Saturday September 1st
The daily news are on the September
Friday August 31 (Termunten, km+71=5156)
It's a big change and a pleasure to be able, as soon as we
are in the Netherlands, to speak to the people using their language,
as we had to use english since our departure. We wondered to find
out that the Germans in the north speak very few english, but we
could manage to be understood, using a mix of english-german-dutch.
Today we went up slaloming between the sheeps droppings, a bit short-winded
after the long ride of yesterday, and under a less favourable wind.
We have embarked on the most charming ferry in the world, to cross
the Ems between Emden and Ditzum, before the dutch boundary. It
was a little pretty ship, only for pedestrians and cyclists: we
were 5 passengers, two on a tandem, one on a scooter, we on our
By the way, has someone a hint for a lodging in Amsterdam ?
Friends, nice youth hostel, little inn ? We plan to arrive there
on Wednesday night and stay 3 of 4 days, before riding to Louvain-la-Neuve
for the meeting of September 15th, the event "Faites rayonner
l'Europe" ("make Europe shining", difficult to translate
because the french word "rayon" means a ray of light,
and also a spoke of a wheel). See you there, before continuing further
Thursday August 30th (Upleward,
A beautiful day with the wind against our backs, we fly on the
dikes covered with macadam. Tonight we had a beer before dinner,
after that Gaëtane had some difficulty to stand up. The connection
is poor, I go up on the dike, it is 9:00 pm and almost dark, a mosquito
is buzzing around me.
Wednesday August 29th (Horumersiel,
Gaëtane had a second fall today, while taking a bit too
hard a turn on the cycling path. Again, more fright than pain. About
the hardware: a broken cat's eye, the front wheel turned 90°,
a brake needing a tuning and the rear lock a bit damaged. Concerning
Gaëtane: a scratched hand, and a ecchymosis on the left thigh.
This did'nt impact our morale which stays high, and we continue
After a look on a terrible camping (more than 1000 caravan places
we have planted our tent at the foot of a dike, amongst our friends
the sheeps, and near a natural preserve.
Tuesday August 28th (Sandstedt, km+66=4886)
A strong wind pushed us this morning: on the flat ground, we
could ride at 10 km/h without pedaling
We rushed into Bremer-Haven,
crossing first a huge containers and cars park. Pretty BMW's
model Z3 were aligned on waggons and in a parking.
We have spent 3 hours in a cyber coffee-house browsing in our golden
book and the websites of other cyclists adventurers as Fred and
Wendy, back from Singbybike, Jean and Anne-Cé who started
from Cap Tandem, and Jean-Christophe, ready to begin his raid Brussels
- Le Cap.
Monday August 28th (Spieka Neufeld, km+78=4820)
We had a rainy night and a beautiful day, the wind blowed from
the west, facing us until Cuxhaven. We did'nt like too much this
town, the few nice stuccoed and coloured houses being isolated amongst
ill-assorted buildings; the beaches are strictely regulated and
the access is charged for some of them. While riding we had to protect
ourselves with spectacles against the wind and the biting sand.
Sunday August 27th (Freiburg, km+61=4743)
The visit of our parents ended today at noon after the picnic.
Thanks to you, Marie, Philippe, Marie and Alain for these three
days together, with our bicycles, the shining sun, the light wind,
the panting sheeps, the joyous meals, and the confortable nights.
See you again at mid-September
Today we took two ferries, one of which to cross the Elbe below
Hamburg, and we presently ride down the other bank. At a pizzeria
in a charming village named Freiburg (how many Freiburgs are there
in Germany ?) we find out about the camping possibilities in this
Saturday August 25th (Meldorf, km+91=4681)
We can be proud of our parents who, because of an itinerary
underestimation, have ridden 91 km instead of the 65 initially foreseen.
The Vader (father of Benoît) is delighted and claims a beer.
At 70, it has covered that distance like a young man.
The day has been hot, fortunately we went along the sea, with a
facing mild wind. No sand beaches: the bronzing people lay on the
grass, facing huge mud-banks who are covered by shallowness water
at high tide. With our strongly harnessed bicycles we have passed
through a beach for nudists, who were not at all concerned by this
Friday August 24th (Harstettermarsh, km+47=4590)
This morning at 10:00 am we have all 6 together bestridden our
loyal mounts and pedaled along the dikes circling a huge bird sancturary,
the Wattensee reserve.
