Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 25, 2015

Billie Fleming tribute ride

I had never heard of Billie Fleming until a few weeks ago. In 1938 , she rode 29,603 miles in one year averaging 81 miles a day but in the summer she rode up to 196miles in a day!! She apparently never carried water and would call in to cafes to eat. She did it to encourage women to cycle for fitness and health.  Sadly she died in 2014 at the age of 100. Her record has never been beaten and so a series of tribute rides have been organised to honour her achievement and memory.

Y, organised the ride for today and there were 11 of us women who turned out for the ride. I set off early and arrived at the meeting point a supermarket on the outskirts of Yarm accompanied by DH and DS1 who left before we set off. One of the local papers sent a  photographer along so there was a photo call (ooh!) before we set off.

The route had been planned by Y, so we set off through the estate and crossed over near Kirklevington  young offenders prison and then cycled along to Weary bank. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it, as last time I was there the surface was dreadful and I ended up walking it. Today, ta da, the surface had been repaired and  I was able to ride all the way up.  I think most of the others did too. I was on my heavy ( compared to the lightweight road bikes)  Koga,  so for me , it was even more of an accomplishment.

From the road junction , we turned left and headed along through Seamer, down into Tanton and then into Great Ayton. We split up in different groups for a café stop – well you have to as that is what Billie did.  I had a hot chocolate and scone at Fletchers  just outside the village. Then at noon , we cycled along to Easby and turned right up  to Battersby and on towards Ingleby Greenhow where we descended into Kirkby and along to Potto and Faceby  before crossing the A19 to go to Roots Café for lunch. Well , you have to don’t you.TABLET - WIN_20150725_134940

After a lovely lunch, we set off again through East Rounton  and on towards Appleton Wiske turning towards Worsall on the outskirts of the village. I was on familiar ground now  and it was soon down to the junction with Forest Lane.  When we got to Kirklevington village  , most chose to ride down the main road but three of us with sturdy touring bikes took a bridle way across to the Weary Bank lane, emerging at the junction with Red Hall Lane.TABLET - WIN_20150725_151211 TABLET - WIN_20150725_151238

We were soon back into Yarm and it was time to head off in our separate directions. The weather had been kind to us apart from a bit of a northerly wind but just as I was leaving  Yarm the rain started. I headed off through Preston Park and took a couple of photos of the rain passing over.TABLET - WIN_20150725_155244 TABLET - WIN_20150725_155240

By the time I got home, it as dry but I was pleased to have my waterproofs with me. Completed 55.7 miles – not as much as Billie but I am well the wrong side of 60.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 11, 2015

Paying it Forward

This morning we were up early to take DS2 to catch a coach for a weekend trip  and so weren’t too sure what we were going to do today.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and , as I had a pain in my calf for a few days we decided not to have a long ride. However , it did feel so much better, so we decided we would ride over to Thornaby and Stockton and then decide how I was doing.

We had only got to the end of Cambridge Road , when I spotted a couple of obvious cycle tourists.  Well being an inquisitive, nay nosey girl, I had to stop and chat. They had been staying in a nearby hotel and wanted to get on  a road to Whitby.  They come from Belgium and  are cycling from Inverness to London.  Yesterday had been a bit of a trial for them, as they got lost trying and failing to get through Sunderland following NCN1.  It can be a bit complicated in Ryhope and they found themselves in Seaham with no more signage. They were thinking of riding the A171  but on a sunny Saturday morning, that road can be filled with fast moving traffic and as they had a map we were able to show them NCN52 , a much quieter and scenic route.

However, we weren’t going to just leave them to find the way , so, as others have done for us , we rode with them taking them on cycle routes up to Nunthorpe and putting them on to the route to Great Ayton. IMG_1678

Good Luck Isla and Pete.

We then decided to go along Tunstall lane and then on to the village of Newby.IMG_1682

We then  went down through Thornton and Stainton before heading in to Thornaby and buying chicken and leek sausage from a lovely butchers  and then along to Stockton market  for our locally produced eggs.

Unkown to us, Stockton was having a  cycling festival and we saw a couple of friends  who had taken part in a Sportive.

When we got home , we found we had cycled more than 25 miles , so for a short ride we had a lovely morning and my leg feels alright.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 8, 2015

Homeward Bound

The campsite outside Brielle , although large was really nice and quiet despite having a party of 44 schoolchildren camping there. They were so well behaved and had been there all week having cycled 35 kms from Rotterdam. I spoke to their teacher and a parent helper as they were so well behaved for children between the ages of 11 and 13 and complimented them. A large furniture removal van came to take all the camping gear and luggage back to the school before they set off for the ride home.

