Cycling in England

The ‘temporary’ final leg: London to Ridderkerk

by Bicycle Junkies
27 comments 6540 views

With mixed feelings and hesitation I hit the enter button, moments later a flight back to Europe is a fact… To say farewell to this cycling life in a decent way, we have booked a flight to London to cycle the final leg back to the Netherlands. We want to end this journey in style!

It’s a sunny day in Vancouver as Paul and Jan drive us to the airport. I’m a bit nervous. Our panniers are wrapped together in so called immigrant bags and Elmar has carefully put our bikes in boxes. The flight attendant is aware of the regulations and we pay 150 Canadian dollar for each bike. As we drop off our bikes at the oversized luggage counter we have to open up the boxes for a check. The machine starts to bleep and a supervisor is called… Apparently some explosive residue has been found (?) and we need to be escorted to the personal check. Abruptly we have to say goodbye to Paul and Jan and with tears flowing we hug each other and promise to meet each other again, and we definately will!

Nine long hours later we are back in Europe; many kilometers have passed by in a flash and the reality is slowly hitting us: the end of this journey is nearing. But, we are postponing the inevitable and plan a two week tour through South England, France and Belgium. December looks like a great time to be riding our bikes in this part of the world. πŸ˜‰

Cycling in England

Cycling Nacional Cycle Route (NCN) 4 to Reading

We head East towards Reading while wind and rain are hitting us in the face. Yep, we’re in England! With a jetlag still running around our tired bodies it’s almost 11 o’clock in the morning before we finally pedal away. Days are short, open campsites are hard to find and the wind is making our daily average drop down to a mere 45 kilometers. Slowly we find our rhythm again and we follow the well signed NCN 4 and 23 over local farm roads through a hilly part of England. We drop down to the sea and pass the football stadium of Southampton to pitch our tent near Portsmouth where we meet up with Myles! It’s great to see him and his lovely girlfriend Zosh and we chat the evening away with a few pints of Guinness.

Following NCN 2 along the South coast of England we pass pictoresque towns, big cities and white rock formations. Even though there are many bicycle routes, the usually polite English people change into bicycle killing drivers; add the fact that we are not used to riding on ‘the wrong side’ of the road, it makes cycling here an every day challenge!

We show up at a small harbour and have to wait for the skipper to bring us to the other side; in his tiny pink ferry! Every now and then the sun peaks through the clouds andΒ  with a tail wind we reach Dover in just a couple of relaxing days.

Cycling in England
The pink ferry waiting room
Cycling in England
..and the pink ferry!
Cycling in England
Cycling along the coast and the white cliffs
Cycling in England
Beach houses
Cycling in England
Sunset on the Southern coast
Cycling in England
England: churches and sheep
Β It’s pouring rain when we wake up. The tent is soaking wet and we are surrounded by a mud pool. Inside we keep everything dry and quickly put our stuff in our panniers; protected by our not so protective raingear we accept the challenge and cycle on the farm roads towards the ferry dock. Half an hour later we are crossing the North Sea towards Calais in France. Despite the stormy winds, the crossing is very calm and one and half hour later we set foot on mainland Europe. As of this moment there is no more time difference between us and our families and friends in The Netherlands.

We cross into Belgium and find a few campsites along the way that are still open for tents, but they are all surprised to see us here this time of the year! As we follow the North Sea Cycle Route we pass places that look so familiar; we have cycled here many times before and it feels like nothing has changed. Mixed feeling are running around; excitement to see our closest family and friends again and sadness that this adventure will soon be over. New dreams and plans are emerging and we have found new cycling goals for the coming years!

We stop at a local cafe and treat ourselves to the famous Dutch ‘coffee with apple pie’. The owner is curious and asks about our adventure. “Has it been a long ride?” “Well…”
“Did you ride for charity? Why did you do this?”
“Just for fun!! Yes, just for fun. Not for charity, not to find ourselves (?).., just to live life!”

