we decided against it – too near a flooding river. So we continued on to a small campsite De Boerbrink.

I noticed that a lot of cows are being fed on silage under cover. I spoke to a farmer and he said land is so waterlogged that they aren’t able to turn the cows out into the fields.

56 miles

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