Sunday, 3 March 2019

Cycling between cities in the Netherlands part 19: Zwolle to Utrecht via Amersfoort

I did consider splitting this trip into two days but after some thought I decided to go ahead with cycling from Zwolle to Utrecht in one trip. This would be a long ride of about 100km, which I knew I would be able to do with no issues, but I knew it would take me most of the day to do as it simply isn't possible for me to ride at any significant speed on my heavy Dutch bike. My main concern was the weather; my previous longest ride, Utrecht to Nijmegen, was plagued with heavy, torrential rain and what should have been a lovely trip filled with views through the forests and countryside became one where I could barely see five feet in front of me, whist being soaked to the skin. Accommodation is booked months in advance and so the date of this ride was fixed, and so I prayed for some decent weather. As it turned out my entire holiday had so far had warm weather and the forecast in the days leading up to it predicted this to be the hottest yet, with temperatures possibly higher than 30c.

When planning a 100km cycling trip in the Netherlands there are many different routes you can choose from; such as direct cycleways alongside motorway and main roads or filtered roads and cycleways through forests and countryside. In the end I chose to cycle back into Flevoland, in order to cycle alongside the water in an effort to stay cool.

I left Zwolle early on a Sunday Morning as I hoped to have time left to explore Utrecht at the end of the day and wanted to get some miles in before the midday heat arrived. I cycled through an almost deserted and silent city centre on cycleways before they turned into a service road. I then turned right into a residential street which was heavily filtered at the end; it would be a struggle to get a cargo bike through here. I then turned left onto a cycleway which took me under the N337 road


As I came out of the underpass the cycleway curved round to run alongside a main road which took me out of Zwolle and onto a bridge over the IJssel river, out of the province of Overijssel and into Gelderland


From here I had a great view of the river and of the A28 motorway that crossed it. I continued to cycle alongside this road, under the A50 motorway and then into the village of Hattemerbroek as I used a roundabout and a floating bus stop, complete with cycle parking. I turned right into a filtered and narrow country road which took me over the A28 motorway and I then turned left onto a road through farmland


A cyclepath appeared to my left and so I was able to use that for the next kilometre, whilst the road ran parallel alongside. This brought me to the N308 road so I turned right and cycled alongside it on a bidirectional cycleway


I continued along here, with the cycleway bending away from the road in order to cross side roads away from the junction. Housing then began to appear on each side of the road as I entered the town of Oldebroek and then I started to see other people, all of them on bikes. This was the first time I had seen anyone (except those in cars driving past) since I had left Zwolle over an hour earlier. The cycleways briefly became painted cycle lanes as I passed through the centre of the town and as I passed a garage the digital display outside read that it was 23c, despite that it was not even 9am yet. The cycleway soon reappeared as I exited the town and continued on through farmland


I entered Elburg, cycling through a built up area alongside the main road, and then turned right at a roundabout to join a service / residential road with the main road into the town from the roundabout running parallel alongside. Here there were many people of all ages cycling, almost all of them well dressed and many wearing suits. The constant sound of church bells also rang out across the town, as if I needed any clues as to where they were all cycling to this early on a Sunday. The cycleway then became cobbled as it joined up with the cobbled street through the centre of this well preserved medieval old town


The surface for cycling was, however, much smoother than it would be for those driving through. As I passed through the town all of the bars and restaurants were busy laying out dozens and dozens of tables and chairs on the street. This is clearly a very popular tourist destination for obvious reasons; I'd like to come back and have look around here myself one day, ideally when it isn't 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning! I passed under the city gate, which was filtered to motor traffic, and the only route north out of Elburg ensuring no motor traffic can use the centre of the town as a through route


I then cycled around the marina on the other side, which brought me back onto a bidirectional cycleway. The cycleway changed from cobbled to asphalt, with access maintained for motor traffic to park alongside the cycleway, as I cycled past dozens of moored boats and then out of Elburg, back onto a cycleway which only allowed cycles to use it.


The cycleway soon joined alongside the N309 road as it approached the Veluwemeer lake, which I then crossed over on a bridge. I was now exiting the province of Gelderland and entering Flevoland again and I immediately turned left to cycle on a cycleway constructed of concrete slabs alongside the N306 road.