Cycling in Belgium

Rain, mist and mud

The moment we cross into the Netherlands I feel different; I felt like a hero on my bicycle riding through all those countries, now I feel like just another Dutchie, looking like a hobo… I feel misplaced. Not special anymore, but darn, we are special! We have had an amazing adventure on our bikes! We have learned more about life and society than anyone else! We should be proud! We are proud of ourselves! We are just amazing! Haha, so who wants to offer us a job? πŸ˜‰

Cycling in the Netherlands

Good memories…

December 14 is d-day; family and friends are waiting for us in Ridderkerk. We sneak our way to the meeting point, not letting anybody know where exactly we are. Arthur, our brother in law, sends us a text message: “Yes, we are all here!” Hand in hand we finish our ride, with a big smile on our faces. It’s not over, it’s not done, it simply tastes like more! It feels like yesterday that we had left… time flies when you are having fun!

Cycling in Belgium

Into the unknown… literally…

Statistics

  • Days on the road: 27 months and 6 days
  • Cycling days: 463
  • Total distance: 31.399 kilometers
  • Average distance per day: 67,9 km
  • Longest day: 186 km
  • Shortest day: 12 km
  • Highest elevation: 5000m
  • # Flat tires: too many!
  • Favorite country: Peru
  • Favorite ride: Peru’s Great Divide, Laguna Route in Bolivia and Paso Sico
  • Most amazing place without bikes: Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and Foz do Iguacu
  • How many fights we had: your everyday married couple arguments, no big fights

Want to know more facts? Drop us a line below!

 

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27 comments

Peter de Visser December 17, 2015 - 15:06

Diep,…diep respect.

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Arjen e Vries December 17, 2015 - 15:13

Hear Hear πŸ™‚

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Henk December 17, 2015 - 15:17

Dank je wel voor het vertellen van jullie verhaal. Was mooi om te volgen.

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cock en ria mierop December 17, 2015 - 15:53

Het was geweldig om jullie verslag te lezen. We hebben genoten. Bedankt.
Liefs Cock en Ria

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Wim Verhoef December 17, 2015 - 15:54

Welkom thuis.

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peter van donge December 17, 2015 - 16:41

Welkom thuis,
Het was leuk om jullie reis op deze manier mee kunnen te maken.

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Paul vanPeenen December 17, 2015 - 16:42

Boohoohoooooo! It’s over πŸ™ But a new adventure is just beginning. We miss you guys and hope to meet again soon.

xoxoxo from Vancouver.

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Ben & Ingrid December 17, 2015 - 16:44

Welkom thuis ! We hebben erg genoten van jullie reisverslagen, en nu de afkickblues……….

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Paul December 17, 2015 - 17:58

Well Done, I loved reading the Blog and looking at the fantastic photos , Chapeau !:)

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Nico December 17, 2015 - 18:44

Ellen, Elmar, Let’s meet when you have time πŸ™‚

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Jan December 17, 2015 - 20:37

I wish you well on the start of your new life journey. We will miss your blog and most of all we miss the two of you! We look forward to cycling together again in the near future πŸ™‚ xoxo

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Dory December 17, 2015 - 20:43

Wat een super reis hebben jullie gemaakt!
Ik heb genoten van jullie verhalen!
En ik hoop dat jullie ergens op een of andere fietsbeurs jullie verhaal gaan vertellen πŸ™‚

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Michal Klimek December 18, 2015 - 03:35

Hello from super touristy Laos!
Our mac started working again here after having difficulties in China so we can go through all your stuff πŸ˜‰ Enjoy your time in Europe with friends and family and we guess your future plans will soon or later appear here. If not, we will see you in Netherlands or somewhere on the road, anyway πŸ˜‰ Take care both! Regards Zuza and Michal

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Dirk December 18, 2015 - 06:57

Congratulations – we are just wondering how you will be able to adapt to the abnormal life again. We’ve only been following you recently but what we’ve seen was great – and your photobook is wonderfull

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Peter December 18, 2015 - 13:00

Hallo Ellen en Elmar, ik heb jullie tocht met veel plezier, bewondering, verwondering en ook wat jaloezie gevolgd. Bedankt dat jullie dit met ons hebben willen delen. Ik vond het erg inspirerend.

