A ride to enjoy the autumn colours

Although it feels a bit later this this year, the leaves are turning now. What better way to see the beautiful autumn colours than going for a cycle tour on a wonderful sunny Sunday afternoon?

When you want to cycle to see the foliage at peak colour you don’t have to pack your bike and drive to a recreational trail in this country, you can simply ride with your bicycle on the public roads from your own home.

In this 24km ride from my hometown of ʼs-Hertogenbosch I rode southwest to Vught and Cromvoirt. From there I rode north to Nieuwkuijk and then east to Vlijmen and back to ʼs-Hertogenbosch. To find a route, I had simply plotted one in the Fietsersbond routeplanner (which also has an English interface).

The route had all types of infrstructure. I saw separate cycle paths alongside major roads, cycle paths in the forest, a dirt road, and even some shared minor roads.

I met a lot of other people out and about, who also enjoyed the sunny autumn afternoon. People of all ages and backgrounds were cycling or walking and also I also saw a lot of cars parked at the entrance of a nature reserve. More on all of that in the captions with the pictures.

Enjoy my 900th video, which – at 1 hour and 18 minutes – is almost feature film length.

Billet en français

The starting point of this ride, the former city gate of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, the location of which is now indicated with hedges. The yellow pavillion is also visible in the final picture of this post, because this is also the end-point of the ride.
The cycle route south to Vught is temporarily two-way, until the second overpass a bit further down the road is ready. After that viaduct is finished I expect this cycle way to become one-way again.
The north circular road around Vught is very green. All lanes for each directions are separated. Not only the cycle way is one way on either side, also the two travel lanes for motor traffic are separated by a median with trees. Here, I was just overtaken by a racing cyclist, who is of course using the cycling infrastructure and not the roadway.
This parking lot at the edge of the heath of Vught was full with cars from people enjoying a walk in nature. Other people came on foot and they could use this zebra crossing, which is extended to also cross the cycle way. That is not very usual in the Netherlands.
All types of people use the cycle ways, also this man who seems to have been using some of the specific mountain biking trails in the forest.
Near Cromvoirt I used a dirt road to get around that village. This is not the only dirt road in the forest, there is a second one and at this crossroads they intersect. The road was dry enough and smooth enough to be used by bicycle.
North of Cromvoirt I had to use this shared road with no cycling infrastructure. The lines are ony there to make the road optically narrower. The few motorists I encountered here were all driving at appropriate speeds. It did not feel unpleasant to cycle here, but it was also good that it was only a short stretch.
The cycle way alongside this canal is again completely away from motor traffic. (Only mopeds may use this path too.) The road works sign is not so strange, but the 50km/h speed limit to go with it is very strange. It seems the builders did just pick a standard sign and forgot it was placed on a cycle way. The mopeds aren’t even allowed to go that fast.
I always love to cross this sluice. It is very narrow, but at this quiet spot it is wide enough. On this long canal this sluice is a welcome reference point. All the rest of the canal is exactly the same and that makes it hard to know where you are.
From the canal I turned into this cycle path that takes me deeper into the country side. I had never cycled here before, but the map told me it should lead me to where I wanted to go.
The second minor road that was shared was a bit more unpleasant than I anticipated. Some drivers were very friendly and they drove with two wheels on the rumble strip to give me a safe space. I couldn’t cycle on that strip, because the ridges are a bit too much for cycling. Other drivers were not willing to steer their vehicle onto that strip, or lower their speeds while passing me. It almost seemed that the bigger their vehicle was, the less likely they were to be friendly…
This windmill in Nieuwkuijk is attached to a restaurant that was very busy. Dozens of bicycles were parked near it, but as you can see here, a lot of cars were also parked in its vicinity. Even with those cars I had to include this view of the windmill!
From the forest near Vught the second part of my ride led me through the farm fields near Vlijmen. You cycle on a dike here, only necessary when other dikes would break. The higher location gives you a splendid view over the flat fields. In the distance there is even a view point in the shape of the bow of a peat transport ship, placed in 2016. From it you have a great view over the former peat fields.
From Vlijmen back to ʼs-Hertogenbosch I used the fast cycle route that was built in 2011. See my post from that time.
At this location the route runs parallel to the south circular road around ʼs-Hertogenbosch on the former railway dike, hence the higher position. That railway ran all the way to Geertruidenberg and is a cycle way for almost all of that former route.
As promissed in the caption of the first picture, we return to the exact location where we started. The yellow pavillion was used in the summer to sell tickets for a festival and you could get a drink there to enjoy outdoors.
A ride in Autumn, 24.1km around ʼs-Hertogenbosch, in real time.

Update on my health. Some of you have asked questions and others seem to have missed the earlier announcement. I have a heart condition, due to a birth defect. The situation was checked annually. This summer it was established that my heart condition deteriorated considerably in the last year, to the point that my aorta valve needs to be replaced. To prepare for the operation I underwent a heart catheterisation in September and I had a CT scan made on 2 November in the hospital here in ʼs-Hertogenbosch. That will be the last thing they do here. My medical file has now been sent to Utrecht, where the open heart surgery will take place. I am expecting to be contacted by the Utrecht hospital in the coming weeks. I have no idea yet of the time schedule for the next steps. Since the IC units are quickly filling up with non-vaccinated COVID patients my operation may be postponed, which also depends on the result of that last CT scan. (The average waiting time in Utrecht is listed as 101 days now.) In the meantime I can still do my day job (from home), but travel is very demanding (the walking part especially). I do cycle on, also to try and keep fit for the upcoming operation. Fortunately, I can still cycle longer distances, such as the ride in this post. Although it is clear that my average speed dropped from around 20km/h earlier to 18.4km/h in this particular ride and I need a full day to recover from such a ride. With everything I have filmed already, I am now expecting to continue blogging for the rest of this year. There will be a hiatus when the operation takes place, of at least a couple of months. When I know more about the date, I will tell you.

9 thoughts on “A ride to enjoy the autumn colours

  1. Is the peak folliage in The Netherlands in early and mid-November?

    What kind of camera do you use to film this wonderful videos?

  2. Episode 900, well done, Mark!!!

    Too bad about the idiots that are taking the place of people that actually need the hospital beds… I won’t say more than that.

    Both my wife and I are hoping that you get your surgery soon, and when so, it is a speedy recovery.

    Take care, Mark

  3. Love your posts and fantastic analysis. Hope your heart surgery is timely, smooth, and successful. Good thoughts are coming your way from Wisconsin.

  4. Your posts are avidly followed here in Eastern England.
    Sending best wishes for your forthcoming operation. My son, now 20 had a similar minor defect at birth and had an operation to repair a leaking heart valve that seems to be like this, about five years ago. That has been a compete success.
    Good luck for the near future and keep blogging when you can.

  5. I have totally appreciated your posts, and I look forward to their continuation (and yours) post-surgery!

  6. I hope your waiting time for ‘Utrecht’ isn’t too stressful.
    Enjoy the December celebrations and try to relax with family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.