I turned left onto a road heading back towards the lake and then turned onto a block paved road on top of a dike running alongside the lake. I was really not keen on this bumpy route especially as I saw how far it stretched into the distance, but it was then that I spotted a cycle track running between it and the beach alongside. I briefly stopped at the beach for water, food and to top up sun lotion before joining the cycle track to run between the beach and the road, shielded by trees from both of them. It continued like this, with the odd glimpse of the beach or road through gaps in the trees, for the next three kilometres. The road then turned away to the right so the cycleway ran on top of the dike with nice clear views either side.


A couple of kilometres later the cycleway dipped down to the left and the old cycleway was clearly visible, but had at some point in the past been turned into car parking


However, rather than have to cycle through the car park the cycleway seamlessly continued on between the car parking and the beach with people making their way down from their cars to the beach across the cycleway. There was also plenty of cycle parking located alongside the cycleway, although it was fairly empty but I didn't expect that to last too much longer. The N306 road then reappeared to my right but the cycleway moved closer to the lake, with the road elevated to my right. This was a really lovely part of the journey as I enjoyed a nice cool breeze whilst watching various people taking part in watersports alongside


After about five kilometres the view was interrupted by a large apartment complex and then a marina and beach resort meant that the dike, and the cycleway, turned further away from the lake to run inland for a short while before returning back to the water. The cycleway then ran back alongside the N306 road to pass the Gemaal Lovink pumping station. After bypassing a roundabout via a cycle crossing I passed a large group out for a ride on road bikes before bypassing the next roundabout via an underpass


I then came to a T junction and, instead of turning left, to cycle back into Gelderland and visit Harderwijk via the world's shortest underwater tunnel I instead turned right to cross over the N707 and then turned left, to cycle alongside it on a a cycleway for the next three kilometres.


As the road took a sharp turn to the left I stopped at a bench to eat some food under the scorching sunshine. I then crossed over the road to cycle on a cycleway alongside the Wolderwijd lake for around the next three kilometres


As I entered Zeewolde the cycleway turned to the left so as I was cycling directly into a strong headwind. Somebody had thoughtfully placed large mounds of sand alongside the cycleway exactly at this point and so I was then cycling through a fierce sandstorm.


I covered my eyes, closed by mouth, put my head down and tried to battle through as thousands of grains of sand hit me directly in my face and, despite my best efforts got into my eyes and throat. I stopped for a few minutes to recover from this and then continued into a very strong headwind. I rose to my feet, put the bike into the highest gear but could still only just get up to a snails pace as I battled as hard as I could to move the bike. As I got to the top of a small incline and the wind slowly eased a large group of men dressed in lycra at the side of the cycleway all cheered me on as I made it to the top, and I duly fist pumped the air in celebration, as if I'd just won the Tour De France.

As I entered the centre of the town the cycleway turned into a service road alongside the main road, back to a cycleway and then another block paved cycleway running parallel to an almost identical looking road alongside. The main road then turned to the right but the cycleway continued on, elevated above an access road to the beach which ran below us to the left.


The beach alongside was already very busy but groups of families on bikes arrived via the cycleway and service road, the crates on the front of their bikes stuffed with bags of towels, swimming clothes and inflatables. As the sandy beach ended the cycleway continued on top of the dike alongside the coast


After a short while the cycleway suddenly stopped, whilst the dike continued ahead. This was a bit of a surprise as I had somehow mapped my route to continue along the dike. Never mind, after studying a map I decided this was a good opportunity to go "off grid" and explore the forest alongside to see where I ended up. I cycled along a twisting path through the trees, which was a welcome experience as it relived me of the hot sun for a short while


As I cycled through the dense forest I once again thought how incredible this was the sea a few decades ago. The path soon became a road and then passed alongside fields, before I turned off onto another cycle path that led away from the road alongside a car park. I then climbed back up onto the dike and down the other side to ride on a path alongside it. A series of busy beaches then appeared to my left, along with a cafe. I parked my bicycle up with dozens of others outside to eat lunch on the terrace, with a view of a packed beach with hundreds of children enjoying themselves in the water and playground alongside. After lunch I returned back to the cycle path


and then crossed over a road to cycle alongside it. This path soon widened and as I passed under Nijkerker bridge some roadworks diverted me onto a temporary cycleway. As I needed to cross the Nijkerker Bridge I cycled on a long loop and then crossed over the route I had just used as well as the Nijkerkernauw lake to finally be back in the province of Gelderland again. I descended down from the bridge, then turned right at a roundabout to cycle along a country road on cycle lanes.


