Thursday, July 10, 2014

#607 Stockholm - København - Amsterdam

Refined the route. Starting Saturday 12th to 27th July (depending on the winds)

Stockholm-Arlanda - Strängnäs - Katrineholm - Tjällmo - Tranås - Skillingaryd - Ljungby - Astorp - (cross to Denmark) Skodsborg - Vordingborg - (then Germany) Oldenburg in H - Bokel - Ovelgönne - (into Holland) Bad Nieuweschans - Leeurwarden - Den Oever - Amsterdam (finish with a sprint up the Champs-Élysées).

Saturday to Strängnäs 96k 4:40 First 60k with a buckled back wheel but got it fixed thanks to Pelle at Cykelhornan in Enköping.

Sunday: Day 2 to Katrinehom 78k 3;32 Big tailwind.

Monday: Day 3 to Tjãllmo 82k 4:14 Very wet.

Tuesday: Day 4, head wind all day but a v nice ride anyway. 5+ hours, about 100km.
Hotel Alberg very nice.

Wednesday. Day 5. Bit of a battering, 115k in 6:28 huge headwind and tedious hills.

Day 6 89k 4:26. Much better day than yesterday, not so much of a wind and practically flat.
Day 7 to Åstorp 115k bit over 6 hours. Navigated with a map as my Garmin threw a tantrum. Last night in Sweden.
Day 8. A ride to the ferry and a 20 min crossing to Denmark. Met a cyclist called Jens who invited me to stop for tea. Them showed me the cannonball lodged on his wall fired by Nelspn's ships on 1807.

Then on, nearly to Copenhagen to stay with my friend Susanne Nielsen. Went to see the Da Vinchi Exhibition followed by ice cream. Here we are with Eric's Merc.

Sunday Stage 9. 112k to Votdingborg, spent half getting lost and half on one straight 60k road, not that scenic but OK for all that.

Monday Stage 10 
Last 60k in Denmark (some on tracks) then ferry to Germany. Another 30k to hotel.

Stage 11. Made good progress to Bokel 121k 5:58 (including some gravel roads) in fact 95% was ridden on dedicated cycle paths. They are well organised for cyclists in Germany. Last night's hotel smelt of feet, you could hear the people next door, the food was crap and I had to wait, while the staff carried on arguing, before being served. Tonight's is MUCH nicer. A glass or two of a nice Weißwein makes it even better :-)

Stage 12 What a day! Got lost. Got found. Crossed two rivers on two ferries. Went deep in the woods on grass tracks and even some cobbles. Took 6:47 to cover 136k ( longest so far) but actually 9 hours door to door. Knackered. No restaurant near this b&b so am microwaving a ready-meal box of Turkey & Potato - Luxury.

Day 13. Made it to Holland :-) 119k in 5:48. Went over a rickety rackety bridge, not as long as one I crossed a day or two ago. I'm coming to terms with my Garmin GPS. I've deleted the option - Follow Goat Tracks Where Possible. However, can't find an option for Do Not Use Spurious Diversions. (I bought a map so I hope not to be Garminated tomorrow.

Day 14. Woke up to; rain, cold, grey, grim. Not brave enough to ride for six hours soaking wet - so I took the train. On the plus side arrived in Leeuwarden and met up with the lad :-)

Day 15. Took the bus to little fishing port Harlingen Havn then rode over the Afsluitdijk  a dead flat, straight dyke that separates the IJsselmeer and the North Sea. It's 32 k and we whistled over in a straight 55 minutes. Today's total, 45k in a wind assisted 

Last night we stayed in the Orange Room of  b&b run by a couple of chaps. Tonight we are in Den Oever and a very arty b&b run by Ina an art teacher. Both seemed to have been teleported from the 1970's.

Day 16 to Amsterdam 82k stopped on Hoorn for a HUGE coffee. 
Jay escorted me for the last two days. Big Ups.
1440Km Job Done. :-)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

#606 f#@k

I just watched the Beatle's film Hard Day's Night.
First shown in 1964, that makes it fifty years old.
FIFTY YEARS OLD!  . . . . . f#@k

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday, June 02, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

#599 Luaka Tea

Thank you Judy for posting us this big bag of Luaka Tea.
We're all right for the rest of the year now.

