Around The IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel)
Ascension Day and the Friday following it, the company I work for is generally closed. With three days off, I get a full week vacation! Enough time for a trip around the IJsselmeer. My goal is to complete the tour in four days.
The image above shows my initial plan. The IJsselmeer lies north of Raamsdonksveer, the village where I live. The plan was travelling by train from Gorinchem to station Naarden-Bussum.
Gorinchem is north of Raamsdonksveer, and Naarden is just below the IJsselmeer. Makes sense, right? Too obvious, of course. Travelling by train to Naarden would require two transfers (Geldermalsen, and Utrecht).
Cycling a little bit to the west first, to Breda, and getting on the train to Amsterdam there, turned out to be the faster, and more convenient option – a direct line, a journey without transfers.
Day 1, to Lelystad
Monday, May 23, I got on the bike to Breda Central station. Shortly after 9 am, I hopped on the train to Amsterdam. The train brought me there smoothly.
The goal for the day from Amsterdam Central Station was Lelystad, B&B and mini-camping Door’s Logies to be exact.
Since I was too eager to get there, I completely missed the fact that I had to go down a couple of stairs at the west side of the Amsterdamse brug!
The good news? I’m really lucky with the weather. Nearing Lelystad, I noticed several cyclist wearing rain clothing. The few drops that hit me, were too few to get wet! In Lelystad, everything was completely wet from a severe downpour.
Only after the tent was set up, and I had freshened up, it started to rain. And it kept raining into the night. The tapping of the rain on the tent makes my thoughts go to the attic window from Rob de Nijs (Ritme van de regen). The mind wanders, shall we say.
Day 2, to Hindeloopen
The weather was quite erratic this day.
The start was easy-peasy. I had tailwind until the Ketelbrug, which connects the two parts of the province of Flevoland; the Flevopolder and the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder)!
This second part of the trip, through the Noordoostpolder, I had the wind mainly from the left (the west) side. Side winds don’t bother much, so no problem.
In Lemmer, I entered the province of Friesland. Here, I turned west. That is where it got heavy. This last 1/3 of the day journey, the wind was against me. Up to Hinderloopen, I had headwind with speeds of 35-40 km/h.
The weather also forced me to a lot of rain wear stops. When it rained, it was too much to ignore, while the clouds didn’t indicate that it would be over soon. And when the sun broke, it was too hot in the rain clothing.
Reaching Camping Hindeloopen, after this battle with the wind, made all up for it. Too bad, the bar was closed. Nevertheless, the beer from the camping shop tasted good.
Since my stay at camping Waterhout in Almere, I wondered how those sleeping cabins are. One cabin was still available for one night, so I grabbed the opportunity. As a site note, all sleeping cabins were occupied by cyclists!
Looking back, I must say that these strong winds have been a blessing in disguise. I always hated strong winds. I don’t mind rain. There is excellent rain gear available.
However, with winds above 30 km/h, I used to throw the towel. Not any more. I just say to myself, this is not as bad as during the IJsselmeer trip.
Day 3, to Enkhuizen
Day 3 is an act in two parts.
Pedalling around the IJsselmeer requires crossing the Afsluitdijk. The Afsluitdijk is a major – 32 kilometres long – dam, which transformed the salted South Sea into the fresh water IJsselmeer.
The Afsluitdijk connects the provinces Friesland, and North-Holland.
The A7 motorway runs across the Afsluitdijk, as well as a path for cyclists and pedestrians. Since the Afsluitdijk is currently renovated, one lane of the A7, and the path for cyclists and pedestrians, are currently closed for traffic.
Motorized traffic can still cross the Afsluitdijk over the remaining lane. Fortunately, slow traffic is transferred with a (free) shuttle bus. The renovation is the reason for the act in two parts.
The first part starts in Hindeloopen, and ends in Kornwerderzand where I hopped on the bus. Arriving at the bus stop, I was a bit relieved that I didn’t have to cope that strong headwind all the way to the other side.
Getting off the bus in Den Oever, I was happy to continue my trip to Enkhuizen, the destination for the day. The remaining part of the day, I will stay in the province of North Holland.
I hoped that the wind would continue blowing from west to east, so in my right flank. The wind didn’t agree. Part of the journey, I had to face headwind.
According to Garmin Connect, the wind was blowing 35 km/h. Fortunately southwest, so not completely frontal. Especially about 10 km towards Medemblik were tough. Other than that, it was okay, and I didn’t rain.
I must say, the route was also particularly bike-friendly with great cycle paths, and clear directions for cyclists. It was a nice ride.
Day 4, to Bussum
The IJsselmeer tour started in Amsterdam. So, it should end there, too. The initial idea for today was cycling to Amsterdam, and hopping on a train there back to Breda.
At least that was the plan for Day #4. However, it was such a great day for pedalling, that when I arrived in Amsterdam, it didn’t want it to end. At least, not yet. I needed a new plan!
A couple of weeks back, thinking about the Prologue Tour d’IJsselmeer, staying at the camping De Fransche Kamp (The French Camp) in Bussum, was one of the options. From Bussum, it’s only about 80 km to Raamsdonksveer.
Sounds like a plan! Up to Bussum, meaning I wouldn’t leave the province of North Holland today after all.
The fourth day was less windy than the previous two days. And with a sun adding a comfortable temperature, it was a great day for cycling
The landscape around the IJsselmeer is typically polder with low vegetation, and hardly any shadow for cyclists. When you consider pedalling around the IJsselmeer, Spring and Fall are probably preferred over Summer.
The Tour d’IJsselmeer is over. Unbelievable. I really enjoyed this trip. Among others, because I met some lovely people. Like the lady that guided me around roadworks between Scharwoude and Edam. Thanks!
P.S. The publication of this post was long overdue.