A cycleway soon appeared and I was directed onto it. It was very narrow and elevated above the road and it was no surprise to see some people on road bikes ignore it and use the road below instead. I soon needed to turn left onto another road so cycled down from the cycleway to join it. For the next four kilometres I cycled on country lanes, with no shade and the scorching early afternoon sun beating down on me. I briefly cycled alongside N806 road on a cycleway and then turned onto more country lanes for a few more kilometres, this time with some much needed shade.


This road would take me out of the province of Gelderland and into the province of Utrect. At the end I came to a waterway so the road turned sharply to the left, with a large sign on the road indicating this was a fietstraat. To my right over the water was what looked like a brand new development, which I now know is called Vathorst. From the other side of the water I could see how the streets were built as access only streets, I could see bicycle only bridges linking the neighbourhoods, I could see children playing in the street, people on bicycles and no cars driving in it at all. I'd seen this in other new housing developments over the past week and so vowed to write about it when I got home and try not to get too annoyed the next time I visited the Olympic Park. The road curved round the new development with lots of new apartments to my right over the water and water pipes and utilities being built under soil to my left, where people will live one day. There were bridges connecting this road to the new development from this road but only for those walking or cycling. The road was filtered at at the end and I was lead onto a cycleway alongside Amersfoort Vathorst railway station.


I was directed to the other side of the road and a filtered road alongside the main road. There was a strange mix of new developments and old farm houses. The filtered road through Hooglanderveen was clearly once a country lane but was now a major cycle route from the new development to the city centre, as a filtered road.


I cycled on some residential streets and then on a cycleway past new housing developments and other housing under construction on my right, with football and hockey pitches on my left where dozens of teenagers were playing hockey and football. I bet pretty much all of them got there by bike! I cycled around a roundabout which had a bidirectional cycleway around it and then climbed up and over the A1 motorway on a cycleway alongside the road


After freewheeling down the other side I turned left to cycle on some residential roads and service roads that were filtered at junctions. I then crossed the road to cycle underneath Amersfoort Schothorst train station, before turning around to film as I cycled back under the station again
I then continued on this cycleway from the train station around the corner to cycle under another railway line which took me to a cycleway running alongside the railway line

The cycleway continued alongside the railway line and as both it and the railway line crossed over a canal and road I looked down to see cycleways on both sides. The cycleway ended as it turned round the corner to link onto a street which took me into the historic centre of the city. As I cycled on the streets in the centre I was amazed at how beautiful it was, every corner I turned each street seemed to look like a postcard.


I was also struck by how many parked bicycles there were, including lots in temporary bicycle parking stands. It was only when I tried to access the main square in the centre that I realised there was a huge festival on so the centre of the city was closed. At each entrance to the square were stewards, all with "Fiets Steward" on their backs to stop anyone from cycling in. I was tempted to go in but didn't want to carry my heavy panniers around with me and, as they contained my laptop and passport, was not keen on leaving the bike locked with the panniers on either. Instead I sat outside a cafe and enjoyed coffee and apple pie, where I could hear the music perfectly but not see any of the performers.

After picking up supplies I cycled away from the centre of the city via a couple of canal lined streets  and then a cycleway alongside the railway line to the main train station and the abundant cycle parking outside
I crossed over the road and then cycled out of the city on a cycleway alongside a main road to another cycleway that ran some distance from another main road and took me south of Amersfoort. My time in the city was short but I liked what I saw, from the high quality cycle routes in from the suburbs to the beautiful city centre; I'll definitely be back. From Amersfoort my journey would be a direct one alongside the N217 for the next 15 kilometres to take me directly into Utrecht. I cycled alongside on cycleways, service roads, very wide cycleways that I presume must have been a road once upon a time, and around the back of petrol stations. These routes were all being heavily used, by people of all ages.


Eventually I made my way into Utrcht via Biltstraat and a busy city centre. My 19th cycle between cities in the Netherlands was the longest, hottest, most varied and the most enjoyable.

