Day 4, 21st May 2011, Lottum to Elsloo

Last night while we were finishing dinner, a group of about 6 middle-aged people rode up to the cafĂ© to have dinner.  They were chatting animatedly as they dismounted their bikes and walked in.  It is a puzzle to me as to why it is in my country that riding a bike is considered some sort of hair-shirt activity, restricted to greenies and socialists.  For all I know these people may have been part of the local conservative party, but one thing is guaranteed, that to lose their bikes would reduce the quality of their lives.

For the last couple of days there have been thousands of people on the bike paths, from people in their racing strip on carbon fibre racing bikes, to elderly people on electric bikes, drawn out by the unseasonably pleasant weather.

The bike path is just a hundred meters from our B&B, so after a good breakfast we made an early start.  Being Saturday, we planned to stop a little earlier, as there may be a bit more demand on accommodation.

Fairly early in the day we met a Dutch couple, obviously touring from the equipment they had.  We rode alongside for a while and they explained that they were riding to Rome.  They told us that riding from Holland to Rome is considered a fairly standard ride now and a bit of a challenge.  They were heading to Maasstricht and then to Luxembourg, Basel, the Alps and on into Italy.

There have been quite a number of ferry crossings in the last few days, which is a puzzle to TomTom, as some are not able to carry cars.  TomTom seems to estimate distances a little over half of the actual distance.  This is because the bike path meanders.  It is a tourist route and probably all the better for it while TomTom calculates the best possible bicycle route.

Just when I think I have seen enough of the Maas Valley the route changes and something else happens.  While we had another good day today in superb weather, the countryside lacks the impact of the last few days.

We noticed that many of the villages we passed through had B&Bs, until we started to look for one, and they all disappeared.  Eventually we arrived at the village of Elsloo after riding 117km, more than we anticipated, and found another little gem of a pension at 80E.  The provided an excellent dinner on the terrace on another beautiful evening.  The owner explained that they did not expect passing traffic, but picked up guests through internet searches.  He certainly was not easy to find.

I have just noticed that for the last two days Google maps is not loading the track correctly.  However, if you zoom the map, the track will appear OK.

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