It's marvelous to speak and speak with my daugther, while admiring
a imposing landscape, and guided by super birdwatchers. Hurray for
the bicycle, especially after a beautiful ride through a flat land,
and no wind !
See also birdwatching.
Thursday August 23th (km+72=4543)
We are now in Germany, in an hotel facing a dike, the North
sea being on the other side. Yesterday we rode along the Baltic
Sea, and had our picnic on a hulk above the clear water. Today we
pedal at low tide along huge mud areas and have our picnic at Schluttsiel,
a small harbour.
Near a small village named Bordelum, we had an appointment with
our parents in an hotel, and we have met them with joy for a three
days bicycle ride. For them it's like we left yesterday, for they
followed us every day on the web.
Wednesday August 22th (Groengard, km+89=4471)
Beat the drums ! Tomorrow we will leave the Denmark and with
it the Nordic Countries, and not only the Scandinavia, because Finland
is not part of it, as we have learned. It is therefore the end of
the first big part of our adventure; we will come into more familiar
countries for a short month, the encounter with our parents tomorrow,
and the 15th September event which approaches quickly.
We had a beautiful day, under the sun and with a light wind in our
back; we rode alongside the german border, in a flat and calm landscape.
In a village Gaëtane found herself blocked behind a Corsa which
progressed very slowly, in spite of her frantic rings. That noise
was vain: we saw that car farther, two charming aged ladies went
out of it, on the parking of a clinic for deaf people
We have planted our tent near a biological farm; on the horizon
wind-mils tirelessly revolve, without any concern for the last scandinavian
night of bike8000.
Monday August 20th, 2001 (Simmerbolle, km+83=4284)
After a sunny morning the wind brought us clouds from the west.
We have crossed numerous cyclist travelers, at least 20, including
two families with children.
Gaëtane comes back all smiles from the shower; she suffers
a crick in the neck for the first time in her life, but regularly
put off the scarf I have recommended to wear.
Last but not least she stands on her gard, because our third "overnattningspladser"
is a farm with many classical animals, as cows, horses, hens, unfortunately
a dog, and worse: cats (a white one, a black, a gray, two reddish-brown
Sunday August 19th, 2001 (Guldbog km+61=4201)
We continue to follow road 9, and went through the nice little
town of Praesto, then attended the mass a bit farther in the beautiful
church of Skibinge, a village dated to the end of the 17th century.
The priest was a lady, wearing the soutane with a stylist ruff.
A pretty baby has been christened during the ceremony.
The "primitive overnatningspladser" system worked very
well yesterday: we have been welcomed by a former farmer and bus
driver. A tent was already planted in the mowed part of the nearby
meadow, with a couple of cyclists, students from Copenhagen. Tonight
the place is less enjoyable, a thunderstorm is approaching, besides
that everything is ok in the Danish Kingdom.
Saturday August 18th (Baekkeskov, km+101=4140)
On the road again, after a week of small urban rides. We will
follow the Danish national cycling roads nb 9 then nb 8, about 400
km till Flensburg, the german boundary, then about 50 km to Husum
where we will rejoin our parents on Thursday evening for 3 days
together. Road 9 turns to be excellent, very well signposted. The
day is beautiful, the sea is shining.
Wild camping is forbidden in Denmark, but they have a list of 700
locations allowed only for pedestrians, cyclists or horsemen, the
motor vehicles being forbidden. Moderate prices, rudimentary premises
but ecological formula: we have bought the booklet and are interested
to test this "primitive overnatningspladser" system.
Friday August 17th (Copenhagen, km+37=4039)
Like the London docklands, some districts of Copenhagen are
changing: daring office buildings, original housing, a superb architecture
school implemented in several old shipbuildings and harbour installations.
Even Christiania spreads farther than you think, on small experimental
houses along the lake.