Distance: Approx 100km /  62 miles
Time: Approx eight and a half hours
Photos taken: 1,013
Map of the route
Gallery: 130 photos here

An analysis of this trip by Jitensha Oni:


Previous Posts in this series:

2015:
Part 1 - Hook of Holland to Rotterdam / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 2 - Rotterdam to Gouda via Delft / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 3 - Gouda to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 4 - Utrecht to Amsterdam / Photo Gallery of this journey
Part 5 - Amsterdam to Hook of Holland via The Hague / Photo gallery of this journey
2016:
Part 6 - Hook of Holland to Breda / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 7 - Breda to Eindhoven via Tilburg / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 8: Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 9: 's-Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 10: Nijmegen to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
2017:
Part 11: Hook of Holland to Gouda via Delft and Zoetermeer / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 12: Gouda to Utrecht, via a different route Photo gallery of this journey
Part 13: Utrecht to Nijmegen via Veenendaal, Ede and Arnhem / Photo gallery of this journey
2018:
Part 14: Hook of Holland to Leiden / Photo gallery of this journey

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Cycling between cities in the Netherlands part 18: Lelystad to Zwolle

As my hotel was located roughly half way between Lelystad and Almere and I had so far failed to visit either of those two cities I decided to get up early and cycle the ten miles into the centre of Almere following breakfast. I spent around an hour exploring the city, just as everyone was making their way to work or school and then cycled the ten miles back to my hotel again, arriving back by 10am having cycled over 25 miles before breakfast had even stopped being served. Around an hour later it was time to make my way to Zwolle; I began on a road through the nature reserve which surrounded my hotel on another beautiful warm day with clear blue skies


I climbed up to and cycled alongside a dike, down the other side and then on a cycle path through woodland which twisted and turned thorough the trees, all the while thinking how incredible it was that all of this was the sea up until the 1960s


The cycle path then turned left as it came to the Lage Vaart canal to run alongside it before turning away from it to run back through the woods again. I then came to a bridge where I crossed over the Lage Dwarsvaart canal to once again cycle alongside the Lage Vaart canal


The cycle path briefly moved further away from the canal here and I came to a large water pipe crossing the path, where a makeshift bridge had been thoughtfully provided, however my bike was too heavy to cross it without dismounting, although I did give it a go. The countryside then gave way to view of an industrial estate to my left as I cycled alongside it and then under the N302 road.


The path then turned left to run alongside the N309 over the Larservaart canal. Soon after this I turned left onto a residential street in order to turn left and left again to cycle back the direction I had just come from on a cycleway which took me up and over the Lage Vaart canal on a bridge


I freewheeled down from the bridge on the other side and came to a fork in the path where I turned left, through woods and then an open area. I came to the end of this cycle path and then cycled on a cycleway alongside the N309 road and underneath the A6 motorway.


This route continued for the next ten kilometres, initially right alongside the road before bending further away and then moving even further away so the road was barely visible way off in the distance.


As I got to the town of Dronten I turned left where the cycleway seamlessly continued on through the suburbs, past housing and children's playgrounds; providing a continuous, safe route for children cycling home from the playground after school as well as for long distance cyclists like myself. It continued over a main road, through a park and then alongside a main road but with a good 40m between it and the carriageway.


I came to a roundabout and then used a cycleway through a car park to park my bicycle directly outside a large shopping centre. That I had managed to cycle to the centre of the town on dedicated cycleways completely separate from the road network was a reminder that this new town did not exist until the 1970s and was the sea a decade prior to that. After picking up some supplies from the supermarket I headed east out of the town on a series of residential roads and cycleways to a cycleway alongside the N305 road, which ran alongside the eastern edge of Dronten. I stopped to sit at a bench that was set back from the road to eat the supplies I'd just purchased, apply sun lotion and then continued up the N305 to turn right onto a cycleway alongside the N307


That a cycleway existed alongside here, despite that the road also had a service road either side of the main carriageway, seemed a little extravagant. The google streetview history shows that the road used to just have a cycleway in each direction either side but was upgraded at some point to construct a service road either side, presumably to stop local residents pulling directly out onto the main road

Above: the N307, eight years apart
To also construct a cycleway alongside here surprises me but was a welcome addition. I wondered if perhaps a collision on the service road prompted this, as previously detailed in a twitter thread by Mark Treasure here. After a few kilometres I crossed a junction at a crossroads and was then on a service road with painted cycle lanes and back to sharing with tractors.


