Riding to a pet crematorium

In my series of ‘real rides’ this is one I had rather not taken. Last week I had to collect the ashes of our dear little cat which had been with us for over 17 years. She died unexpectedly, less than 24 hours after a she had a massive stroke. We asked our veterinarian to have her remains cremated, but we only later found out that the pet crematorium they chose was in Boxtel. After the cremation I really only had one day to get her ashes, since I had to go to hospital for my coronary catheterization. I knew I would not be able to cycle for a week after that procedure (even though my condition does not have much influence on my cycling abilities otherwise). On top of all this my mother was also admitted to hospital, that same week. When it rains, it pours is the saying. The Dutch equivalent of this proverb would translate as an accident never comes alone. Both sayings seem very appropriate to describe our last week. The only good news was that my heart condition isn’t worse than already established; the examination revealed that my aorta valve is indeed the only thing which needs to be replaced. However, since my right arm was in a sling for most of the past week, I will only have a picture post for you. I hope you’ll understand that it was more than enough work to have to type almost everything in this post with only my left hand!

billet en français

I started to record my ride on the south-end of the historic city centre of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. This used to be a traffic sewer until a few years ago. Now the city recreated the outlines of the former city gate in hedges. I wrote about this place in an earlier post.
From ‘s-Hertogenbosch I rode south to Vught which took me past the new cycling overpass which I showed you only two weeks ago.
In Vught I took this street with many driveways. It featured in an older post and video.
The cycle ways in the Netherlands are not immune to being invaded by other vehicles. I liked how the corner of this vehicle was protected by a package with some soft insulation material. You can see that whoever put this down there did think about people passing here on bicycles. A bit down the road there was another vehicle on the cycleways. There, a traffic warden made sure nothing went wrong.
The tall tree on the left is a beech that was saved when this road was redesigned in 2019. I wrote a post about it. The new foot bridge in the distance had not been finished at that time. It has now. The red light in the foreground indicates that the retractable bollards are up. There is a small sign telling people the red light does not apply to cycling.
The red asphalt of the cycle way in the foreground was new in 2019. There is a clear line from where the cycleway got asphalt between 2019 and 2021. I had not seen this asphalt yet. The network is constantly changing in this country.
The same location (in the opposite direction) of the previous picture in 2019, showing the former surface of red tiles.
It’s an old joke, but this warning sign for a wildrooster in Dutch does not warn for a wild rooster in English. In Dutch it simply means cattle grid. You can just see it in the surface in front of the cyclist in the distance. They are usually placed to keep wild life in certain nature reserves.
I did not take the shortest route to the pet crematorium. That would have taken me through Boxtel on a route that I did show before. Instead, I went around Boxtel, because that led me through woods like these on very good cycling infrastructure.
This road from Esch to Boxtel is a very nice rural cycling road (fietsstraat). It was quite busy here and there were far more people cycling than there were motor vehicles. The main route for motor vehicles is somewhere else.
Once I got to the west of Boxtel in the rural areas, I rode mostly on country roads like this one. There is a speed limit of 60km/h on such roads. Thanks to low traffic volumes, and edges that you can cycle on, that does seem safe enough.
Where the roads have a higher motor traffic volume, there is usually separate cycling infrastructure such as this bi-directional cycle path on the N264 road from Boxtel (west) to Oisterwijk.
I crossed two railway lines several times in this route. When I crossed a railway for a final time I had to wait for an intercity train between Tilburg and Eindhoven.
The destination, the pet crematorium where I could collect the ashes of our cat Pippi.
We had had Pippi since she was a kitten. Her absence is really felt, because she had been a part of the family for so long.
My ride to the pet crematorium west of Boxtel from my home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch via Vught.
The distance was 14.2 km which I cycled in 43 minutes or an average speed of 19.8km/h (12.3mph)

One day after the ride I had to spend a day in hospital. This smile was of the relief that the investigation was behind me. That the camera in the tube to investigate my heart had to enter via my right wrist was really unpleasant, since I am right handed. Fortunately, all is well again with both my arms now.

12 thoughts on “Riding to a pet crematorium

  1. Mooi filmpje weer. Nu naar mijn geboorteplaats Boxtel. Wist niet dat daar bij de Kampina een huisdierencrematorium is gevestigd. Sterkte met de gezondheid.

  2. So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved pet cat. Like Paul’s comment, I understand that the loss of a pet can be very painful. I am also glad to know that the medical procedure you went through was successful and is now over. I look forward to many, many more years of your wonderful blog!

    1. Ah, I was not clear enough. This medical procedure was an assessment for the open heart surgery that is to be planned. I’m not done yet, unfortunately. But thanks for the good wishes.

      1. I’m sure all will go well with your heart surgery. Be happy that the assessment went through your wrist, the wire used to go through your groin, and you had to lay flat for a good while afterwards. Now that would hinder cycling even more than a sore wrist 😬.
        Perhaps in the weeks after your operation you might do short opinion pieces from home (that is after you run out of the videos you said you made earlier).
        But I’m also sure Mark, if you have to take a sabbatical to recover properly or look after family, that none of the people who follow your blog will mind. Your health and family have to come first. Wishing you strength for your operation and hope to see you back soon in (on) the saddle.

      2. So sorry for your loss, and I wish you a very healthy fiture. Thanks for all your informative posts.


  3. The ambition for the Dutch railways infrastructure is to get rid of all level crossings. At least for all intercity connections. Many tunnels are build around the country to give bicyclists an underpass. Some are met with protests because of the inconvenience.

  4. Hi Mark. I have a similar black cat who is 18 and we had to take her to emergency vet yesterday but somehow she’s recovered enough to move on to one of her nine lives. So I really feel your pain, as I had a good cry yesterday. I’m sorry for your medical issues, but grateful you spent the time on the blog. One idea for later might be to visit at pet cemetery. They are not common in my homeland (USA) but I’ve stumbled across several in NL (always by bike) and I find them always lovely and I enjoy reading the various messages and artwork on the graves. Long live Pippi in your hearts!

  5. Sorry about the death of your cat.
    I hope your mum is okay, nothing too bad?

    It is nice seeing your smile, with all that you are going through.


  6. Condolences, Mark. The grief following the loss of a pet is often more painful than after losing a human you love, as the relationship is purer & uncomplicated with an animal, with the memories being almost entirely positive. It makes it hard for those who’ve not lost an animal companion to understand fully. Love to all.

    1. Thanks Paul, very good to hear from you. Yes, I know you would understand, having pets yourself. This was such a sweetheart. With the working from home in the pandemic she had been in my working room or on my lap for most of the last one-and-a-half-years. Even my colleagues miss her. Her head or at least her ears would always show in video meetings. We have another cat (10 yo) who was more distant, but she is already getting closer now.

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