Netherlands 22: Around Wassenaar and Valkenburg

2022 saw us return to The Netherlands and Duinrell for the first time since 2019. We had planned to go in 2020, then 2021, but as with everyone’s plans, that all went out of the window, with the pandemic.

We’d arrived at Duinrell on the 30th July, after getting the overnight Hull to Rotterdam ferry, with our usual haul of bikes on the back of the car (still can’t convince the family to leave the car at home). We used to regularly have our Netherlands trips during the summer half term, as our kids used to get 2 weeks off school and the second week was always really cheap. But as that was no longer the case, we’d arranged to go during the summer holidays instead.

We also normally spend a week by ourselves for the first week, before meeting up with friends and family at Duinrell for the second. This time, we reversed it, spending the first week at Duinrell, followed by a week at an Airbnb in Zaandam.

After having arrived on the Saturday, I decided to get out for a ride on the Sunday morning, while the others went on the rides. The weather wasn’t that great to start with and there was a little rain, thankfully this was just a temporary blip, as the weather for most of the holiday was superb, too hot and sunny, if anything!

Riding along the old paved cycle path on Katwijkseweg

I decided to just go for a ride nearby, partly to just experience some decent cycling infrastructure, something I’ve not done for a few years. But also, I wanted to test out my Beeline Velo 2 computer in The Netherlands, before putting it to use on a longer ride. This wasn’t the most exciting of rides (or blog posts!), but they will get better through the rest of the trip.

The ride of choice for our 2022 trip, my Kona Dew Deluxe, now equipped with dynamo lights, after having some wheels built by the sadly missed Folk Like You in Sale.

Starting off from Duinrell, I went left onto Katwijkseweg and then right onto the cycle path parallel to N441. This was all familiar territory, as we’ve been along here plenty of times before. It was great to be on a lovely wide and smooth cycle path again, as well as seeing so many people using it on a Sunday morning. Riding along, I passed leisure riders, a horse and cart and quite a few sport cyclists, in full Lycra.

Horse and cart on the cycle path

I continued further until I reached the N204 Provincialeweg, where it turned out there was a significant amount of roadbuilding under way. It turned out the work is a subproject of the RijnlandRoute project, which is providing a new road connection between Katwijk and Leiden.

RijnlandRoute construction work on the N204

The work along the N204 is to significantly increase capacity, with a grade separated route and four lanes of motor traffic. While it’s easy to argue against a scheme like this, given the increase in CO2 emissions and air pollution, it’s good to see it includes a high quality fast cycle route between Leiden and Katwijk. This is a key difference between The Netherlands and the UK. While it’s now more likely that schemes like this in the UK include cycling infrastructure, the quality of such schemes is patchy at best.

The grade-separated Valkenburg-Oost connection, part of the N206 Tjalmaweg subproject

It was also good to see that cycles are well catered for during construction, with a temporary protected cycle route that puts most permanent schemes in the UK to shame.

Sport cyclists on the temporary cycle route, next to the N204 construction work

Further along the construction, I went across the existing A44, then arrived at a new cycling bridge and aqueduct that’s currently under construction. This passes across an underpass for the N434, which will link the A44 to the A4.

New aqueduct and cycle path over an underpass for the new N434 motorway

After continuing along the construction, I passed the south side of Valkenburgse Meer. This is somewhere we’ve been often, on the way to Leiden. It’s also the location of the fantastic Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden heritage railway, which we’ve been to a couple of times before.

Some very pleasing high density rural housing

From there, I continued parallel to the A44 on the Rijksstraatweg. This included going over the A44 at one point, to pass a windmill and some attractive modern Dutch rural housing, which was pleasingly relatively high density, given its location.

Stepped cycle track, with on-street parking bays, a very odd choice

I turned off the route parallel to the A44 and into Wassenaar. I’ve written previously about the cycling infrastructure around the town. While it’s generally pretty good, there’s some odd sections, such as the stepped cycle track, with on-street parking.

The village church in Wassenaar, a familiar sight to anyone who’s stayed at Duinrell

Soon enough, I arrived in the centre of Wassenaar, which is always pleasant, even on rainy days like today. I then headed back to Duinrell, for an afternoon at the Tikibad pool and theme park.

All in all, after a break of three years, it was just great to be back in The Netherlands!

Beeline Velo 2

The Beeline Velo 2 on my Kona Dew Plus, my chosen ride for our 2022 trip

For the those wondering, the inaugural ride with the Beeline Velo 2 went pretty well on the whole. It didn’t start too well, as the battery was completely drained, for some reason. I’ve had this happen a few times, I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t switched it off properly. I was able to connect a battery pack and get going, so it wasn’t too much of an issue.

There were one or two other issues along the way with the Velo 2, mainly with usability of the Beeline app on my phone, when creating and changing routes. Maybe at some point, I’ll get round to writing a review and cover them properly.



More Netherlands 22 posts

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