A few kilometres later and I cycled on a bridge and over a lock for boats going into the Drontermeer. I was now passing from Flevoland into the province of Overijssel and on land that had been developed by humans over centuries, rather than a few decades. I cycled on a cycleway alongside the road which then became a service road as we approached the N50 road and then a cycleway as I entered the town of Kampen.


In Kampen itself I took an indirect route on some typical Dutch block paved roads, both wide and narrow before I came to a pedestrianised street and did what everyone else was doing, dismounting from my bicycle to walk along it. I turned right from here and got back on my bicycle to wait at a set of traffic lights. I waited for at least 90 seconds for the lights to turn green before a large crowd of us made out way through the lights and across a bridge over the river IJssel.


I turned right at the end of the bridge onto a cycleway and then crossed the road to use a bidirectional cycleway on the other side of the road


This continued for the next six kilometres with both it and the cycleway on the opposite side of the road being used by many young people, presumably on their way home from school or college in Zwolle to the surrounding villages.


The cycleway ended as i approach Zwolle so I crossed over the road onto a fietstraat alongside the N331 road, which took me into Zwolle. I passed through the village of Westenholte and then over Westenholte bridge, which Mark Wagenbuur has previously written about here.


I looked down onto people cycling into Stagshagen under the bridge (which I've previously written about here), before joining up with that cycleway to cross over the Zwolle-IJssel canal on a bridge alongside the road


I then freewheeled down the hill, cycled over the road and then into the centre of Zwolle

Distance: Approx 55km / 35 miles
Time: Approx three and a half hours
Photos taken: 445
Map of the route
Gallery: 66 photos here

An analysis of this trip by Jitensha Oni:


Next Post:

Part 19: Zwolle to Utrecht via Amersfoort

Previous Posts in this series:

2015:
Part 1 - Hook of Holland to Rotterdam / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 2 - Rotterdam to Gouda via Delft / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 3 - Gouda to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 4 - Utrecht to Amsterdam / Photo Gallery of this journey
Part 5 - Amsterdam to Hook of Holland via The Hague / Photo gallery of this journey
2016:
Part 6 - Hook of Holland to Breda / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 7 - Breda to Eindhoven via Tilburg / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 8: Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 9: 's-Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 10: Nijmegen to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
2017:
Part 11: Hook of Holland to Gouda via Delft and Zoetermeer / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 12: Gouda to Utrecht, via a different route Photo gallery of this journey
Part 13: Utrecht to Nijmegen via Veenendaal, Ede and Arnhem / Photo gallery of this journey
2018:
Part 14: Hook of Holland to Leiden / Photo gallery of this journey

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Cycling between cities in the Netherlands part 17: Alkmaar to Lelystad via the Houtribdijk

Whilst I had wanted to visit the city of Alkmaar and cycle through the North Holland countryside my main influence in deciding to visit this area was because I wanted to cycle on the Houtribdijk, a 27km long route which connects the cities of Enkhuizen and Lelystad. Although called a dike, it is actually a dam, built between 1963 and 1975 as part of the Zuiderzee works

The Houtribdijk, which also carries the N307 and separate cycleway from Enkhuizen to Lelystad
I spent the morning (after the school run) being a tourist in the very pretty city of Alkmaar on a very warm morning, visiting the cheese museum, among other things. Therefore it was almost midday by the time I left but I was still expecting to get to Lelystad by mid to late afternoon. My journey began on the same route it had ended the previous day, via Nieuwe Schermerweg heading east out of the city. Shortly before the main ring road I turned left onto a distributor road with cycle lanes, although these did briefly have cycle tracks at floating bus stops. I cycled past a school, the quietness broken by children playing in the playground outside and then turned right onto a cycle path. As I came to the canal and a narrow bridge a sign indicated I was leaving Alkmaar and I had a very nice view from the top of the bridge.


After this bridge I turned left to follow the canal and then kept to the left to go onto a cycleway to climb up to the main road to cross over the canal, with a view of an underpass to my right for those who wanted to carry on under the main road instead.


