Day 3. De Bijland to Utrecht.
Distance Cycled 97km. Average 16.3km/h.
The Psion started singing merrily in the tent pocket above my head. I sleepily opened it and hit the snooze button and then spent four minutes trying to wake up. Cancelling the snooze I sat up and started pulling on clothes. We packed in and I started hanging bags off the trikes whilst Damae sat in the tent putting things in bags. We ended up with fifteen minutes to drink some of the tea from the thermos and eat some of the sandwiches we had made. The last remaining 'gevulde koek' (excellent Dutch high calorie almond marzipan filled cake) was finished off in our search for instant energy.
We left the campsite on time at seven thirty and cycled back towards the ferry 'terminal'. We had to pick our way over two piles of glass on the cycle path on the way, but made it to the jetty by a quarter to eight. At five past eight the ferry arrived and we gingerly rolled the trikes over the rough setts and up the steep ramp onto the ferry. I think the ferryman had hoped to be able to lie in. He looked like he had just stumbled out of bed and dragged some clothes on. With barely a grunt he took money off us and transported us to the other side. A short sharp climb later, and we were once again on a dyke with grass and sheep. Still the in the morning light and mist it looked different enough. However we were not to stay on the dyke for long and headed inland to Leuth and then Beek. We had a breakfast date with friends in the East of Nijmegen and had decided to make use of the hills round Berg and Dal to test climbing in a recumbent.
On the way to Beek we had another chance to practice turning round the trikes. This is perhaps a reason to get better at navigating. However on these trikes there is no place to hang or put a map so that it is visible whilst cycling. Thus navigating means stopping more often than on our touring bikes. Once again the potential advantage of higher speed was being wiped away. Still we were glad that we had tried some trikes out for an extended period even though we had so far, found more to grumble about than we had expected. Only by doing things you would normally do on your own bikes, can you get a good idea of the advantages and pitfalls of a trike or recumbent.
The route 'inland' was pleasing enough and the closer we got to Beek, the hillier it became. We had expected this and we knew that there was a climb of some sort between us and Nijmegen. Coming out of Beek towards Berg en Dal we started climbing quite steeply. I twisted my gear changer to change down and realised that I was already in the lowest gear. I stopped just before the LF route turned left up an even steeper section into woods. I had my doubts about getting up there so paused to let Damae catch up and take on board some sugar. We thought about it and then as a gentleman walking up the hill with his bike came within earshot we asked him what was up the hill. According to him, the turning closest to us was the less evil climb. So we took a deep breath and started up the hill.