It was a lovely sunny day and a complete contrast to the Monday when they had ridden down. Because of so little wind we had some condensation inside the tent but it soon dried as the sun rose and we were able to breakfast sitting in the sunshine.  We commenced the usual packing routine, DH packing the bedding and me the  kettle, stove and food.

We had a lovely leisurely ride into Brielle saying goodbye to a very kind Dutch couple who plied us with cream puffs before  we left.  The ride is alongside a lake and it was really pleasant. Brielle is an old town and we heard the church clock playing the delightful tune on the bells as we have heard in other Dutch towns.

We stopped and had an ice cream sitting outside  a café  and chatted to a girl who  was visiting her parents but who now lives in Bristol. She was riding her mother’s Koga which is how we got chatting.

We then cycled to Oostwoorde and sat in the sunshine eating a Panini  and then apple pie. This statue was in the square.


Some of the detail was interesting.

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All too soon , it was time to set off to get back to the port and we passed the BP building with its eco-friendly roof.IMG_1661

Arriving at the port we went into find the same helpful, cheerful chap at reception who was their the previous day. He directed us to take our bikes and sit in the waiting room, but about an hour later a security guard came and said it wasn’t allowed. I had taken a note of Mr Nice Reception Man’s name and told him to go and see him. He went off not to return.

We met an older English couple on E bikes who had been staying on an island in the south of Holland and they had been waiting outside all afternoon.  Their car was waiting in Hull for the drive home.

We enjoyed our ferry journey taking advantage of the reduction on the meal deal once again. The only downside was arriving in Hull the ramp stuck and the car decks where we had our cycles couldn’t be unloaded.IMG_1664

You can just imagine the disgruntled car drivers. We eventually took the lift down to the freight deck and  were able to get off that way but the signage was very, very poor and we made a 4 mile detour before getting into Hull.

What a culture shock despite being away only 4 weeks , it was very displeasing to see all the rubbish piled up in the streets on the cycle track.IMG_1667

We carried on and it was lunchtime by the time we got to the Humber Bridge picnic area which was packed with people as it was such a lovely day. Then after eating , we cycled off through North Ferriby and into Elleker where there was a village fete. We popped in and DH spoke to a young army cadet at the car park. He was interested in how far we had travelled and was amazed that such journeys could be made.

Along through Brookfleet and a couple of cyclists told us of an open church hall in Blacktoft which is run on similar lines to the trust hut in York. This sign was on the side of the building.IMG_1673

Hope you poetry buffs can read this.

Then off again through Howden and Selby and onto Riccall where Mr and Mrs Swan welcomed us back with cake and hot chocolate as we told them of our adventures.

Sunday 29th 2015 arrived with a bit of early rain so we packed up and left about 9.00am amd cycled up through York and called in to see friends in Linton on Ouse and then crossed over Aldwark bridge where we began to see a lot of cyclists wearing numbers. So many gave us friendly waves and they were on a cycle race from Ripon. We stayed the night  at Boroughbridge camping and caravanning site before setting off on Monday with a tail wind. Yiphee, the first one of the  trip. I was flying along and including  stops we covered those 44 miles in less than 5 hours. Our son was surprised to see us home so early as he had been intending to cycle out to meet us.

In total, we had cycled 1370 miles with full and I mean full camping kit. Not too bad for a pair of oldies.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 6, 2015

We had a dreadful night in Amsterdam with noise all night and as we were getting up, they all went to bed.  So we got  the tent down  and were off the site by 7.15am and as it had been cool and windy all night , it was a dry pack. Although it started out dull and grey , as the morning progressed, the sun came out but we still had to content with a  strong headwind of about force 6.

Amsterdam had fairly good signage  but  the speed of cyclists coming from every compass point was a bit daunting.  We were headed for Haarlem  and were on the south of the city. Commuter cyclists  made it stressful as they sped along and cut in front  and so we were quite pleased as the traffic thinned as we got to the suburbs.

We stopped for 2nd breakfast in Haarlem before heading off towards Zandvoort but missed the turning to NSCR and had to back track. It was off a very dusty track from a carpark but after a short climb , we were on a very nice track through dunelands.  Zandvoort had a market going on across the track but we were able to find the way and then as we carried on along the track we saw lots of cyclists with Team UK on their jerseys. There was a charity event on organised by a British charity and companies were raising  money. This charity aims to get people taking more care of their health.