Friday, May 23, 2014

#598 Panniers

Testing my tourer (with panniers).
Ready for a Scandinavian trip starting July 11.
Stockholm to Amsterdam 1400km.
Smörgåsbord at the Ready!

Friday, May 02, 2014

#597 London Amsterdam

Lunching (and laughing) at Henry's in Covent Garden

Sally, Jay, stairs.

Rijksmuseum Asian Pavilion
Adios Amsterdam

Friday, April 25, 2014

#596 Just a Perfect Day.

“Do you want a lift to Benirrama in the morning?” Sally enquired,
“That’s where we’re meeting to go mountain walking, you could start your ride from there”.

Mmm, I know that means having to get up earlier than usual - 8 o’clock! But still, it’s going to be a nice day and it would cut out the first 35km of local roads of which I know every bump and grind, so OK.

Vall de Gallinera (google streetview pic)

Next morning we get to Benirrama and as I unload my bike I glance at the village sign - Benirrama. I start to think of George Harrison singing  and adapt the lyrics:

(Who’s George Harrison? you might ask, well here is a link 
In fact, why don’t you open a new tab and play this in the background).

Hare Krishna,
Hare, Hare.

An amazing day, late April in southern Spain, the weather is perfect; medium to warm, not a cloud to be seen, a light breeze and as we are inland from the sea it’s crisp and clear.

The start is a gentle climb up the CV700 also known as the Vall de Gallinera. It’s quiet, just bird song. There’s very little traffic, in the first two hours I see less than a dozen cars.

Benirrama, Benirrama

The Vall de Gallinera is a valley with this one road running parallel to a very dry river bed, an ex river if you will. I ride through tiny villages; Beniali, Beniaia, Benissiva. Beni means son of. It dates back to when the Moors from North Africa were resident here. They were mostly evicted about 1,000 years ago but you can still see the remains of their agriculture. Cut into the stony hillside there are terraces where the Moors grew their cereals so they could have couscous for Sunday lunch.

Hare Krishna,

In fact some of the terraces are still used, this valley is most famous for growing cherries, then almond and olives. It’s a rugged mountainous countryside, wild boar live here, not to be seen during the day but walkers see a lot of “evidence”. In the autumn they are hunted and put in the pot, a speciality in some of the restaurants who put up signs saying “Jabali” (but pronounced habali).

Hare, Hare.

After 20km of climbing a left hand turn and the road is now heading back towards the coast. Still no traffic, no more little villages, no houses, just an asphalt road through a wild, rocky landscape. However, It’s very green which is surprising as we’ve had little rain this year. Beside the road many pretty spring flowers, it’s all quite idyllic.

Benirrama, Benirrama

It’s a “sparkly” day. Years ago a hippy looking chap stopped me and told me earnestly “It’s one of those Sparkly, Sparkly Days, Man” I think it had something to do with the cigarette he was smoking.

Hare Krishna,

Zooming along, one short 16% climb and then down hill to the next sign of habitation, the village of La Vall d’Ebo. Options here but I carry on the main road and climb again for 3 or 4km, then the descent of the day; a snaking, wheeling, twisting, flying down whizz. It’s a decent descent.

Hare, Hare.

From the top of Vall D'Ebo,

At the bottom, near Pego, I could take the flat road home through the rice fields. I never thought of Spain as being a rice growing country but here in the Valencia region it’s the basis of our famous dish - Paella! Trying not to think about food too much I turn right, go through Sagra, on to Tormos and another whizzing ride, now through acres of orange groves.

Nearly home, a bit of a headwind, but no matter, it’s been a fabulous ride (apart for that maddening mantra!).


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#595 Pouilly-Fuissé.

Fantastique! Génial! Superbe! J'ai bien reçu cette bouteille (juste pour mon anniversaire le 2 mai, je suppose) de vin Pouilly-Fuissé particulier de Sylvain Dafflon.

Nous avons eu un accord pour échanger le vin de l'Espagne pour le vin de la belle France. Formidable! (C’est moi qui gagne haha).