Tonight we celebrate the theoretical first half of our trip
(we will probably ride more than 8000 km) at the Sun Circus, its
great white big top being for the first time implemented in a scandinavian
We remained one day more in Copenhagen to finalize our road
book and the time table till the appointment of September 15th,
prepare our departure tomorrow, and write a report on the cycling
Thursday August 16th (Copenhagen, km+37=4002)
4000 km at my counter, thanks to a super ride down town, amongst
the flow of the cycling people: in Copenhagen, 1/3 of the active
population goes to work on bicycle, 1/3 by car and 1/3 with the
public transportation. I am afraid thinking about the proportion
Nevertheless, they are rising, good friends cyclists,
you have the wind aft !
We went by chance through an extraordinary district : old workmen
houses, all alike along paved streets, many bicycles resting against
the façades. This St Paul Kirke district, alongside the Borgergade
is not mentioned in our guides, nevertheless we have loved it.
The Rosenborg castle has charmed us by many amusing points, horses
hovering above the landscapes, laughing fellows, a painting similar
to the one Gaëtane has restored.
We bought a road-map and a booklet of the bivouac sites at the Dansk
Cyclist Forbund, a nice office and an enthusiastic welcome.
Wednesday August 15th (Copenhagen, km+40=3966)
I feel much better this morning, ready for a cycling day in
the sunny Copenhagen.
First the Glyptothèque of Ny Carlsberg, the beer boss was
also an advised meacenas, he gathered an incredible collection of
Egyptian statues, antics, romantics, all in a superb building.
Then we have visited the free town of Christiania, born in 1971
in a place of barracks left by the army, facing a lake, and immediately
occupied by youngsters who refurbished all that to inhabit in that
place. Now Christiania is a "baba cool" town inside the
town, with many visitors; in the first street they are a dozen small
shops where it is unofficialy tolerated to sell soft drugs; then
more or less tumble-down booths, bars, workshops, as the one where
the well-known Christiania bicycles are build.
After that we had to run to be on time at Piet's appartment; he
is a diplomat at the Belgian embassy in Copenhagen. We have enjoyed
an excellent evening with him.
Tuesday August 14th (Copenhague)
After a two days throat pain, I suffer a heavy cold that leaves
me sleepy, resting in bed or on a sofa, sorry not being able to
come with my beloved wife for a bicycle ride through the center
of the Danish capital.
Here I am for a ride into Copenhague, leaving my patient. Practicing
bicycle in Copenhague is a sport, I mean the rules to observe. The
cycling tracks are spread everywhere, just broad enough for two
bicycles. You have therefore to keep your right, and to remain careful,
because you are not alone, by far. At the stop lights, we are an
average of a big dozen to wait. Afterwards another rule applies:
the ones who intend to start before the others keep themselves on
the left, but in general you are better to stay on the right. Then
any respectable cyclist starts at the orange light without waiting
for the green one. Last but not least, when you intend to stop,
you have to wave your hand, a bit like a Pope greeting. By the way,
you have to know it: Benoît issues the same signal when you
must stop immediately to watch some birds
Copenhague delighted me with its beautiful coloured houses in
Nyhavn, its many pedestrian streets (bye bye bike!), the bustles
in the streets
A very nice experience: cycling along the seaside,
the ships and sailing boats up to the Little Mermaid, as lovely
and small as touristic.
Monday August 13th (Copenhague km+17=3926)
We came here this morning via the new bridge linking Malmö
in Sweden to Copenhague. Bicycling is forbidden on it for security
reasons, therefore we have put our bicycles on the train, thanks
to a very convenient room designed for them. We are in a bicycle
country, we will come back about it.
We enjoy a charming home during the few days we will spend here.
Anne-Marie, a teacher in french we met more than a month ago in
the Tarnaby camping, sent us a mail and proposed to live in her
appartment while she is on holiday ! The appartment has wooden doors
and floor, and is located in an area dating about the 1930's, it
is charming, especially thanks to the common garden within the houses.
We have to leave now for an organ concert taking place in the nearby
church of Valby.
Sunday August 12th (Lund)
You would guess to be already in autumn, this gray and rainy
weather being more favourable to visit a town or read a book in
an hotel room, rather than cycling as braves.
