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So, finally after months and months and I’m sure to many of you feels like years of me talking we are finally on our way! We set off from the Medecins Sans Frontieres office in Amsterdam this morning. This is the first ride of the ANSELL stage from Amsterdam to Geneva.

The ride was supposed to be around 43 miles but ended up as 47. This was absolutely no problem as it was such a beautiful day and such a liberating feeling to be on the bikes again at the time simply flew by. I felt – and feel elated and commencing our journey.

We left the maelstrom of Amsterdam and very soon we’re out into the beautiful countryside of the Netherlands. Years ago, I read a book called “The long walk south” as I prepared for my own walk from Amsterdam to Barcelona. The author seem to spend all of his time complaining about every town being too large and too populous and the monotony of the Dutch countryside. Personally I think it’s an absolutely beautiful landscape. I loved seeing the various waterfowl, donkeys, horses even alpaca and a few emu! Add to that some spectacular windmills and what’s not to like.

I am using a navigation app called Komoot. This is the first time I have ever navigated using anything but paper maps and it was somewhat daunting. In fact it has gone really well and the few wrong turns we made were due to my misinterpretation rather than any failing of the app. During the Amsterdam to Barcelona walk and the trans-USA bike ride in 2016 we use dozens of maps which are extremely heavy and we wanted to try to minimise the amount of kit that we carry.

To give us confidence that we would have enough charge to be able to navigate using our phones we have had new wheels built with dynamo hubs which charge our kit as we go.

We deviated from the route once deliberately to visit Loenen aan de Vecht a small but lovely town where we stopped for a healthy salad and a less healthy but perfect coffee served by a lovely young lady called Nancy who is training to be an interior designer.

Loenen aan de Vecht
Nancy & Tracey

We pushed on through Utrecht after this before arriving at the De Groene Waard camp site near to Gorinchem about 1900hrs. We set up the tent with minimal stress and ate. This would have been a welcome meal were it not so sparse! I had 2 bread buns and some pate . We had planned to go into the nearby Hoonaar to buy some food but were told at the site that the shop closed just minutes after our arrival. The very lovely lady who has the site made Tracey a cheese sandwich and gave us both some tomatoes and apples so we will not go to bed hungry.

De Groene Waard Campsite
Setting up camp

Tomorrow – due to me messing up the site bookings, we will stay here tomorrow before heading on and I think passing into Belgium the next day. No matter, we can go shopping and have a nice breakfast.

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