Four days of cycling heaven. Where? The Netherlands of course

I had my own lane. I had my own traffic lights. Motorists gave way to me when I crossed a t junction. 

Everyone around me on the bike lane was wearing normal clothes. I didn’t see a helmeted cyclist until I got to the Omnisport Arena, Apeldoorn where I was live blogging for British Cycling and the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships. 

The event was great. Great for me and great for the team who came away with seven world titles. 

But for me it was my humble ride to and from the team hotel that will stick in the mind. 

I found myself quite emotional when I handed back my Gazelle hire bike yesterday evening. 

She had become a faithful friend over the previous few days. 7 easy gears. Brakes that worked no matter what the conditions. No danger of an oily trouser cuff. Or a stiff neck or sore wrists.  Kind of like I would expect if I was driving a car. 



But driving didn’t seem so appealing. Even in the wind and rain that lashed the Low Countries over the weekend and blew Geriant Thomas off the road at Gent Wevelgem. 

A kilometre long queue crawled impatiently out of town as I rode home one night. But there was no gridlock on the bike paths. Just steady, stately progress. 

Nobody was in a rush because nobody needed to be. Why? Because journey times on a bike are utterly predictable especially when the beefy tyres on your Dutch bike seem as impregnable to punctures as car tyres. 



My last view of Apeldoorn was the railway station with its double decker trains and double decker bike park, housing hundreds of commuters’ bikes. 

Coming back to the UK I’m going to have to readjust, recalibrate my radar and remind myself not to ride on the pavement. 

As a colleague said to me over breakfast one morning, “Cyclists here are like sacred cows in India. They are allowed to wander where they please”.



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