We visited our third catholic church in Sweden, all of them being
a success as far as contemporary architecture is concerned. We knew
already the ending hymn thanks to a preceding mass: nearly integrated
in Sweden, we leave the country tomorrow
The outlines museum in Lund is worth a visit, the halls are full
of various projects in painting, sculptures, achitecture, with several
monumental pulic works.
Sketches of the Electricity Fairy by Raoul Dufy for the universal
exhibit of 1939 in Paris, the model of the wrapped Berlin Reichstag
by Christo in 1995, appliances by Braün from 1955 to 1980 (radios,
) with functional design by Dieter Rams
The cathedral was less interesting, except the mosaïcs in the
choir, and huge polychrome clocks.
This ends our broadcast "Holidays and Culture", presented
from Lund by our special correspondent in Lund. Have a good evening!
Saturday August 11th (Lund, km+64=3909
I have hated this morning, the craizy wind, a caterpillar-like
slow pace, bleak countryside: I feel better after saying it. Cycling
on long distances becomes our daily task: we generally find it much
rewarding, and some days, fortunately very rare, our bicycles become
A rottweiler standing on the road nearly has paid for these
frustrations: my autority succeeded to maintain it at safe distance.
I would have beaten it with pleasure, should I have an stick at
my disposal; as far as for Gaëtane, she was rather pale. It's
the first time that we see an aggressive dog wandering freely in
front of a house, up to now we have seen them properly kept on the
leash, or staying in an enclosure. Damned Mirza !
We have much better enjoyed the afternoon: the youth hostel,
quite unusual, was implemented in a train on an unused track, with
the rooms in the compartments, dining-car, sanitation car
but it was fully booked, and we falled back upon a Best Western,
the occidental luxury at moderate price. A sense of shame quickly
On the other side Lund is an old University town, lovely, we
will tell more about it tomorrow.
Friday August 10th (Trelleborg, km+59=3845)
During the night we have been rocked by the waves sound, our
tent being planted very close to the waterside. The road to Trelleborg
went along the south coast of Sweden, with peaceful views, a calm
sea but a rainy weather this afternoon.
We had a feast of Internet: one hour at the library, then another
one in a cybercafé to send photos. Then the same winning
scenario as yersterday: a pizzeria around 7:00 pm, a French leave
from the town, and our camp set up outside. Yep !
Now, it's time to give you an important appointment, a temporary
get together, and a feast of cyclism at the European scale. Meet
us on the Saturday September 15th at 9:00 am at Louvain-la-Neuve
for a bike8000 20 km ride, at the opportunity of an event organized
by our partners Pro Velo and Euro Velo "Faites rayonner l'Europe"
(make the Europe shine) with a special broadcast of le "Beau
Vélo de Ravel"
(translator's comment: play of words on "Ravel's bolero",
the word Ravel designates old railways tracks converted into cycling
All information by clicking here.
Thursday August 9th (Ystad km+39=3786)
The island of Bornholm
is a real paradise for cyclists, while we were going up along the
coast, to the north of Hasle. The track ran along the agitated sea:
strong feelings with the wind, the waves, the sprays, the sun
Picnic on a nice square in Ronne, then back with the ferry to Ystad,
a lovely mediaeval town, and goodbye to the Standaert family. We
have loved pedaling with you, stop in the youth hostels, and marvel
together at discoveries along the road. What a unforgettable experience
are these holidays on bicycles with the children !
Their last official comments:
Victoria (nearly 8 years): "I did'nt like the boat because
we have been too much shaken".
Henri (4 ½ years): "I hope they have fished good crabs,
I am hungry".
Théodore (1 ½, does not speak but thinks for himself):
"Why is he boring us with his reports ?"
Wednesday August 8th (Hasle km+36=3757
The excellent breakfast was served this morning in an outbuilding
besides the youth hostel. Then our party started towards Kaseberga,
a little village at the foot of hills boarding the sea.
We have encountered a german family who travelled with two children
in a trailer, then an austrian family with an identical train: this
way of travelling seems to be popular in the south of Sweden !
The following stop brought us in a fish-smoking shop, interesting
for adults and children. We bought some specialities for the evening
meal, then we visited this traditional little workshop. Woodfires
smoke during 4 to 6 hours the fishs lined up on the oven railings.
had underestimated the distance between Hasle and Ystad, and at
half past twelve we are the last to embark at the very last minute
on the ferry towards Bornholm, under an heavy rain. We therefore
disembark on the danish ground, still under the rain, and continue
in the woods for a short run.
