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      June 2010 > Saddle sore - but back for more

Saddle sore - but back for more

helen and michelleWell, we’re back - and what a fantastic trip it’s been! A lot of cycling, a lot of laughs and many new friends along the way - not to mention one or two bumps and bruises! A big ‘thank you’ to Charity Adventure’ for organising everything so well - and making sure we got to 'Amsterdame' (and back), safe and sound.
When we set off on Friday morning, we were all extremely excited about our sponsored ride, albeit a little apprehensive about what lay ahead. There were 60 of us all together - 60 spirited ladies who left York in a blaze of yellow Marie Curie shirts, with the sound of tooting horns (not a vuvuzela in sight!), tinkling bells and the encouraging cheers of our many well-wishers ringing in our ears. For Michelle and I, it was our first such adventure but for others it was their third, and in some cases, fourth trip to Amsterdam! “Well, it can’t be that bad,” I thought, “if they’ve come back for more!”

Time for a refreshing break!The first section followed cycle paths and quiet roads that led to a well-deserved lunch break in Market Weighton - sandwiches and chips all round - excellent! Suitably replete, we were off once more, arriving in Hull by late afternoon. The ferry crossing turned out to be great fun - the bunks in the shared cabins were not half as bad as I’d feared and the hot shower was very welcome. I was looking forward to a bit of relaxation and headed for the buffet (which did not disappoint) and then into the Show Bar to watch the cabaret (which did!). Dan ‘the cabaret man’ tried his best but, to be brutally honest, I don’t think he’d have made it through the first round of ‘X-Factor’!

All too soon, it was morning and the dreaded loudspeaker crackled into life, forcing us from our bunks - one or two a little worse for wear. However, we all managed to make it to the ‘all you can eat’ breakfast buffet bar, sensing the need for a hearty ‘Full English’ in preparation for what lay ahead. From Rotterdam, we cycled through Delft and The Hague before heading north up the coast on a lovely path through sand dunes and pretty villages to the charming town of Katwijk where we had lunch. After a very long, tiring day, we eventually reached our hostel in the centre of Amsterdam, exhausted, but congratulating ourselves on a job well done. I’d made it! And tomorrow I didn’t have to get back on my bike!

With a whole day to ourselves, Michelle and I decided to take a canal cruise round this very relaxed city and to explore on foot. We did get a bit lost and only realised we’d wandered into the red light district when we noticed that the mannequins in the ‘shop’ windows were real women! 

cycling in HollandAll too soon, we were easing ourselves gingerly back onto our saddles and setting off on the return journey to Rotterdam, stopping by a scenic reservoir for lunch. The sun was shining and I was really beginning to enjoy cycling in Holland - for one thing, it’s nice and flat, and there are plenty of designated cycle tracks to keep you away from the traffic.

Among my companions was a group of loveable scallies from Liverpool who proved to be the life and souls of the party. They were loud, brash and very funny and continually cheered us up when the going got tough! While queuing for the ferry, Paula (an ex-Brookside actress and one of our team), sidled up to a line of very swanky-looking sports cars and joyfully relieved these generous people of all their spare cash for our very worthy cause.

Back in Hull, we dragged ourselves out of bed for our final day on the bikes. The weather was lovely, and we were in good spirits as we retraced our way back to York, there to be greeted by the proud faces of friends and family. My adventure was over and, collectively, we have raised over £20,000 - so far - for Marie Curie. I’m determined this will be the first of many cycling holidays - the only question now is, “where next?”
The Amsterdame 2010 team

Posted: 18/06/2010 11:37:34 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: cycling, Holland, sport

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