A trip high on my bucket list, is a tour around the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel). The IJsselmeer used to be a bay of the North Sea, and was named the Zuiderzee (South Sea).
Between 1927 and 1932, the Afsluitdijk was built, damming off the salt water Zuiderzee, and transforming it in the fresh water IJsselmeer. The Afsluitdijk is a dam with a length of 32 km, connecting Den Oever in the province of North-Holland, with the village Zurich in the province Friesland.
The Afsluitdijk has a highway (the A7) for motorized traffic and is usually also accessible for cyclists. Usually, since the Afsluitdijk is in the process of being renovated, and during which fewer lanes are available. Slow moving traffic, including cyclists, have to use a (free) shuttle bus.
A tour around the IJsselmeer, over the Afsluitdijk, is about 300 km. That sounds like a nice challenge.
Now the rubs. At least once a month, I make a trip of 100+ km. However, I haven’t pedalled 100 km on two successive days yet. To date there was always at least one day between the outward and return journey. In addition, it has been a while that I have been camping with a tent.
These seem required skills to me, definitely when I want to be self-supporting. So I need to put these to a test prior to my Tour d’IJsselmeer. The Prologue d’IJsselmeer sprouted my mind!
Planning the prologue
The first step was to find a camping spot where I could pitch my tent for the night. Camping Waterhout seemed like a suitable place to me. There was a spot available and making a reservation was a piece of cake.
Now that I had a starting point (my home) and a destination (the camp ground), I was able to plan the cycling trip itself. For the routeplanning I used Komoot – for the very first time. Exporting the GPX file and transferring it to my Garmin Edge 1000 worked like a charm.
With a place to sleep and the navigation set, it was time to check my gear. Especially, my camping gear.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find my 3-season sleeping bag. The summer sleeping bag might be a bit to cold for nights around 5°C, but in combination with the Sea to Summit Reactor I should be able to get a good night’s sleep.
The outward journey
Friday, April 29 around 8 in the morning, I stepped on my touring bike.
Komoot clocked a trip time of 6:03. According to Strava the trip took me 5:44 minutes, according to Garmin Connect 5:41. I don’t bother for those few minutes, but that is a bit odd.
During the trip, I took a couple of photographs in Nieuwgein, and I ate a banana directly after Hilversum. Anyway, even with the road works in Utrecht, the navigation worked really well.
A little bummer was the headwind all the way up. The good news is that is was only 12 km/h, and not 19 km/h as the forecast predicted a week earlier. The wind turned setting up the tent into a fun, little game.
After the tent was set up, it was time to have a look at the IJsselmeer. And get a nice cold, well deserved, beer.
I woke up the next morning after a good night’s sleep. During the night it was about 6°C, but with the Reactor and a pair of long johns that temperature was no problem at all.
Breaking up the tent, packing my bags, and loading the bike was far from a routine yet, but a welcome exercise nonetheless.
The way home went well. Although I have to admit that I did feel the 100 kilometres of the day before in my legs. So, I decided to make it a relaxing journey. I ate a roasted chicken sandwich in Sint Maartensdijk, for energy and morale.
At the Lekbridge between Nieuwegein and Vianen, all bicycle traffic was diverted to the west side of the bridge. The east side was closed because of road works.
Even at the west side we had to wait. A bit too long for my taste, especially since it wasn’t clear what we were waiting for. According to a traffic controller they were placing new information boards.
Approaching the city of Gorinchem a carving for something salty overtook me. I had been eating energy bars for too long I guess. At a gas station in Gorinchem, I bought a bag of potato chips, and an ice tea. Both tasted superb!
When I’m out on my trekking bike, I generally use two devices. For the navigation, the Garmin Edge 1000, and for the registration of my hard work, the Garmin Fenix 3. Both 5 years old already, but still going strong.
The journey home might seem 3 km shorter. That is because I didn’t push the start button of the Fenix right away.
Komoot clocked a trip time of 6:05. According to Strava the trip took me 5:13 minutes, according to Garmin Connect 5:10. Again, a discrepancy of 3 minutes.
Anyway, I did took note of a couple of things that need improvement, but my conclusion it that I’m willing to face the challenge of the Tour d’IJsselmeer.