Tonight our youth hostel is very disappointing. Jail corridors,
boarding-school dining-hall, covent living-room, holiday-camp dormitory
The answer is given by old photos: these facilities have been army
barracks before... you're in the army now !
Tuesday August 7th (Bakakra, km+38=3721)
The family holidays on bicycles are going well; our itinerary
leads us to the South, this time along the sea. A few meters on
the left of the road the smooth waves of the Baltic sea end up on
the sand beaches or on small rocks covered with comorans.
To the right, large meadows and horses, minute villas and some fishermen
Nomads pulling our caravans, we stop at the youth hostel and
prepare the so-called "aunt Augusta" pastry to celebrate
Guy's anniversary: he is 39 today !
See also the birdwatching heading
Monday August 6th (Baskemölla, km+34=3684)
This morning, our cyclist party looked as follows: head bicycle:
Guy with Henri and Théodore in the trailer, secondly Benoît,
3rd Victoria, 4th Gaëtane, and finally Caroline with a luggage
The word is given to the new incomers:
Caroline: "holidays on bicycle, what an extraordinary discovery,
Victoria rides very well, using the full range of gears; Henri and
Théodore are lovely in their "caboose", Guy pulls
them enthusiastically; Gaë and Ben ride as "pros"
on their fully loaded bicycles, they are perfect "G.O.'s"
(Note from the translator: Gentils Organisateurs, cfr Club Med).
They use to find their way while shopping in the local "Delhaize",
which is not evident with these swedish foods, and they have nice
tricks, like pic-nicking around churches, very confortable".
Guy: "a feel of liberty, this is my impression while riding
through the landscapes and coasts of south Sweden. The most impressive:
the organization, quality and numbers of youth hostels".
Victoria: "youth hostels are super: we all 7 sleep in the
"Benoît trowed the fishing rod, then took it again but
it was no fish; then hegave it to me and I catched a fish, this
was the best time of the day".
Théodore: "Reuh, zoui, hihi, yaaah, and other onomatopoieas"
Baskemölla by the Swedish painter S-A
Sunday August 5th (km+102=3650)
Yahoo! We have met Caroline, Gaëtane's sister, Guy her
husband and their children: Victoria (8 soon), Henri (4 ½
) and Theodore (1 ½ years). We will spend a few days together
on our bicycles. We are in a lovely youth hostel, a former farm
dating from the XVIIIth century, half-timbered and with a tatched
The landscape has changed completely since yesterday: much less
trees, therefore much less wooden houses; coming here we have crossed
reddish-brown hills dotted with a few trees. Before these hills
we rode along the sea in nearly-meridional pine woods.
We are happy to end these 8 days at an average progression of
more than 100 km a day, it was a bit too much for us, and we are
delighted to be as a family party for a merry common ride.
Saturday August 4th (Mörrum, km+104=3548)
morning we had to submit ourselves to a short bus trip till Karlskrona,
which we would have reached yersterday night, if we had not decided
a detour through Öland: the pleasure of discovery had priority
! We must first negotiate with the bus driver, because the Swedish
rules he showed us did'nt allow him to take our bicycles in the
bus. Fortunately his huge luggage compartments, the scarce number
of passengers and our honest look helped us to convince him .
To confront the wind, we continue our successive relays of 5
km. We try to remain in the wheel of the leader, which is not always
easy: Gaëtane uses to zigzag in the ascending slopes, while
I tend to shorten these ascents by some accelerations, standing
up on the pedals.
Tonight we were so tired on a little road that a jogger nearly
passed beyond us: we reacted by pushing firmly on our pedals, and
succeeded to avoid that shame. We are installed under oaks (since
Stockholm they are frequent, some of them being of several hundeds
years standing), and birchtrees.
See also the birdwatching heading
Friday August 3rd (Kalmar km+101=3445)
this morning, waking up in the tent, Gaëtane wished me a happy
birthday, it was a beautiful day, and the passing years offer to
me much more happiness than misfortunes.
