We had been tempted to undertake this style of ride before but the thought of riding as a group always put me off.

There seemed to be the option to ride on your own with this trip but in the end we just opted to play follow the leader. The boat did not always overnight where we met it and given our track record for getting lost, we chose to play it safe.

Following the leader removes the responsibility of deciding which is the correct path, but also removes the ability to stop when you want. On balance we still prefer to have that latter option.

However, ride and float approach was better than expected. The boat was not large which meant you got the opportunity to get to know most on board. About half of those biking were from Germany and the rest were cyclists from the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK.

The barge traffic as we entered Antwerp
The barge traffic as we entered Antwerp

We shared our dinner table with two sisters from Vancouver. Thanks Jo and Patsy for many laughs. Patsy, I know you will “just love this post”.

Ruth invited many of those on board to New Zealand, her efforts at conversing with the German cyclists was admired by the other English speakers and it was also very entertaining.

Ruth adding a splash of colour to an otherwise grey day
Ruth adding a splash of colour to an otherwise grey day

 

As for the cycling, it was FLAT. We completed just over 300km although on one particularly hot day many chose to limit their efforts. There were only a few mad ones (writer included) who defied dehydration to bike the 57km.

The Netherlands were memorable for the gardens, pretty houses with thatched roofs and of course the windmills, especially in the Kinderdijk area where they were used to power the pumps need to drain this very wet part of Holland. The cows were a regular site but these became less prominent as we moved further south with mixed cropping taking over.

Belgium was memorable for the wild poppies which popped up amongst crops and along the side of the road. When you hit Bruges, it is chocolate, lace and beer shops that are trying to part you from your Euros.

Overall, it was a smooth ride, sans helmets. The only incicent was my seat came loose and for a brief moment required an interesting riding posture resulting in a rather high pitched voice.

Ruth rode like the veteran she now is and mentions of hills in Cornwall were laughed off with great gusto as she sunk another pitcher of best Begian beer (well for those of you who know Ruth, will get that the beer bit is taking a little poetic licence),

As always, it is a little sad to be hanging up the riding shorts but it is not for too long.

The situation we are watching is Greece, will we need a plan B?

Overnighting in a very hot Brussels before heading to Paris tomorrow.

2 comments

    1. We made the most of not having to think. Starting in roughly a weeks time we have nearly three weeks of having to make the directional calls (then the fun will begin). It is still very warm but looking at UK temperatures, we probably should enjoy the summery weather we are getting.

      Liked by 1 person

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