Day 104: Niedermormter, Germany to Ooij, Netherlands - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2012

Day 104: Niedermormter, Germany to Ooij, Netherlands

Our semi-private spot near the washroom in the semi-deserted campsite allowed us to confidently charge our electronics, always a big plus. The office also had ordered fresh buns for us, so we started off in good shape.

After a few minutes pedalling (enough to pass through two or three towns!) we came to a ReWe, which is another small grocery, in this case about ¼ the size of a Lidl. However the ReWe had an onsite bakery, and the bakery had plum coffee cake (pflaume kuchen), just made – just like Sandra makes us at home! A couple pieces of this and we had power for some real cycling!

That power was needed almost immediately, as wind and cold became wind driven cold rain. We put on our foul weather gear, which is pretty effective, and carried on. Despite the head wind and driven rain we did not get too tired. Pflaume kuchen will do that.

The towns came and went quite nicely as we drove inexorably for Holland. Finally, we reached the border, at Millingen. No brass bands awaited us, and there was nobody with little Dutch cheese samples. Rather there was an “Information”, which turned out to be a locked cabinet.

We took a seat in a bus shelter and ate our bread and cheese and turkey breast slices. Looking around, we saw one of those “LF” dutch bike route signs, in this case LF3. We sort of knew where this goes, but no matter, since only one or two other signs for it made an appearance in the next 20 km. What we did not see was any more of the little man on a bike with wheels made of EU stars – the Rhine Bike Route sign we had been following.

We soon did see the “famous” Dutch location node signs, but in some hours of cycling could not (a) assure ourselves that there would be a consistent set of signs to follow to a given node or (b) ever notice a destination node.

So, since we wanted to go to Nijmegen, to see the bike museum, we just hopped on a road (roads have “signs” like Nijmegen this way) and followed the bike path that was generally beside the road.

At least we mostly followed. Our road had construction, and a detour. The detour had special bike detour signs. There were also dozens of other signs. We had become pretty good with German road signs, but Dutch is a whole new game. The words, like with German, sound a bit like English and sometimes you can suss them out. Other times, it is just nonsense and sometimes downright hilarious. Right now, there is not enough internet to upload the dozen or two dozen cuckoo sounding signs that we encountered, but soon enough you will be able to have a look and maybe a chuckle.

We did actually arrive in Nijmegen, though the bike paths had a lot of high school kids in packs that had to be shoved over to their side of the path. Another problem is that motorcycles (or scooters) are allowed on the paths, and several buzzed past us at full highway speeds. The famous Netherlands cyclists’ heaven was so far not getting good grades from us.

In Nijmegen, with signs and the GPS we could see where the bike museum was. It was down a steep hill with many steps, and a narrow runway where an unloaded narrow bike would have a chance of being walked. What a place for a bike museum!

Using sherpa-like skills and both brakes, the bikes came down. At the bike museum, the man in the office let us bring the bikes inside. In Holland, we do not intend to leave our bikes unattended.

The bike museum was completely fabulous. It covered bikes from their earliest inception until the early 1900’s, with a tip of the hat to some fancy bikes of the 50’s, and early folding bikes by Moulton.

The “fabulous” designation comes from the sheer number of bikes on display, from their restoration to mint condition, and from their illustration of the phenomenal variety of innovative designs and mechanical achievements that did exist in the past. There were various forms of tandems, various propulsion methods, various seating positions, various gearing systems, .. it was truly mind boggling. The quality of construction and the ability to form and connect mechanical parts back then was surprising.

Today we passed two “innovative” design bikes out on the road. One had five or six people, I think, arranged in a semi circle, and one was a recumbent for four. They were neat, but you know what? like the electric car, it has all been thought through before.

We now needed to figure out how to make our way deeper into the country. If we could not perhaps find the signs we had planned on, we needed to either adopt the node system, meaning finding a node map, or we needed to use the road system, meaning finding a road map. Since it was now late, we just struck off into the countryside, maybe to find a wild camp site.

Instead, we came to a camping, basically organized in an old farmer’s back yard. However there was a covered table and chairs, and power, so hooray. Best of all, the old farmer, not speaking a word of English, understood our gibberish and came up with the perfect road map for the area where we plan to cycle.

So now we are in fairly good shape, although a node map would be nice, and the feeling that we could trust the node signs would be nice. As far as internet goes, Lidl wants .83 Euro per MB, which means a cost of up to 20 euros a day to maintain this blog in the style it is accustomed to. So we need another answer. Maybe we will find other camping with available internet. In the meantime, it’s text only – as long as our British credit holds out. Unfortunately, the pictures and captions often tell a lot of the story. Oh well, they will be there in time.

A "real" camping spot
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Now we are close to Holland, we are seeing lots of cows
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Here is a side by side comparison of the "German" stucco to the "Dutch" brick house
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Acres of plum kuchen
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Our power kuchens
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Kuchen art
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Our typical path for the morning
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Look, twins!
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Houses in Grieth
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Wind blown wet Dodie
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We have seen so many of these I figured I should record one. We like to think of Schaden as "shoddy" though it really means "damaged".
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"Bilingual" sign in Griethausen, but not in the French/English sense that Canadians think of it.
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A weird war memorial that seems to tie the world war up with the Siegfried legend.
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Near Brienen
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A gaggle of people out for a ride
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Crazy bike #1
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Crazy bike #2
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Horses running to go look at the crazy bikes (no kidding).
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Church style in Duffelward
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Made it to Holland!
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First (and almost last) Dutch long distance route sign.
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The German border (looking back from Holland)
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Street right off the bat with bike lanes on both sides
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Say what? (Editor's note - from many days later, we now know this means "Situation Changed" I'd say that was an accurate assessment for us.)
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Our first traditional windmill
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A road, with separate bike lane beside
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Say what?
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Say what?
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Our first node system "Fietsroutenetwerk" sign. It means this way to point 95. At point 95 there will be a map showing which points you can go to from there.
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Houses in Leuth
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Say what?
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Say what?
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Say what?
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A miniature horse
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Say what?
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Say what?
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A node (station?) sign
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Nijmegen
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The way to the bike museum
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The bike museum
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One of a zillion interesting bikes
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One other demo bike in the museum. For a pile more, including some Moulton folding bikes and 50's fancy bikes, see the end of this post. If you really want to go crazy, I took tons more photos that have not been uploaded.
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Our backyard camp .. but with power and shelter
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MORE FROM THE BIKE MUSEUM:

Bikes
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Bikes
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Bikes
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Bikes
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Bikes - headlamps
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Bikes - single track railroad bike
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Bikes
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Bikes - monocycle
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Bikes - wooden!
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Bikes - folder
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Bikes - you lie flat out
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Bikes - parts and gearing display - there were lots of these partial frames
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Bikes - parts and gearing
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Bikes - Moulton
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Bikes - Moulton
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Bikes - fancy
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Bikes - radio!
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Bikes - Frank Van Rijn touring bike from round the world tour
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Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 5,312 km (3,299 miles)

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