When I first considered buying a bike; I knew I was investing a lot of money and taking a risk, but a larger part of me thought it would probably end up sitting in the garage collecting cob-webs, not kilometers!
But how wrong I was. It has to be one of the best investments I’ve made to date. Not only do I feel fitter and healthier (we’re almost in December and I haven’t yet had a cold and my asthma is surprisingly good), but I’ve made a wealth of fantastic friends, have a training and race plan for 2012 (!) and my passion for Cycling has changed just about every aspect of my life, from who I socialize with, what 80% of my conversations are about (sorry to my non-cycling friends about that one!), where I book a holiday and how can I get my bike there, right down to what I want for my career.Ok, some of you may say I’m obsessed, I’d just say I’m passionate!
On Saturday, 4 brave winter Cyclodammers hit the road at a reasonable time of 11am to beat the cold (and guarantee if we stopped for a warm drink and something to eat that somewhere would be open!), and headed North across the Ij, for a 50km ride through the ‘Waterlands’, a connection of villages with more dikes than roads. It’s here that I first fell in love with being on the bike and a great appreciation for the Dutch countryside.
The views along this route are stunning. Quaint cobbled villages with small Dutch fishing houses (or ‘Stolpboerderijen’ as they’re apparently named – square houses with a pyramidal roofs), long wide tow-paths with KMs of water meeting the horizon on one side, and farmland scattered in cows, sheep and birds/ducks the other. Saturday happened to be one of the most stunning winter days so far this year and yet again I fell in love with being on the bike again.
It’s one of those routes that is fast if you want it to be, but given my off-season 25kmph rule, it’s also one that you can be at peace with your surroundings and happy to take it in at a leisurely pace (well ok, I wasn’t agreeing with this statement a number of months back when we got caught in 30kmph winds!). If this happens to be my last long ride in Holland for 2011, then I’m certainly not complaining and can’t wait to get back out there with fellow members of Cyclodam in the Spring.