Stalen Ros Utrechtse Heuvelrug – ride 2014

Yesterday one of the greatest old bike rides rides this year took place in a small town near Utrecht, Netherlands.

Am I really starting this way? No, I´m not.

After taking part in last year´s Utrechtse Heuvelrug ride I thought that the amount of hospitality, good humour, company and wonderful bikes in one ride could not be topped, but I was wrong.

As a first sentence, this is not much better, either.

Is there a way to adequately describe the hospitality, the atmosphere and the good company encountered in yesterday´s Utrechtse Heuvelrug ride?

Split infinitive, heck. Oh well, I have to get started somehow. So let´s carry on.

My son, an exchange colleague of mine from Austria and myself loaded ourselves and our bikes into my trusty Volvo and set off at a quarter past eight to cover 220 km of motorway in order to take part in a ride which I had been looking forward to all the time since last year´s had ended. We arrived just on time to get the last available parking space within easy cycling distance of the meeting point, Café Buitenlust, assembled our bikes and right away saw a great number of friendly faces.

XABuitenlXAStartvorMy estimate is that there were no fewer than a hundred participants, most on truly great bicycles. We set off a few minutes after the appointed starting time, and it soon became clear that we were on the same route as last year, only the other way round. I didn´t mind that one bit as I had enjoyed last year´s route greatly with its mix of cycleways and onverhard, not tarmacked paths, some slight rises and loads of miles in the woods.

Soon we came up to a feeding station where we were fed cake and Dutch Ontbijtkoek, literally translated breakfast cake, but just as delicious at noon. Despite the sign saying “office”, there was no registering, no fees, no hassle of any kind, with the organizing family once again paying for all the food and undergoing all the work of preparing the ride by themselves.

XAFood1Now there was time to have a good look at the bikes, and what an openlucht museum people had assembled.

XAStop1bikes

Some impressions:

XAdttDelhez XAdttFrisol XAdttGaz XAdttGazChampMond XAdttGios XAdttMercier XAdttMerckx XAdttMiele XAdttMiyata XAdttPeug XAdttPina XAdttPresto XAdttReus XAdttTommas XAdttWimath XAdttZieleman, to mention but a few. To my mind, two bikes stood out of the crowd. One was a L´Express, adorned with much patina and great rear dropouts.

XAdttexpressXAExpressforkcr

Typical shoddy Nervex workmanship, left untreated in this forkcrown.XAExpressheadlExpressheadl Expressheadtransf Expressmafacs Expressreardo Expressseatcl ExpresstripleStronglAnd look at the non-Nervex seatcluster. I was told by the owner of the Frisol-Zieleman that it´s not his bike, so the Express must be adormed with a mix of lugs.

The other bike that stood out was a Masi Prestige:

XAdttMasiPXAMasibb XAMasiforkcr XAMasiforkleg XAMasiheadtransf XAMasirearbrake XAMasireardo XAMasiseatclHaving regained the road, the group was split by a train at a level crossing, giving me the chance to take a few snaps of the gruppetto.

XAScharnke2 XAschranke1Soon, the next food stop loomed. More wafers with cream, sausages, cookies and Italian Limoncello liquor waited for the none too hungry cyclists, many of which had also partaken of coffee and cake at a cafe stop earlier on.

XAfood2All of the food was very nicely decorated to create an atmosphere of exquisite hospitality, right in the middle of nowhere. Participants were even able to wash their sweaty jerseys.

XAfood2washsnapThey weren´t, of course, the jerseys were part of the decoration.

By then I had given up on taking photos of all of the bikes, there just were too many. I restricted myself to details.

XAbikecrescXAChesOlymp XAChesOlympseatcl XAChromebike XAChromebike2 XAChromebike3 XADelhezheadb XADelhezheadlNervXAPinkJaboOn a more sombre note, we also passed by Grebbeberg Military Cemetary.

XAgrebbenberg1 XAGrebbenberg2Early on in the Second World War, the Dutch Army had tried to resist the invading Wehrmacht in a battle in which 420 Dutch and 250 German soldiers lost their lives. The battle is unconnected with the famous Operation Market Garden which was preceded by the Grebbeberg battle by about four years. It had taken place on 11-13th May 1940 right were the burial place now lies, and the cemetary now is the place where on each 4th May the Dutch national day of remembrance ceremonies are held. There are now about 800 Dutch soldiers buried here.

Back to the ride which did not pass without some technical hitches. There even was talk of a crash, but I couldn´t verify this. Most certainly, though, it was bedevilled by a number of punctures. Several times a sound like a pistol shot would announce another old tubular giving up its ghost. During the procedure to get the bike on the road again, many more conversations would be held, and on one occasion we were even able to watch part of a field hockey game in a location well chosen by the tubular which had blown up.

XAStopflat1XAgroupwoodXAflat2 XAflat3However, the weather was very nice, and so people didn´t mind for the most part, not even watching the game of field hockey. The ride ended considerably later than planned though, but this couldn´t mar the overall phantastic impression it left behind. It´s definitively a “tot volgend jaar”, see you next year.

Can I end the post like this? Guess so.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted September 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Where are all the carbon fiber frames bicycles
    Charles owner of a Hetchins 1958 in USA

    • Posted September 16, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink | Reply

      Good question – they were busy, too. We met hundreds of “modern” cyclists out on the road in the brilliant weather.

  2. Billy Ketchum
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks! You certainly managed to convey the joy and espirit of what must have been a great day spent on and among bikes. Cheers. Excellent pics as well. Billy Ketchum, Chicago.

  3. Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great story Toni! You said exactly the right words to describe this marvellous event.
    Regards, Erik Boelen

  4. Posted September 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely to read! It was a real honour to welcome you again this year. Also happy to know that you had fun again. Ofcourse you are invited for the 2015 ride already now. Tot volgend jaar! John

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