Once alongside the main road I cycled over the bridge and then turned left to loop round and cycle back under the main road. The cycleway continued straight ahead but I turned right here onto another cycleway alongside the canal, which soon turned into an access only road. Almost immediately after this, as I approached a roundabout, a cycleway appeared on my left so I went onto it and crossed the road just north of the roundabout. I then continued along this cycleway to the north of the canal and road alongside until I reached the village of Oterleek, where the cycleway ended and I was then cycling on cycle lanes on the road.


I entered the village of Rustenburg and after crossing the canal over a narrow bridge I turned left, onto another road with painted cycle lanes. I briefly had to stop here to apply some sun cream as the scorching early afternoon sun was beating down on me. The route continued like this for the next few kilometres as I cycled past fields with gigantic sheds full of cows being milked, something I had been watching on film in the cheese museum just a few hours earlier. I passed through the town of De Goorn and, as I exited it and came to a crossroads at the junction with the N194 road I saw some construction work to my left and the unmistakable sight of a bicycle underpass under construction.


The turbo roundabout being constructed next to it was near completion but I was directed south of it, to a temporary crossing, until the underpass is completed. I then made my way back up to the road I was on, via a temporary cycleway, where I had a clearer view of the under-construction bicycle underpass from the other side of the new roundabout. As I stood taking photos a group of teenagers cycled past and all used the temporary crossing with ease, but did have to wait to give way to a lorry. They wouldn't have to for much longer

The Google satellite imagery shows this junction with the turbo roundabout and cycle underpass under constriction. If you look at the area on satellite view and scroll either north or south you'll see this is a series of junctions being redesigned like this along this road, each of them with bicycle underpasses. 
I continued along a road with housing either side for the next 5 kilometres into Hoorn. It was lunchtime and so as I cycled along here groups of teenagers were also cycling, presumably going home for lunch or they may have had a break in their studies. Sometimes the road had painted cycle lanes on it and other times it didn't, but had other traffic calming measures. As I turned the corner a cycleway appeared as I entered Hoorn, I turned left at a roundabout and continued on a cycleway tiled with concrete pavers, which must have been bidirectional, even though it had no centre lines to indicate this. It briefly became a service road with cycle lanes before turning back into a cycleway and looping round the centre of Hoorn, alongside a wide main road. As the road turned to the left I was sandwiched between it and a dike to my right, with the Markermeer beyond that and my planned route would continue on the cycleway alongside the main road. However I could see a bridge above the main road so diverted to my right in order to be able to cycle up onto the bridge and look down at the road below.


I was quite hungry now and it was very hot so I decided I needed to find some shade and a place to eat. In retrospect I wish I had diverted into the centre of Hoorn before I reached this point, rather than cycling around the main ring road around it. I looked on google for somewhere nearby to eat and the "outdoor orange restaurant" was the closest recommendation and so I cycled along the dike to this cafe at the beach where I enjoyed some lunch with a beer. I must admit that with my sun lounger, shade and table service I perhaps relaxed a little too much and two more beers were ordered after food

An hour and a half later I decided it was time to muster up the energy to get back on the bike and as I unlocked my bike it was clear that it was school finishing time as dozens of teenagers all turned up on their bikes at the beach. I cycled back the way I had come, along the filtered to motor traffic dike, under the bridge I'd earlier been on and then out of Hoorn on a cycleway alongside the N506. A couple of teenage boys overtook me here and then one proceeded to share his chewing gum with the other, safely passing it over as they cycled side-by-side with motor traffic speeding past on the road alongside. I thought, not for the first time, why on earth every country does not have this type of infrastructure alongside rural roads.


I continued along this pleasant cycleway for another few kilometres before it became a service road alongside the N506 for another few kilometres and then crossed to another service road on the other side of the road. It was here that I approached roadworks and crossed an unopened road, south of an unopened roundabout, onto a smooth cycleway alongside and then under an unopened new road. This will be, or by now is, the N307 road and from the google maps satellite images of this area it is clear to see what a huge project this is, with a new road carved through the countryside and enormous junctions under construction. This link gives more details and explains that this is the construction (or upgrade) of both the N307 and N194 roads and is the same reason I saw that new bicycle underpass several hours earlier. The same kind of projects occur in the UK as well of course, but the cycling infrastructure, both temporary and permanent, is nowhere near as good as this. After cycling underneath the under construction road I turned right onto a smooth new cycleway alongside another new road which had not opened yet and then passed what perhaps was an old bicycle dug up during construction works.


