Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Saturday ride through quiet countryside

I went for a ride through the countryside yesterday. It took just an hour and a half to make a ride from home, through one of the heaths nearby, and back again. In Drenthe, it's very easy to find somewhere quiet to go for a few minutes:

There are many stiltegebieden or "silent areas" within easy cycling distance of Assen. Even though they are just a short distance from the city, they are about as quiet as it is possible for anywhere to be. The cycle paths don't stop at the city boundary, but continue in all directions through the countryside, so every location can be reached without having to ride on busy roads.

On the way out of Assen I came across a bridge which was opening for a boat. There was soon a queue.

Heading into the heath. This is the start of the stiltegebied. When you stop, you have only the sounds of nature to listen to.

If passing cyclists make the cycle path not quite quiet enough, there are places to walk to and seats to sit on where it is even quieter.

It's like being in the middle of no-where

It was a very nice day, so lots of people were cycling.

Cycling is something the entire population does. On average, Dutch people use bicycles just short of 6 times a week.

Even though this is only a 15 km ride from Assen, it feels remote, as if it is much further away.

The building in the background is in the city.

Some of the cycle paths in nature areas are made of crushed shells. When you read of the 29000 km of cycle paths in the Netherlands, note that recreational paths like this are not included in the total.

Some have been upgraded to concrete.

All sorts of people ride. Here a group of women on racing bikes have stopped at a cafe.

My bike on the other side of a field full of poppies
We came to live in this part of the Netherlands because we found it to be both beautiful and wonderful to cycle through. Our routes go through all the most scenic parts of the area. Book a holiday and you can experience it for yourself.