3. A Mean Norwester

Our plan was to head downtown and find one of the many shops where you could get rental bikes, but at breakfast Jan said, “Maybe you would like to use our bikes. Shall we have a look and see if they suit you?”

My answer was yes.

The bikes were old but solid. Jan gave me a look when he wheeled out Keenan’s bike, as if to say, “He won’t mind a lady’s frame, will he?” But I don’t think Keenan even knows- you see guys riding around on ‘lady’s’ frames all over Japan- It’s pretty standard.

My bike’s chain was stuck in the middle forward sprocket, but with the flat riding I knew I wouldn’t need the other gears and besides, they have a saying in Holland, “Never look a gift bike in the front dérailleur.”


This passionate couple posed for Keenan.   Central Station parking

The plan was to ask for a good bike route to our next destination, Amersfoort, but the crowds at the tourist office were so large that I decided to wing it and get on the road- How hard could it be to find Amersfoort?

Central Station    It would be a four to five hour ride to Amersfoort so we stopped mucking about and took off on an ESE course out of the city. Along the way I ask pededestrians and bikers for directions. We passed a large windmill and Keenan said, “Papa, let me get a picture!” but the rain had begun and I wanted to make time. “No, let’s get moving! We’ll see tons of those. This is Holland!”

I asked a teenage kid if we were on the right track and he said let me get my Dad. Dad walked over and said, a little loudly, “Don’t bicycle to Amersfoort today!”

Then he repeated himself and added, “Today there is a level 9 storm hitting the country and it’s too dangerous to ride. Don’t do it! That’s the best advice I can give you. There’s a station right down the road here and you can take the train, if they are running. Good luck!

Here is someone who wasn’t opposed to riding out the storm in comfort and ease.   When we arrived on Amersfoort, the rains had kicked in full blast, and after the fifteen minute ride to the Friends of the Bike house we were cold and soaked, but happy to reach shelter and relieved that we didn’t have to ride through four hours of this stormy weather.

We washed up and came Barack downstairs where Mrs. Jonk had hot chicken soup Waiting for u son the coffee table in the living room. While we were warming up, watching the Tour de France on  the TV, another guest pulled in.

There was animated discussion at the entry and then the new guest came to sit down with us in the living room.

Gwendonlyn had ridden all the way from Den Haag (The Hague).

“You must have been right in the middle of that storm!”

“Oh, yes, I was in the storm!”

“And how far is it from den Haag?”

“Oh, I got over a hundred kilometers today.”

“Wow, that’s amazing.”

She shrugged. “Yeah, but I have an electric bike.”

She was riding one of those quite popular electric power assisted bikes. “Still, a hundred kilometers, in THIS storm!”

Again she scoffed. “Ahh. It was a good tailwind!”

imageK, D and hard-charging Gwendolyn.

We all chatted for a while, then the race ended and Keenan and I headed into town for a burger and frittes.


Next: Military Glory

3 thoughts on “3. A Mean Norwester

  1. satwai July 30, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    Am trying to figure out if the Barack downstairs and U son the coffee table is some kind of Shum humorous comment about their English (unlikely, from my memories of Holland) or your German/Dutch? Or…?

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.W.Shumway December 14, 2015 / 11:25 am

      Ha. It is months since this blog and I was just having a look back at our trip and only now realize what you are talking about here. I don’t know how the auto-spell-check gave me Barack, but when you type on the ipad screen’s keyboard, you get all kinds of mistakes. It would have been cool if Barack had been downstairs- I’d love to take a bike tour around Holland with the pres. -only if he rode his Huffy 3 speed and wore the helmet and mom pants, though.


  2. DW May 14, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Gertrude, (and all other names)
    I’m enjoying your comments and getting a chuckle, but what the kech?


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