Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bike-ulele tour, part 5

Tilburg wheels
I had been concerned that the dog odor would ruin my breakfast here in Tilburg, but it seemed to subside as we had our boiled egg, cold cuts, cheese, jam and bread. Inneke joined us. She told us that we were her very first vrienden op de fiets. I was surprised to learn that the homes of the cycling friends were not rated or inspected. Inneke's place was ok but not up to the cleanliness standards of most other vrienden. I liked Inneke, an attractive woman with short gray hair. She is some sort of new age consultant and also caregiver for old folks. She's into saunas and we traded our favorites.

(note: original date of this entry: July 20, 2012)

Inneke, friend of the cyclist in Tilburg
Del Rey and I rode east across the ring canal in search of the brewery of Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koeningshoeven. On the other side we took a path back to the Kanaaldijk, then followed the canal south to the road to the brewery. It took us just a few minutes to reach the ancient structure. But we were early, it wasn't open yet, and we didn't feel like waiting around. So we rode back into Tilburg, first skirting a broad suburban avenue, then heading into town where we had to go around one of the massive rides that had been set up for Tilburg's annual kermis, then leaving via the Bredasweg. At point 10 we left suburbia behind and turned south into De Blaak forest. The next town west was Gilze, a dull suburban agglomeration which didn't even have any cafés. We got bread and croissants at a bakery and continued west, picking up the fiets network on the Chaamseweg, a nice country road through farm fields. Toward point 59 the route enters the Prinsenbos, joining the LF-13. We had our lunch sitting on a rustic bench in a clearing. Very still and peaceful out here aside from the random racing cyclist or black helicopter, probably launched from the nearby military airfield north of Gilze.

Tilburg to Breda via the Prinsebos.
Riding through the woods here was magic: an endless corridor of lush vegetation, with rain-soaked plants sprouting high alongside the trail which narrows to the width of a single cyclist. This was an amusement park ride, a sheer joy. It feels as if you're flowing through the forest. On and on it goes like this, all the way into Breda. I was happy to share such a sublime ride with Del Rey since until then our rides had been marred by lousy weather. I was leading though Del generally rides faster than me, and I kept up a fairly brisk pace.

Del does Breda.
Just as we were coming into Breda, we passed a café and I suggested we stop for coffee. But I didn't like the place much--mostly suburban housewives out for a chat.

Yvonne's yard
Back in Breda we hit our favorite bar/brewery, De Beyerd, with a brilliant selection of Belgian beers and a sunny terrace. This, and the club where Del Rey performs tomorrow, are conveniently just down the street from our vriend op de fiets in Breda, Yvonne Lewin. I've stayed at Yvonne's place several times, including during Del Rey's last visit in 2011. Yvonne has a small but centrally located flat and a lovely garden out back. She herself is performer of sorts, a chanteuse of Yiddish theater tunes. She is the one who helped me set up last year's gig at the Café Hijgend Hert, where Del Rey will again perform tomorrow evening. Continued ...

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