There were not 36 solutions to join the natural sanctuary of
Ottenby, then Kalmar: continue towards the south end through the
west coast, by far the most beautiful, then going up to the north
along the east coast and take the bus which carries cyclists and
their engines to the other side of the 6 km long bridge, forbidden
to bicycles, which links the island to the continent.
The sancturary itself is splendid, with landscapes beaten by
the winds; its lighthouse, "Lange Jan", is the tallest
in Sweden. From the birdwatching point of view however, we could'nt
manage to watch 36 species, but someone informed us about a good
place on our way back, and there I could watch a feast of stints
as never before (as will be reported tomorrow).
The flowers also enjoyed us, 36 species boarded the road, it
was a real botanic garden.
Moreover, the wind had turned since the day before and while
going back we had to fight against side-blasts and avoid to fall,
which would have shown us 36 candles.
In a village we could consult Internet at the minute bookshop.
Many thanks for your 36 messages, either private or on the golden
book, they warmed us while the weather becomes colder and the rain,
which fortunately spared us during these last 15 days, is coming
Thursday August 2th (Triberga, km+92=3343)
A romantic, narrow and winding path, calm but in good shape
brought us this morning from Oskarhamn to Mönsteräs.
2:00 pm: we embark in the ferry to Öland
island, beloved by the Swedish. 137 km long and only 5 to 7 km broad,
it is covered by churches, windmills and runic stones; there are
also beautiful beaches in the north and sandy moors covered with
flowers in the south. We will discover this at the south end, as
well as a bird sancturary in Ottenby.
Around 9:00 pm a roedeer runs away from the meadow where we
will plant our tent. Curious atmosphere on this island, flat and
beaten by the wind.
Thwo unusual encounters in one of these villages. In a little
coffee-house a bit dirty, mother and daughter serve us ungraciously.
The girl appears to be a fortune-teller, or magician, or sorcerer,
according to the newspapers articles displayed on the walls. Antipathetic
200 m farer, another world: kindness, welcome and commercial
sense are at the meeting place in the "Pampas", managed
by a retreated Argentine musician, converted by his hobby to become
an asado expert. We leave him with food from his speciality, that
we will immediately devour, we die of starvation
Grey Lag Gooses land near our camp, in the rosy setting sun.
Wednesday August 1st (Oskarshamn km+116=3251)
The cykelsparet went today mainly along tracks without tarmac,
beautiful, with very low traffic, but after a time, it abrades tires
and energy. It's not advisable to gain speed in the descending slopes,
which would really help before attacking the following ascending
slope ! This path is like a scenic railway.
It has been the day full of dangers. First Gaëtane went
into the ditch, (the first time for us) fortunately a grassy, not
a deep one. No injury, but the luggages to fasten again. After that
she lost a strap after a jump in a pot-hole, then she striked me,
because I had suddently derailed in a slope. I have not been spared
myself, because when passing under a - powerful - powerline I catched
some electrical discharges in my bottom, while the coper rivets
of my saddle were crackling !
A very beautiful (and very expensive) camping falls from the
heavens for us just before Oskarshamn: we rush into it. Everybody
under the shower !
Tuesday July 31th (Segers-Gard,
Elsy and Rune have offered us an ideal breakfast well fitted
to confront a long and windy day. We arrive at 10:00 am at Söderkoping,
a nice small town previously near the sea, now crossed by a channel.
After that our road was toward south-east, the wind became lateral,
or even pushed us in our back: a pleasure !
Gorgious day, because we watched a couple of cranes, symbols
for us because they will migrate in November to the south-west of
Spain (Estramadure), where we hope to see them again.
At a point we leave the cykersparet for a gain of 20 km, out
of which 15 km facing the wind. We ride on very narrow roads, between
fields goldened by the evening light and red barns impressive by
their dimensions and age and, hurrah ! we retrieve the official
itinerary at the foreseen point !
To celebrate this splendid day, the longest too, we send you
a few figures. Moreover, the bicycle counter will soon go over the
web visits counter
Ok, some of you are on vacation, but you
could find a cyber cafee at your place, isn't it ?
See also the birdwatching heading,
and also a few figures
about the journey, as compiled on July 31th.