It seems only yesterday we were spending our days in the sun, albeit socially distant from each other. This year might have had plenty of new to it in the beginning but the varnish has certainly faded by now. It might even have started to chip in some places. Working from home and the impact it that has on our lives is certainly not to be taken lightly. Socially impactful, for sure. Mentally, well that's something we will certainly keep talking about for years.
And as the summer feels like a distant memory now, it reminds me of how time speeds up when you don't experience new things. This might also explain why children experience a slower sense of time than adults. Everything is new while experiencing and observing the world without bias. Or at least they start out that way.
[...] a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The Sleeper must awaken.
One of the reasons I love cycling is the experience of going places I haven’t been before, going somewhere unfamiliar. Especially so in nature on unpaved roads. With a friend or in solo formation, leaving nothing but tire tracks on unpaved roads behind. Amongst the Trees.
In the last couple of months two of those experiences stand out.
First was at the end of September. My parents were on holiday on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland in the province of Zeeland in The Netherlands. Zeeland is famous for its the lack of people, as well as polders and plenty of dykes but lets not forget the Delta Works. If us lowlanders ever started to say no to the sea, it was definitely here first. Certainly after The flood of 1953. Although this affected the entire North Sea region, Zeeland was one of the most impacted by this disaster. It's worth a visit to the Watersnoodmuseum or Flood Museum in Ouwerkerk if you're ever in the region. Lots of history that has shaped the landscape and its people.
Besides the museum there is plenty to go see on the island. Certainly a weekends worth. One of those is Boswachterij Westenschouwen, a forested region with lots of MTB, hiking and horse trails, with the North Sea always near by.
The weather didn't permit that many outings, but I grabbed the one chance I had to ride through the many polders. There is however a longer route, starting and ending in Zierikzee. It includes the MTB path I mentioned earlier that goes through the Boswachterij Westenschouwen. In the near future I'll most certainly return to ride it.
Secondly I had been planning on going on a multi-day bike trip that included camping during the summer. At the time however I wasn't in the right frame of mind and this seemed a bit daunting to undertake.
I opted instead to change the route to a one day ride and included a bit of another route I grabbed from Yorit Kluitman.
It ended up being a 133 K ride from Arnhem to Zwolle by means of the Veluwe. I was joined by my friend Laurens Boex.
During the ride we made a much needed caffeine stop at Schenkers in Apeldoorn, were, if you’re ever there, you should do yourself a favor and grab a havermoutkoek.
It was one of the best off-road rides I made this year. The Veluwe is such a beautiful nature area, more so due the lack of humans that Friday. Well, besides Laurens of course.
I think it's worth mentioning that Laurens finished the Race Around The Netherlands this year. A solo ultra distance bikepacking race that covers 1900 kilometres and 6800 meters of elevation. He completed it in 4 days, 15 hours and 9 minutes. Well done Boex.