Cycling to Zeeland: pure enjoyment despite strong winds | To travel

Daughter and followers camping in Zeeland. “Shall we look past a few days?” suggests my wife. “Nice on the bike!”

We map a route using the ANWB cycle crossing planner, after which we record the overnight stays in B & Bs. Because you can come up with something spontaneous, it’s nice if you have the certainty that you have a roof over your head in the evening.

The plan is to cycle about 75 miles a day; through the Green Heart and back along the North Sea coast. Because our destination Oostkapelle is about 225 kilometers away, we will be in the saddle for about six days. The bike paths in our country are amazing, but you never know the weather. It is therefore drizzle when we set off to the south on a windy Sunday morning.

After about 25 kilometers we reach Amsterdam, unfortunately inevitably on our route. The capital is said to be a cycling city, but after bicycle crossings there is a disaster.

Fortunately, there are still Google Maps, but cycling through Amsterdam with a phone in hand is even more dangerous than usual. Fortunately, we know the city a little, and after some detours we can breathe a sigh of relief over a sandwich at Bosbaan in Amstelveen. We immediately charge the battery for my wife’s electric bike.

Take a break overlooking the Grevelingenmeer.

Take a break overlooking the Grevelingenmeer.

Outside, winds of 4 to 5 are still coming from the southwest. That is how it will unfortunately remain for the next few days. Three days with strong winds against the wind, and because we sometimes have to shelter under trees and bus shelter from heavy rain showers, our mood is put to the test.

But when we cycle towards the evening into Bodegraven and a little later enter the beautiful B&B where a nice wine and cup of coffee is ready, everything is quickly forgotten. Lovely place, Bodegraven, which in addition to a nice catering square also has a cheese monument and museum.

The next day, Brielle is the target. We cycle through flat polders, nature reserves, quiet villages and along the green borders of Rotterdam. Delicious, only we do not pass up any opportunity to have a cup of coffee with something delicious.

First in Schiedam, about forty kilometers away, we pass such a ‘food market’ with chicken and hamburger jobs blown up from America. Because both our ‘tank’ and the bicycle battery have become quite empty due to the strong headwind, we have no choice but to take a burger. Let the sky open right there!

Via the ferry from Maassluis we cross to the former island of Rozenburg, where we will be looking for our next B&B in ancient Brielle. The third day quickly back in the saddle, for three cool crossings await us: Haringvlietdam, Brouwersdam and Oosterscheldekering with the working island Neeltje Jans.

Kitesurfers skimmer over the sea at Brouwersdam.

Kitesurfers skimmer over the sea at Brouwersdam.

So full in the wind, but it’s great to be able to cycle over this beautiful piece of Dutch glory. Especially around Brouwersdam, with the red bike path at the top of the dike, with kitesurfers next to you shimmering over the blue waters of the North Sea and on the other side the windsurfers on the Grevelingenmeer. A fantastic experience.

Oosterscheldekering is long and windy. Many will remember the iconic images of the end of the second stage of the Tour de France in 2015, which was won by the German André Greipel.

Now we pedal deep across the handlebars to the other side and feel like more participants in the Headwind Cycling Championship, which is held here every year. After cycling a few more miles on the other side, we forget all the fatigue when we feel our grandson’s arms around the sweaty neck.

chat

When we cycle back after a few wonderful days, the first day is almost the same as the last. Only we now cycle along the Oosterschelde on Noord-Beveland instead of ‘inside’ along Burgh-Haamstede.

After another night in Brielle, we cycle via Maassluis and along the always exciting Nieuwe Waterweg to Hoek van Holland, where we drink coffee on the wonderfully wide beach and have a nice chat with a mother and daughter who, as soon as the weather is good, here a terrace hoe. This is also the beauty of going on holiday in your own country: you can have a chat.

From Hoek van Holland it is really nice, especially because the wind is still blowing strongly from the southwest and blowing us, so to speak, over a beautiful dune bike path to Noordwijk. We pass Kijkduin, where you can have a good lunch, and Scheveningen, where it is very cozy but also very busy. We cycle via Katwijk to Noordwijk, where we spend the night.

Nowhere are more beautiful bike paths than in Holland.

Nowhere are more beautiful bike paths than in Holland.

The last day we go via Haarlem and the beautiful recreational area Spaarnwoude where the planes fly low over. If passengers are still waiting for their suitcases at the baggage claim, we will cycle the last kilometers home in the fresh air.

Cycling in the Netherlands is pure pleasure, but then the weather must be good …

Nice ferry service

A good route to get to the mainland from the South Dutch islands is the ferry connection between Futureland on Maasvlakte 2 and Berghaven in Hoek van Holland.

The ferry sails seven days a week during the summer between 1 April and 1 October, departing every two hours. A single trip takes an hour and costs € 6.80; a return takes two hours and costs € 11.50.

Children from 4 to 11 years get a 50% discount, bicycles are allowed for free.

Along the way, you can not only enjoy the activity in the port of Rotterdam, but also sunbathing seals.

Take the ferry to Maassluis on the Nieuwe Waterweg.

By ferry to Maassluis on the Nieuwe Waterweg.

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