We had been looking for a Pancake house , we had visited many years ago when we cycled the NSCR ourselves but we couldn’t find it. Eventually we stopped in Noordwijk and had  cheese and tomato pancakes. We carried on to Katwijk  and stopped for ice cream  and  there was a memorial to those from the town who had lost their lives at sea.


Then a short while  later  found a campsite right off the track. DH would have preferred to go further but I was   tired because of the constant headwind. It was useful though because I could get washing done and dried and we enjoyed sitting in the sun , sheltered from the wind.

We got talking to a couple from Bremen and  discovered I had lost a nut from my  rear carrier. The man looked in his toolbag and found a nut and screw that was a little too long but made it secure, They also gave us a lovely salad as they had made too much for themselves.

Thursday 25th June 2015 started calm and dry but as the sun rose , that pesky headwind started up. We were talking to a chap near the facilities block and he told us of a  small ferry that runs from the Hook of Holland to near Europort  DH had already mooted the idea of getting and earlier ferry back to England and this information clinch it.

It  was lovely riding along through the dunes with wild flowers blooming in  a profusion of colour, red, purple, blue and yellow.  Just beautiful.

It was easy to follow the signs through Den Haag and we were very soon down at the Hook of Holland where we  caught the fast ferry.


There was a man who had a very old bicycle  with a  tiny petrol engine such as I remember from my childhood.IMG_1640

We got off at the second ferry stop seemingly in the middle of nowhere and started cycling along the main road. There were hundreds of seagulls nesting  and the chicks were wandering out onto the road. There were signs warning drivers  of the birds and this was amongst  oil refineries and other chemical plants.IMG_1653

We got to the port only to discover that it would cost us £90 to get the ferry that day so we asked about Friday – £30- so we changed the booking for the next day and headed off to a campsite near Brielle. We were heading home earlier just when the sun had come out.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 5, 2015

When the going gets tough!

Monday 22nd June 2015, started well enough and my prayer was answered for a dry pack. Unfortunately, it only stayed dry until 9.30am but by this time we were in a supermarket in Meppel.

From here we headed south west into a headwind most of the time and then its started to rain mixed with hail. We had our usual 2nd breakfast stop after 20 miles and setting off agaon got rained on again.  By this time we were getting a bit fed up and decided to try  Vrieden op de Fiets and organisation that offers very affordable overnight accommodation for cyclists and walkers. We had heard about this at the Cycle Festival in Clitheroe and decided to join it before we left.

Sitting in a bus shelter , we decided we could make it to Haderwijk so I started to ring addresses in the directory. Two no answers and the next one was full all week. Oh dear. Well try again. ” Do you speak English” – “a little”  ” Can you take us tonight? Please” “well we are having a party at 5.00pm- but come anyway.”

At short notice Suzanne and Fritz were willing to accommodate us overnight. when we arrived we were invited to join them for dinner as their son had married that morning and they were hosting a family party!! Still in slightly damp cycle clothes we joined in the party and had a wonderful time. DH had been a bit reticent about trying this, staying in a strangers home  but it was a lovely experience and cost 20E each for bed and breakfast. I can well recommend this organisation.IMAG0071

The next day started with a lovely Dutch breakfast and then it was out into the sunshine. It didn’t last 5 mins before we donned our watherproofs. We headed along the coastal track to Zeewolde and on a fine day  it would have been heaving with people, Today it was deserted. We came across this large model bike – in fact there were 2.IMG_1618

We had passed through Benschoten-Sakenburg and weren’t  sure where we actually where and a lady came out of a coffee shop to help us- in the pouring rain. We somehow ended up needing to cross some water at Eemdyk on a small ferry. DH asked me how much it cost. 80cents . He was horrified as he doesn’t do money and though I mean 80E . hehe! heart attack time.

We carried along  across polders in sleet and rain driving into our  faces and when nearly in Huizen, I called a halt and we had a café stop. Huge smoked salmon and salad sandwiches , apple pie and hot chocolate just what a girl needs when she is cold and wet.  From Huizen, we got help to find the way to Naarden and along the coast to Muiderburg where wind and kite surfers were loving the strong winds. What is one man’s meat etc.


We carried on along to Weesp ad then a kind man stopped to guide us along to a campsite on the outskirts of Amsterdam. What was I thinking? I wasn’t  , it was dumb brain time. Camping at Am Zeeburg was like being in a pop festival with tents pitched everywhere , full of young people of every nationality. My idea of Hell but it was only for one night thankfully.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 5, 2015

This is summer?


