Day 2, 19th May 2011, Utrecht to Arnhem

This is the time of year that Dutch farmers get to do their shit spreading.  They have cleaned out their barns after winter, and are now spreading the manure over their fields, so the whole countryside smells of it and it is wonderful.  This earthy smell is the scent of northern Europe.

It only took about ten minutes to work out how to ride out of Utrecht, and on into very pretty farming coutryside.  Today we followed route LF4A. One of the pleasures of travelling through this country is the marvellous houses and gardens.  Even modest houses and semidetached homes have beautiful meticulously tended gardens.

This was an easy day’s ride.  The weather was cool and comfortable, albeit with a bit of drizzle, but not enough to wet us. We had a late start after sleeping in a bit, the result of a couple of hard disrupted days.

We had to stop at a bike shop to get a buckle taken out of my rear wheel.  This was aircraft handling damage.  I have had damage that indicates considerable mishandling on three of our five trips.  It only took a half hour and I was only charged 5E.

We are now into our daily routine.  A big breakfast, which we never do at home, and a coffee and cake stop at around 1.00pm, or whenever a place turns up. We don’t do lunch as such, simply because we don’t feel the need.  So we stopped at a great popular little bar, restaurant, coffee shop, warmed up a bit and refuelled.

I have been using TomTom on my Iphone in addition to the Dutch bike route maps, the “Basickaart netwerk LF-routes Nederland”.  I have the TomTom preferences set to bicycle routes, and it worked today, most of the time. That is, it followed the bicycle route we wanted, but the database is not perfect.  It needs to be used in conjunction with maps.   It is however, a huge aid and highly recommended.

We rode very comfortably into Arnhem around 5.00pm, found the tourist information centre who booked us a B&B.  This turned out to be more in the way of an apartment, so we walked back to town, about 10 minutes, found a supermarket and spent 15E on bread and food which we cooked in our apartment.  The apartment cost 80E.

It is hard to understand, unless you are on a bike, just how pervasive and central the bicycle is to Dutch culture.  If you drive around, you will notice a lot of bikes.  If you ride around you become aware that no transport system in the country operates without bikes at its centre.  So, you do not need a special path into the centre of a city, the whole system works to get you safely to wherever you want to go in the country, seamlessly.  More on this later.


View 19 5 2011 Utrecht Arnhem in a larger map


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