The cycleway then bent away from the new road, surrounded by brownness as landscaping works were still not complete, and I then cycled on a series of cycleways on the edge of a residential area. This brought me back to the N307 road and more roadworks where a cycling bridge was being constructed in order to bypass a roundabout. I crossed the road on a temporary crossing and then cycled round the corner and up the hill where I had a much clearer view of the construction of the bridge and the deck of it. I was now cycling on an access road to a Europarcs resort but was soon able to join a very smooth cycleway alongside the N307 road again. I continued along this lovely recently resurfaced cycleway for the next couple of kilometres until I came to a set of traffic lights where I crossed the road and then turned right to begin my 26km journey along the Houtribdijk out of Holland and into Flevoland.


I cycled over a lifting bridge and then joined a service road with cycle lanes for a short while, as I passed five wind turbines to my right. A cycleway then reappeared which took me under the Naviduct where I could see a large boat was passing through above me. It was spectacular to see this structure in person and here is some drone footage of it in action, which is also spectacular. I cycled up out from under the naviduct and then my view for the next ten kilometres was basically this:


along with at least a dozen dead birds on the cycleway, who had clearly been struck by vehicles on the road alongside. After 30 minutes of this the cycleway crossed up and over to the other side of the dam to run along the water and away from the road as I got to the halfway point and a sight I was not expecting to see


The cycleway was very much closed, with some substantial looking fencing beyond the sign to ensure no cyclists could ignore the signage and carry on. I was a bit stuck as to what to do at this point so cycled down to the Checkpoint Charlie cafe, which was closed. I then spotted a bus shelter in the car park which thankfully had instructions in English to explain that the cycleway had been closed for the past six months to reinforce the dam but would reopen in three days time. In the meantime a free shuttle bus operated with a number listed to book it. I called the number and spoke to a friendly gentleman who told me my bus would be with me shortly and that is was "no problem" that I had a large bike with me. I waited for around 20 minutes before a small minibus arrived from the mainland and, after we put the rear seats down to fit my bike in the back, we drove on to the other side of the Houtribdijk. Whilst this cycleway replacement service was very impressive it was a shame I was not able to cycle the full length of the Houtribdijk. As I was sat in the taxi it occurred to me that this was the first time, in over a dozen visits, that I had ever been inside a motor vehicle whilst in the Netherlands. In all of my previous visits my journeys were all by bike, on foot or by train and it would have been nice to have kept it that way.

I unloaded my bike from the back of the taxi in Flevoland and thanked the driver. I then cycled on a bridge then over the locks and into Lelystad


By now it was gone 7 o' clock in the evening and this was several hours after I had planned to be here. I had booked a hotel nearly ten kilometres south of Lelystad, in order to be based halfway between Lalystad and Almere, a decision I was now regretting. The original route I had planned also took me into Lelystad to explore the city but that was the last thing I wanted to do as I was tired, hot and hungry. Instead I plotted a route to my hotel via google maps forgetting that google maps is terrible at cycle routes, even in the Netherlands. I made my way there as quickly as I could; a 14 km ride on rough gravel paths where I was so exhausted I didn't even take a single photograph.

Distance: Approx 87km (13km of it by taxi) /  54 miles
Time: Approx seven and a half hours
Photos taken: 466
Map of the route
Gallery:  78 photos here

An analysis of this trip by Jitensha Oni:


Next Post:

Part 18: Lelystad to Zwolle

Previous Posts in this series:

2015:
Part 1 - Hook of Holland to Rotterdam / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 2 - Rotterdam to Gouda via Delft / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 3 - Gouda to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 4 - Utrecht to Amsterdam / Photo Gallery of this journey
Part 5 - Amsterdam to Hook of Holland via The Hague / Photo gallery of this journey
2016:
Part 6 - Hook of Holland to Breda / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 7 - Breda to Eindhoven via Tilburg / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 8: Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 9: 's-Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 10: Nijmegen to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
2017:
Part 11: Hook of Holland to Gouda via Delft and Zoetermeer / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 12: Gouda to Utrecht, via a different route Photo gallery of this journey
Part 13: Utrecht to Nijmegen via Veenendaal, Ede and Arnhem / Photo gallery of this journey
2018:
Part 14: Hook of Holland to Leiden / Photo gallery of this journey