Peter

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Danny December 18, 2015 - 13:13

Dank U wel dat we deze reis konden volgen via jullie blog. Wij hebben er van genoten.

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Joop December 18, 2015 - 14:24

Welkom terug in Nederland. Een mooie prestatie waar je erg trots op mag zijn. Heb genoten van jullie reisverslagen en dan vooral van de prachtige foto’s.
Groet, Joop

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Cinderella December 18, 2015 - 15:37

Hoi Junkies Ellen en Elmar,

Waarom zijn jullie gestopt met datgene wat jullie voedt? Nu is fiets junkies zijn niet zo prijzig als vele andere verslavingen, maar ik neem aan dat de pot geld op is. Bij mij trouwens ook. Ik ben ook thuis maar de reden is minder leuk (moeder ziek).

Ik kan voorlopig nog niet denken aan werken in Nederland. Ik voel me ook zo speciaal. Een hele bijzondere nomade die hier niet meer past. Hebben jullie dat ook? Ik wens jullie alle kracht en succes.

Groetjes Cinderella

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Ad van Brunschot December 18, 2015 - 16:09

Dat moet een heel dubbel gevoel geweest zijn. Weer thuis en daar de blijdschap van. Het gemis van het op reis zijn en daar de domper van. Ik hoop dat jullie een lezing gaan geven over jullie reis, ik kijk er naar uit om de verhalen uit jullie mond te horen.

Gefeliciteerd!!!

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Hetty Luppes December 18, 2015 - 20:04

Dank voor het delen! Zeer genoten! Ook ik wacht een aankondiging van een lezing af!
Fijne feestdagen en eniet weer van Nederland..

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peter kuijt December 18, 2015 - 21:28

ik heb genoten van jullie avontuur
leuke verslagen en prachtige foto`s
ben benieuwd hoe nu verder
groetjes peter

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Myles & Miles December 19, 2015 - 08:57

Welcome home!!! What a great adventure! Great seeing you guys in sunny Southampton. Merry Christmas and Happy adventures in 2016. Xxx

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Bruno en Hilda December 20, 2015 - 17:39

Hallo Elmar en Ellen,

welkom terug! Wat een reis hebben jullie gemaakt.
De tijd van jullie leven denk ik.
Ik wens jullie nu veel sterkte voor de terugkomst. Wat nu? Ben benieuwd.
Ik hoop om jullie binnenkort weer te zien.
Fijne dagen,

Bruno & Hilda

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Jan December 20, 2015 - 20:38

Dag Elmar en Ellen,

Wat was het leuk om jullie te volgen op deze reis. En wat een mooie foto’s ! Ik hoor het graag als jullie lezingen gaan geven. Helaas heb ik geen baan voor jullie. We hebben trouwens nog steeds veel plezier van onze Avaghon, in elkaar gezet door Elmar, kort voor vertrek.

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erik December 21, 2015 - 09:03

Welkom terug in Nederland ! Ik heb genoten van jullie verhalen en foto’s. Wat een mooie reis avontuur. Het zal even wennen zijn om weer terug te zijn…

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Pa en Ma December 23, 2015 - 14:39

Hallo El en El
wat een levenservaring hebben jullie opgedaan.
We hebben genoten van de verhalen en de mooie foto,s.
Maar zijn toch dat jullie weer thuis zijn
welcome Home
Paps en Mams:)

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Sarah December 26, 2015 - 14:51

That’s amazing! I’ve always wondered what it was like every time we drove by cyclists during our travels. Thank you for providing a wonderful insight. Looking forward to your next adventures.

Reply

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