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22 Nov 2011

Ameland

Last weekend I stayed at Ameland. That is an island in the north of the Netherlands, one of the Wadden islands. I stayed there with family, who went there by car. Since it only was 90km to our vacation house, I cycled there. The route from the Fietsersbond website was very good. My little Q451 was my 'bent for this weekend. It did get very dirty, there was so much mud and clay on the roads. One thing is for sure, the Quest will get mudguards!

Travelling to an island includes a ferry. During the short ride from the haven to the village Hollum I spotted several bird species I hadn't seen before. My bike got a spot in the shed and I took my Radical Backbone inside to set up my 'camp Pjotr' for the two nights to come.

The next day, Saturday, the weather was surprisingly good. Very little fog and even sunshine. Right after breakfast I rode to the nearest beach to get the system going and to take advantage of the supreme photo making conditions. Half an hour later it was time for coffee with the family.

In the afternoon I went for a longer ride, circling the western half of the island. Riding through the dunes is fun! When I was back after 40km or so, I decided to remove most of the dirt from the Q451. Yes, it would get dirty again when I'd ride home, but it's was just to muddy to handle. The chain does stay pretty clean, another benefit that comes with fwd. When a splash of water hit the rear wheel, I heard bubbles. My first ever puncture with my Cruzbike was a fact. Caused by a small stone and the end of nearly 2300km of puncture free riding. I actually think that my most recent puncture, with any bike, must have been in May or so. And that's easily over 5500km ago.

In the evening we ate in a pancake restaurant and played a board game. The next day was expected to be extremely foggy. I decided to head home early in the afternoon instead of after dinner. It turned out to be a very wise decisison.

That the sight was less than 50 metres wasn't just because I was on an island. Visibility stayed very bad for the entire ride. An extra tail light helps, and the Spok on my helmets is small, but bright and high. Now as long as there was daylight, riding was easy. But when darkness comes, and the roads become more rural, the situation changes.

Most difficult section was when there was no cyclepath and the only thing I could see where the lines on the side of the road. Quickly after that, there was a cyclepath again. Being away from cars is one mayor worry less, even when you're a 'young fit adult male'. Under normal circumstances I would have continued to follow the route from the Fietsersbond. But from Roden on I used the route I know very well. Nice paths, good lights next to them.

Ten km from home, the only route was via a back road again. No lights and no lines. Also almost no other traffic. I quickly learned the best way to deal with this situation. Hold your headlight low to the ground and aim at the side of the road. I could see about 4 metres ahead, I was slow, but felt sure and save.

When I got home, at a quarter to eight, I wasn't really tired. The 90km had demanded a lot of concentration, but physically, it was no big deal. I cleaned the Q451 the next day and I took my Backbone with me to the shower. The backpack now is ready for the 23th of November, for the trip to Straelen.

More photos on Picasa.

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