Travellers' Tales: the road to Rotterdam

A bike parked on an empty cycle lane next to a windmill
Traffic isn't a problem
When the wind blows; on his way to Rotterdam, Pete Martin runs head first into a 'Dutch Hill'.

There are only three things to say about cycling in Holland: wind, wind, and more wind. Mostly when I cycle, there is a rhythm and it becomes meditative and therapeutic, but every now and then it’s not like that at all. Today, every bone and muscle in my body aches.

The wind is incessant. It’s unreal. Cycling away from the Rhine, the terrain is boring. The riverside cycle tracks offer better views but when it’s so open, there is only the wind. It’s mostly at me, occasionally at my side, but never at my back.

Cyclists on road bikes fly past in the other direction. I’m not sure what is worse: cycling into the wind or trying to stay upright when it’s from the side.

Most of my time is spent stuck in first gear. I am tempted to stop altogether in Dreumel but I don’t have the heart to go the one kilometre off the cycle route into town to find a guest house in case there isn’t one.

I make it somehow to Zaltbommel. I am struggling to decide whether to give up on my journey or persevere. I have 80km or so to go to Rotterdam tomorrow to complete my Rhine journey from Lake Constance, but I know I cannot have a day like this again.

Extracted from Pete Martin's book, Revolutions