Another ride around Utrecht province, north of Woerden, where there is a profusion of lakes, the Nieuwkoopse Plassen. In Woerden I rented a bike, which is kind of a clunker, a Liberta (€8, shop closes at 10 pm). I rode through town, then up a road toward kp 67; the trail was plied by many young blond people. The day is perfect.
Suddenly I spotted a guy cleaning up a knooppunt sign and I had to stop and meet him. A strong, shirtless young man by the name of Eike. He was washing the sign that pointed to kp 66. I mentioned to him that I'd ridden all over Holland but never actually noticed anyone working on a sign--till today. He said that sometimes the signs get damaged--kids like to shoot firecrackers off them for some reason. He showed me a bent sign inside his truck by way of example.
|Southwest end of Nieuwkoopse Plassen|
At kp 60, the route turns left along a quiet creek, the Meije, then makes an abrupt right at a gray cement water tower, slyly called "Pietje Potlood" (Peter Pencil), erected in 1932. From there, I open a gate and head straight through a farm field to the edge of the lake.
55 - 53 (Meije - Nieuwkoop)
A section of the LF-2 (the same route I took from Bodegraven to the Reeuwijkseplassen) cuts right through the southwestern part of the lake, called the Zuidenderplas, with little docks on either side and an actual beach. It's a splendid ride along a slender, leafy trail. Before long you reach the top of the lake.
Parallels a road along the northern bank of the lake. You don't see much of the lake but plenty of pastures to the north. In the bright sun of a September afternoon, it's a blissful ride through the town of Nieuwkoop till Noorden, where I stop for a koffie verkeerd at Café De Klinker. Just opposite the cafe is a landing for a ferry that crosses over to the south side of the lake to a point 500m north of the next knooppunt, 57. Unfortunately it happens not to function on Monday, the day of my visit. Then it stops for the season a week from now, resuming in May. This meant I would have to take an alternate route. I proceeded to the eastern edge of the lake (kp 82) and a bit east of there spotted a windmill--which in this country is something like grabbing the brass ring on a carrousel.
At kp 80, I headed south along a canal toward kp 19, which does not appear on the map but I guessed it was where I should be heading (back toward Woerden). Soon the paved path turned to a slender dirt strip, always following the bank of the canal. No 19 never appeared and I wondered if I'd somehow lost my way. Then the trail ends abruptly and an arrow points left. I ended up on a quiet road for a lovely casual finish to the tour: 6 km to Woerden via the villages of Kanis and Kamerick (N405, Kamericksche Wetering). Another great little tour, suitable for casual cyclists.