The last few days have been A.MAY.ZING.
The weather has been insanely perfect. Finally we can shed our coats, sweaters and scarves and hey- even socks (yes I live for the first day of the year where I don’t have to wear socks!!!) and actually have some lovely spring weather. I am not one to complain usually about weather and I am not super affected if it is rainy or cold. I know that some people are affected so I do try very hard to not be too simplistic about it – I honestly think (for me) that how you feel has to really come from within and we can’t let the weather dictate “good” or “bad”. For some people this simply isn’t true, they can become very depressed if subjected to too many dark and dreary days. We do live in the Netherlands though and it does rain a lot here, we have to keep the sun shining from our hearts in that case, right?
But anyway…while I *think* I’m not affected I have to say the last couple of days I feel incredibly happy. Like the Bliss-type of happy. Why? Because the last two days I have been out in the sunshine, enjoying the fresh air and the gorgeous surroundings. Even just listening to the birds in the woods is like a symphony in my ears. Truly incredible. So maybe the weather really can do a lot for our mood?
Yesterday we went to my mother-in-law’s with the bike for the first time on our new bike rack for the car. I have the Leontien Ladies Ride coming up next weekend, so I wanted to get a good ride or two in, before doing 70KM in one go. So after a little visit (and some non-paleo ice cream…) with MIL, BIL and SIL, I headed out with my trusty map to go to Ede and then swing back around to Arnhem. Some of the route was twice the same, but most wasn’t. It was truly glorious.
Today was equally incredible, but today I wasn’t alone. Hubs joined me for a planned 36KM ride from Putten to Hardewijk and back. Putten is about 60KM from us, but now that we have the bike rack, it’s a non-issue :) Hubs isn’t as up to speed on fitness as I am (LOL) so we didn’t want to go too far or for too long, just in case. But he did great! We went quite a bit slower than I normally go when I”m alone (my avg pace was 16.3KM/hr alone; today’s was 13.3), and we stopped quite a bit along the way just to enjoy everything around us. I was looking forward to an ICE COLD WHITE BEER (oh yes and oh no not paleo friendly), somewhere along the way after presumably working up a sweat and burning off some calories.
I should mention that I’m still not eating bread and trying as hard as possible to eat paleo where I can. So yesterday AND today I had chopped veggies with me, dried sausage (found some 97% gluten-free in the supermarket) and pickles (as shown above; great to replace electrolytes). Of course we also had plenty of water with us. Since I’m not super strict, you will “hear” me mention beer and other things that aren’t exactly paleo (hello ice cream!), but hey, I’m living life and enjoying everything, many things in moderation :)
So Putten to Hardewijk; I haven’t really been out in this area much, certainly not in Hardewijk and little did I really know there was a lake there! OH EM GEE, seriously the view did not get better! Along the way were farms, sheep, cute little cafes, and lots of forest. Once we hit Hardewijk we stopped to have our lunch, then moved out circling around back through the woods. At about 23KM or so, we stopped literally at this little hut where you could self-serve coffee, tea, cookies, soup and have a little break. You just leave your coins in the little container, totally based on trust. I love this concept SO much. Turns out they are scattered all over, and you can be sure we’ll be locating one of these little places again.
A few kilometers further, we found another little cafe in the woods and it was time for that lovely liquid of life and some bitterballen and to soak up just a few more rays of sunshine.
Sadly it was time to leave, since we didn’t want to be home later than 7pm, so we made our way back to Putten and after about 20 minutes underway we were back at our car.
The bike rack has already been a GREAT investment; I simply can’t WAIT to map out more routes for us to do!
I think after these two days of cycling, I’m definitely ready for the ladies ride next weekend!
Do you love to cycle? how far do you go? Do you use any tools to help you find the best routes or do you just go out there and do it? What’s been one of your most favourite days cycling ever?
Wow it really looks like you had a great two days indeed! You experienced exactly what I do with the weather only I go a little more down on the dark days. When the sun is shining I feel like I come ALIVE, it’s that same kind of blissfulness. I really really notice the LACK of that bliss during the dark periods, I’m ok, but only ok, and that never feels like quite enough.
I WANT A BIKE RACK OMG!! I want one more than ever now and I’m going to tell Xander he can blame you haha
A girl I know is selling her house in Hardewijk, I thought they’d be wicked expensive but it’s not. Lovely home for only 179k. I like that area.
I totally looked at the travel / commute from Hardewijk, I loved it so much! alas, even further than now :(
you guys should definitely get a rack though! they are awesome!
Fabulous post! …and what a glorious place to bike. I used to do really long fietstochten yrs ago with my ex but since getting sick it went on the back burner. But this week I started once again…bike rides of 15-20kms and loving it! Isn’t it gorgeous! Just flying through woods, hearing birds, seeing like-minded folks….geez, I’d SO love to do that Leontine ride with you! Hope you take loads of pics and best of luck!
it IS so wonderful Suz! Next year we’ll organise a group of us to go!
Fantastic photos! And what a great time! I wish we had a women’s riding club in our area…. Trying to get anyone in Wisconsin to hit the road on a bike (as a woman) is nearly impossible…. So, I go it alone or with the guys. A ride is a ride, despite the company. :)
Thanks Sarah! definitely ride with the boys if the girls won’t go!
This is awesome! Congrats!
Looks like a fantastic weekend. I like cycling okay, but I’ve never gone on any long bike rides. I also think that having a better bike would help. My “good” one is still at my parents’ house while the one I have here is all old and rusty, no gears etc.
yeah biking is best on a decent bike… I can imagine you don’t really want to hit up any hills with no gear! Melissa did it once with me on my stepdaughters bike; I imagine she may be still secretly cursing me for it!
Love the coffee huts. I’d never come across those before. How I wish I could jump in a car, throw the bike on a rack and take off. I’ve given up trying to get my husband or children out cycling for fun. I love zooming along the dike with a tailwind and it feels like flying; pure joy! My absolute favourite cycle route of all time was in England, in East Kent. There’s a stretch of lane winding through hedgerows and fruit orchards, where the road is smooth and flat. Bliss! And I like the triumph when you beat a hill, too. I come from a cycling family, and my grandad used to take me out with a group of teenagers on a Saturday morning to cycle the lanes, stop for tea and a Mars Bar. One of the reasons I was destined to come to the Netherlands;-)
that sounds awesome Sarah, your biking in East Kent. I can cycle over your way and we could go one day for a ride if you like?
That’d be great, although I’m sure I’d slow you down. Blame it on the bike; I’ve only got a hybrid city bike at the moment. Let’s make a date!
don’t care much about speed Sarah. To be honest I go slower even when I’m with Hubs. I adapt easily. and I too “only” have a hybrid bike!
Wow. Beautiful pictures. I’m looking forward to going there some day. I have a friend in Hilversum. I’m looking forward to getting a bike. Just need to get a job first;-)
Hey Wendy, how funny, when I first moved here I worked in Hilversum. Hubs and I are actually still looking into moving there at some point. It’s nice town. I did a race there for the first time back in April too; was really nice going back! Keep us posted about your bike!