The past few evenings we have been studying our options and looking at some riding adventures further from “home”. I would like to do our first “long ride” south to Bruges, Belgium, about 116km one way of actual riding using the fietspad knooppunten routes. It would probably be a 5 or 6 day trip if all goes well, ie., if the wind and weather co-operate.
Ah yes, the weather. I imagine that I could handle riding in the rain, but when the wind is howling (like it is right now, for instance) then ‘the going gets tough, the tough get going’….HOME as far as I’m concerned! This morning (taking advantage of a sunny break) we rode into town to the Market Day where we stocked up on nuts, dried fruit, fresh asparagus, garlic, and arugula. The butcher booth had pre-BBQ’d pork ribs and….I finally broke down and bought a couple of croissants from the bakery stall, which I am really looking forward to tomorrow morning with coffee! I had to stop at the Greek booth for tzaziki and olives and some other spicy dip that is delicious but other than being yogurt based I have no idea what it is. The vendor is a very friendly fellow (doesn’t speak English) who is always offering ‘tasters’ and he throws in some free samples to take home. Today I got a couple of dolmades, some marinated mushrooms and beans, and a hot pepper stuffed with feta. Yum…home for lunch!
So, back to my blatherings on the weather. Thanks to Murney, I recalled him mentioning the iWindsurf site, which has an iPad App. It seems to be very accurate for predicting wind strength and direction and have been consulting it daily. Here is today’s predictions…
Deciphered, it’s telling us is that the wind will peak today at around 2pm (14:00) averaging 57km/hr from the SSW with gusts up to 76 km/hr. Definitely not a day to be heading south to Belgium!
For precipitation predictions, I am using anothe App, this one recommended by my friend Simone (from Hilversham, NL). It is called Buienradar and it includes the radar picture of the system moving across the map…
This is today’s picture taken at about 2 pm. If you look closely, we are situated at the little yellow square on the map. On the actual App, you can scroll across the bottom to see how and where the system is moving. As you can also see on the left side of the page, better weather is coming!
and so it did at around 4 pm….headed out for a ride in the sunshine to see if I could find the WWII bunkers in Oostdijk, a few kms from here….
The Dutch bunkers form part of the Atlantic Wall, a series of coastal fortifications stretching from the Franco-Spanish border to the northern tip of Norway. Building started in 1942 – some 15,000 structures were planned (14,000 were built), to be manned by 300,000 troops – after Hitler failed to conquer Britain and feared an Allied invasion might be on the horizon. Forced labour Organising the construction of the Atlantic Wall was the responsibility of German building firm Todt – which also helped build concentration camps – but the actual work was carried out by subcontractors who, apart from regular workers, used POWs and conscript labour. In all some 7.8 million people were deployed and within two years as many as 10,000 bunkers were built. The island of Goere Overflakkee got the status of Stützpunkt Gruppe in the autumn of 1942. Two coastal batteries were built on the beaches of the northern part of the island. These were the HKB Ouddorp and the HKB Goedereede. One inland battery was built and on some strategic spots along the coast an antitank gun was installed, either in a St casemate or in a field order emplacement with crew bunker (501). Many bunkers were destroyed after the great storm of 1953, when a lot of bunkers slid onto the beach and formed a danger to the public and coastal defence. Since 2004 there’s some more interest in the Atlantikwall as cultural heritage in the region. Two Widerstandsnester (220 and 222 H) were made more accessible in previous years.
When I turned to look behind me there was a huge black cloud heading my way! Don the rain gear and into the wind and rain I rode…. 20 minutes later I was home, the rain gear did its job, and now I’m warm and dry!
OK, I have to admit that I have been using pictures taken by the photographer of the family…you’ll probably notice that they are the better pics. The ones I take with the iPad are not necessarily that clear or focussed. Anyway, here a few of his good shots…
Hey James, that is your Spiritcool hat! Love that it stays on my head even in the fiercest wind!