This week's blogger Thijs (student International Land & Water Management) has written a blogpost about some of the most enjoyable biking routes in Wageningen area, including routes for beginners and some more challenging options!
While the university is closed, studying goes on. The most of us are spending their days behind their laptops, staring at lectures who are struggling with their webcam. Spending time inside is wise during these times of quarantine, but with spring and summer coming the fresh air and sun are luring. You don’t need your legs for online studying, so let’s use them outside! Take that dust off your old racing bike and start exploring the beauty of the nature around Wageningen. And if you are not lucky to have a racing bike, a pair of running shoes or old rollerblades will also work to let work those legs out.
If you are not that experienced with biking on a racing bike, this can be challenging at the start. The tires are a lot smaller and the steer is often different than the steer on your Swapfiets. For beginners, I recommend to start with rounds of 25k to 34k. Since Wageningen is located perfectly for biking, there are many routes to start. Oh, and be prepare for hills: although you might think that the Netherlands is completely flat, Wageningen is situated next to the Veluwe and the ‘Utrechtse Heuvelrug’ which are sandy and full of (small) hills. I will show you four of my favourite biking routes in the Wageningen area. The first three are very suitable for beginners and can be done on a normal bike as well, however, if you want to challenge yourself have a look at route 4!
Before you start looking at the routes, it is urgent that I give some general biking tips:
- Buy yourself a spare inner tube and small pump for a few euros.
- Learn yourself how to change a tire: a sharp stone or piece of glass is enough to give you a flat tire.
- Some cash is always nice for the ferry’s as they don’t all accept a card, or for a nice ice cream.
- If you are enthusiastic about race cycling, there is network all over the Netherlands with bicycle paths only for bikers. This network is called ‘knooppunten’ and you if google this you can make you own route. At each intersection, a small sign will lead you into the right direction. I often write them down and tape them on my steer because remembering 40 number is often too much to remember!
I hope that you all stay fit and healthy these times although that won’t be a problem with these amazing cycling routes!
Route 1 is a route to the Ginkelse Heide. This is popular area next to Ede with plenty of bicycle paths for your first tour! During summer, the heather is flourishing in beautiful purple colours. This route is 26 kilometres and goes from Wageningen-Hoog to a small path which will lead you to the heather. After cycling around the heather, the path will take you back to the railway and then it continues to the village of Renkum. Pay attention to the small ‘valley’ between Wageningen and Renkum while biking, it’s especially beautiful during sunset.
Route 2 is a loop around the Rhine! The Dutch cyclers call this often ‘rondje bruggen’ which means a round over the bridges. Start with cycling to the dike and the go left to Renkum. From Renkum, we cross the bridge to Heteren. When you’ve crossed the bridge, you cycle all the way to Rhenen on the other side of the river Rhine! And if you planned your trip unlucky and you have the forces of nature against you, you can end your trip by taking the small ferry to Wageningen. When choosing this shortcut this round is only 20km. However, if you decide to cross the second bridge, you need to bike further to Rhenen! It is important to save some energy because you have to concur the Grebbenberg on your way back to Wageningen. During the second world war, a heavy battle was fought in this 52 metre high ‘mountain’. The memorial monument on the top and the military cemetery are reminders of this battle. If you made it past the Grebbenberg to Wageningen, your total workout was 36km.
Route 3 is a route that is perfect to spot animals! Cycle to Argo and continue following the dike to Rhenen. A few kilometres after you’ve passed Rhenen, there is nice are to spot wild horses, cows and deer at Plantage Willem lll (red circle and first picture). You can spot them from the road or park your bike and take a small hike. From there, it is only a few minutes to the next place to spot animals. This is at the Amerongse Bovenpolder (blue circle and second picture), I’ve spotted many fishes and birds here a while ago. There are nice places to have a good view over the polder (see photo below). The Utrechtse Heuvelrug north of Amerongen is perfect for mountain biking. You can rent them in this town and have fun all day on the nice maintained routes. From Amerongen, you can follow a path south of Veenendaal back to Wageningen. Just before you enter Wageningen, there is also a chan e to spot deer at the Binnenveld (yellow circle). This route is 42 kilometres in total and a few hundred metres shorter for the people living on the Haarweg (since we enter Wageningen from there).
Route 4 is a great, somewhat exhausting, challenge. Note: the three routes above are possible to do with your Swapfiets, this one isn’t. This a nice route to explore Arnhem, two castles, nature area the posbank, the rivers IJssel and Rhine and to train your legs with the many climbs. Start with cycling to Renkum, and when you are in the centre of Renkum, go to your right at the Kerkweg. From here, you start to climb the bridge to Heteren. When you’re about to cross the Rhine, there is a gate and you can only can go to the right. So you stay on the same side of the river. This feels a bit strange but it pays off with a beautiful road which leads you all the way to Arnhem. Take a look at Doorwerth Castle, with the oldest Acasia tree of the Netherlands (blue circle on map). From there, continue cycling to Arnhem Central Station and follow park Sonsbeek from there. Now comes the biggest fun of the route. The climbing part is beginning over a beautiful small path crisscrossing in the forest and you will end up with a beautiful view (see photo, made at the red circle). From there, a long downhill path will take you to Rheden and continue cycling to the river IJssel. Take the ferry to cross the river (1.10,-) and follow the dike south to the next ferry to Huissen (again 1.10,-). From there, go north to Arnhem and you can continue cycling on the dike next to the Rhine all the way to Wageningen where you can take the third ferry (1,-). The three ferry
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