We set off from Bellingwolde just after 8.30am . There had been a light drizzle but it cleared so I packed away my wet weather gear- wrong – it started to rain in earnest so they had to be unpacked yet again.

We continued to follow the LF9a along a zig zagging route through Zandstroom , Bilijham and into Winschoten where we called into a supermarket that I had not expected to see – Aldi – as I had been told they weren’t in the Netherlands. From there we headed to Meedam and stopped after 20 miles having our 2nd breakfast at 12.00noon. At least we sat dry but it was still very cool for June.

From there , we cycled along to Froombach , having taken a 6 km  ” exploration detour”. However, we did see a local village fair and I was delighted to see a lady knitting and selling socks on her stall. I showed her my home knitted socks and despite a language barrier we were able to communicate abut socks of all things.

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The fair was also supporting and raising money for the local ambulance/paramedic  service and it was nice to see they had a demo unit there too.


From Noodbroek, we crossed and recrossed bridges over a motorway until in Englebert we came across a campsite. At 4.00pm , we decided that would be it for the day and pitched the tent. The sun made a brief appearance so we cycled on unloaded cycles to Harkstede to buy a few more food items. I wanted some rice but it wasn’t available in a small quantity, so made do with ready prepared potatoes, to have with a tinned chicken tikka masala. During the evening we saw three hot air balloons pass overhead and apparently its very popular in this area as the air currents work well.


One looked like Betty Boop.

Next day was midsummers day and the dawn was grey and damp but fortunately by the time we were packing up, the weather had dried.  The youngsters in the tents next to us had only just gone to bed and as we started to get sorted it rained , so the tent was packed away wet. We had to wear waterproofs all morning but as it was cool, it wasn’t too uncomfortable.

When we got to Groenigen,   the route as is usual was difficult to follow but at least the sun showed its face. There was an amazing statue of a father helping his child to ride a bike. I loved it.


We were amazed by the bike parking at the railway station. Just how do you find your bike in this lot?IMG_1595

This is just one bike parking place , there were about 3 or 4 we passed. Incredible. How anyone retrieves their bike is beyond me.

We had some lovely off-road riding on great paths through woodland, heath and moorland with plenty of ups and downs. Who says the Netherlands is flat?



For the most part the LF9a was easy to follow and we came across Holland’s equivalent to Stonehenge.IMG_1608

We finished the day at a campsite near Havelde and treated ourselves to Pizza and ice cream in a small restaurant in the village.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 3, 2015

Back into the Netherlands

A cold , wet early morning really wasn’t an encouraging start to the day but it cleared a little as we packed up. We were hoping for a dryish pack but it wasn’t to be as the heavens opened and dropped large splashing diamonds soaking the tent once again.  Oh well, nothing for it but to don the wet weather gear and get on with it.

As we prepared to leave the reception staff turned up and started chatting to us.  My German language skills have improved quite well and as I was talking to one of the older chaps , he was pleased to tell me he had been to Blackpool, competing in Its a Knockout back in the late 1980’s. He said he had a great 5 days thanks to the BBC.

They were really helpful and gave us local maps to help us get to Petkum to get the ferry to Ditzum.  The winds continued to be fierce into out faces and there were frequent heavy showers but not as long lasting as the previous day.

Again , we followed the Ems Jade Kanal but did loose the way and ended up in Emden  adding a few miles to the day. However, by now , it was at least sunny and we crossed a bridge on the track again. However, a chap stopped us and told us we wouldn’t get through as there was a large motorway building project going on. He directed us to the coast road which had a track along it so we got along well. The ferry cost 3E each to cross.

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We met some retired chaps who had cycled across , so that they could go to a fish restaurant. They were telling us that economically things were not good in north Germany and a lot of their industry had gone. Similar to us here in the North east of England. We stopped at the shelter and had lunch and by 1pm we had only cycled 16 miles. tut tut!!

Setting off again, we got a bit of shelter from the raised dyke wall but in exposed sections , it was really a slog. Eventually, we found ourselves in the Netherlands, missing any sign of a border. As the wind was now almost howling from the North, we decided not to follow the LF1, the north sea route but to go more inland and  towards the middle of the country on the LF9.

