Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting ready for warm weather and bicycle touring!

Using my living room to practice putting up the tent.

And I decided to go for a long ride today!
To the Austerlitz Pyramid...
What is that?
Well, I visited it today and I still don't know exactly but it has something to do with the French and Napoleon.
Here it is.

There is no information center nearby, only a play garden for children, a giant parking lot and a few restaurants. It's a hotspot for Dutch families, which is disconcertingly like most of the places that I like to visit.
I really don't know why and it's starting to bug me.
Please, someone suggest non-kid oriented destinations for me.

This kid cares more about playing in the sand than the pyramid.

Along the way to the pyramid, I went by the river route from Leiden to Utrecht. It was quite lovely. And quiet! The only other people were a few cycling pelotons, some long distance runners and at least 200 stoic, still fishermen spaced evenly with 50 meters inbetween.
They must use a measuring tape. Or markers.
I was afraid to talk them, even though I was practicing some dutch phrases.

Goedemorgen! Bent u hier bij plezier of  bij werk? Hoe doet je  een stoelplaats keuzen? Waar zijn de vrouwen? Alleen heren vissen?

But they were so silent and unmoving. One of them turned to move his pole out of the bicycle path but I was already on the road and missed my opportunity. Instead, I took an awkward photo. 
 Overall, I learned a few lessons that will help with planning longer trips.

My travel time is slow because I'm slow...
And I'm compulsively driven to stop and pet/photograph/video adorable animals. This causes my average speed to be lower than it should be.

But look at these little goats!!!

And AHHH! Spring lambs!

 And here are some very well behaved german shepherds taking their owners out for a bicycle ride. 
(I didn't have to stop for this one)

Other lessons include that I must buy some sunglasses.
This is not for fashion, but because my right eye involuntarily cries when the wind blows and it is rather inconvenient. It seems that no matter which direction I go, the wind will blow into my face. So, sunglasses.

And the other very important lesson learned is that I must stop to eat at least every three hours or I will start to hate my bicycle, the weather, the sun, the flowers and even the adorable little goats.

Just after three hours, I was nearly to Utrecht when the whole world started to seem grey and awful. The sheep were ugly, the fishermen annoying, my bicycle was ungainly and I wished the stupid swans would stop their stupid fluttering about, but I stubbornly kept going. When I got a little lost, I looked for my maps and remembered my tupperware full of gouda cheese. After eating a few pieces, it was a lovely spring day again and I looked forward to the rest (three hours at a time) of my day.

Here's the map of of the ride courtesy of "walking directions" from google.

View Larger Map


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ha ha! There's a term for what I experienced with the not eating... Bonking.
    Thanks !

    My symptoms include hatred of swans, sheep, fishermen, and general aesthetic perception dysfunction.

  3. Also drink. dehydration can make you tired and irritable. Normally before lack of food affects you.

  4. Yes, more water, more food! :)

  5. Or, as the natives say, meeting the man with the hammer (de man met de hamer).

  6. The bottoms of lakes generally don't have kids. Plus, you'll stay hydrated!

  7. Wow, I thought I was doing good riding 10k, and you're riding like halfway across the country.