Fuelled by a random yet delicious breakfast of Osservost (raw spiced minced beef, with a consistency and shape somewhere between sausage and pate), fresh bread, pastries, steak, juice and Dioralyte, we set off from Amsterdam nice and early in order to make the big ride half the length of Holland towards Maastricht in the southern tip. We took a route recommended by Fiona and Henning and after a few false starts and after 80 kms of pretty boring roads as far as Eindhoven, we suddenly discovered one of The Netherlands most impressive sights, the dykes.
Riding the dykes.
These are part of an enormous post-war project to deal with Holland's constantly erratic water table, with the dykes raised to delta sea level and creating a huge artificial barrier (along with dams, sluices and storm barriers creating a man-made coastline) against water overwhelming the land. Due to constant drainage and reclaiming of land, the peat soil has compressed itself to more than 2 metres below sea level in some places. The dykes form good inland protection from the three major rivers that carve the country up, the Rhine, Maas and Vaal.
We ended up pushing on past Rhenen where Fiona and Henning suggested camping, as it just felt good to do a long ride. However, by the time we got into Oss I think I was the hungriest I have ever been in my life. We went to some place in the town square and devoured half the menu between us. Then, thoroughly sated, we found a quiet field off the beaten track and spent a satisfied night sleeping for free.
So, who's going to move the dead rabbit in the field then?
Av. 20.2kph, Max. 34.9 kph, Time 6.01.49, Dist. 123.72 kms