Fortunately, as the route twists and turns , we weren’t into a headwind all the time and got some respite at times. It was tiring though so we rode into Bellingwolde at 3.30pm  and saw a campsite sign. We called in and were able to get a trekker hut for 22E in a quirky little site that we were the only ones on.

In a barn , there were good facilities and I took the opportunity to do a running repair to oou extension as a loop had become detaching in the high winds. Its great when you have the skills , knowledge and equipment to be self sufficient and make your own repairs while touring.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 3, 2015

Parting of the way

Thursday 19th June started out as bright after the rain abated overnight. However, by the time we had got packed up, the sky had deteriorated to a dull grey with a brisk breeze picking up.

We rode with Carole along the track we failed to find yesterday into Varel Harbour and said our goodbyes. We had only been together overnight but it felt a bit like the breaking of the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings. At least she had the wind on her back , while we turned and rode along the canal into the town.  On the way, I spotted a bakers shop and so we stopped and bought some bread buns and ate one each with jam immediately.

From Varel , we rode on into Oberstrone but it took 2 tries as the signage was poor and we  ended up going in a circle. However, when we did find the route , it was very pleasant riding through a forest on the edge of town.

We did some main road riding as well as cycle tracks heading first to Backhorn and along to Neuenberg before heading NW to Friedenburg. We stopped for a break in Marx and karol from Holland spotted out bikes near the shelter and stopped for a word. He was heading to meet up with his wife who had driven up to see him.

He had ridden the Ems Jade kanal some years ago and said some of the surfaces were not too good. Still, he was going to try it again and so as that was our route too. We came onto the track at Hesel and at first it was fairly reasonable. Then the rain started and came on quite heavily and then the track deteriorated into a mud track so we came off to find another way. It took us a bit of time to find our way into Aurick , a nice little town. A lady stopped to ask if we needed any help and she turned out to be English. As a 17 year old, a lot of years ago, she had left home and headed to Germany  and been there ever since.

She directed us to Tourist Information who told us of a campsite at Grosses Meer about 10 Kms away. We had to negotiate new road building works  which were actually cordoned off to accommodate cyclists.

We were glad to arrive and pleased that we were at least reasonably dry – for a while. The reception closed very soon after we arrived and the evening was cold and wet , feeling more like October not June.IMG_1540


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 1, 2015

Away from the Weser.

swiftsBy the next morning, Jozef wasn’t feeling too good and so it was good that we were having a short day. We headed west from Brake and across country towards Jade and then on to Varel and into Dangast.

It was great to see Carole looking so well. She had cycled 13 miles and us 31.  She had told the reception we would be arriving but there was a bit of confusion as her German isn’t too hot and the campsite man’s English was no better, However, he was surprised when I got there  and spoke to him in German. He even gave me free passes to the  swimming pool but we didn’t use them.

In the campsite amenities block there were swifts nesting and we were lucky to see then fledge before we left.IMG_1538

We put up the tent and the extension despite the strong winds , and as it rained it was just as well as we had somewhere for us all to sit.


You can see the fabric being pushed in by the wind but it kept us dry. We made pasta and chicken for our evening meal but I managed to drop some of it. duh! We were all tired and so had an early night. I awoke and thought it was morning when in fact it was only 10.40pm. However, I was up at 5.00am next morning for a shower feeling well.

There is so much bird life around here and there were small birds perching on and around our bikes.



Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 1, 2015

Down the River Weser ( part 5)

The ride into Bremen was really the point of this trip as about 50 years ago , I made exchange visits with other youngsters of the German Life Saving society , the DLRG and I wanted to see the sights again. It was unfortunately cold and grey but I was pleased to see a new DLRG station at Stadtwerder.


I had very fond memories of the old place which was a wooden hut but times change. We found our way into the city centre and took photos at the Roland statue and the Bremerstadtmusikanten.

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As I recall  the Roland statue was unpainted back then and the animal statue has been put onto a much higher plinth. But memories can always be false so I may not have it correct.

Again. as is usual finding our way out of the city was confusing and to add to it, the rain came down in torrents so on went the waterproofs. Eventually , we got onto the right track but the headwind was again tiring. We phoned our friend Carole who is cycling the North Sea Cycle route to see where she had got too. We decided to meet up at a campsite in Dangast but by the time we got up to Brake, we realised it was too far.  No nearby campsite so we decided to look for a B and B and had to turn back a little ways. Eventually, we me a couple of local cyclists who recommended the Harrier Hof hotel. They offered an apartment with breakfast for 80E so we took it and had dinner there too. Again I had to make a trip to an ATM machine.


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