Stories & Experiences

Gareth Kirkham

Gareth Kirkham

Last year I embarked on my first bikepacking adventure mountain biking the Pennine Way I enjoyed it so much that I was keen for another round, this time on the road bike and now that we were allowed to leave the country this year I was keen for a european adventure.

I love North Wales and the outdoors and nothing beats zipping up and over our hills first thing in the morning or late in the evening when the roads are quiet but I’ve not done it whilst carrying a weeks worth of kit and lets face it our roads are not equipped that well for cyclists as some of our european counterparts, so it was quite easy to choose which country to first experience road bikepacking… Holland!!

With over 32,000km of bike paths on nice flat routes and just the right temperature the Netherlands seemed like the ideal choice and a few google searches later I came across the LF Routes. These are great long distance cycling routes around holland. signposted all along the routes whilst using all thier cycle lanes. The first circular one I found was was the Zuiderzeeroute, a great 440km route that goes around the IJsselmeer that was formaly known as the Zuider Zee, the now lake was originally a lake in the 12th century but eventually the sand banks seperating it from the North see crumbled away and created a bay which threatened the Dutch with flooding, eventually in 1916 after yet more flooding they approved the Zuiderzee works, a major hydraulic engineering project that involved building dykes, draining parts of the Zuiderzee and constructing the Afsluitdijk to keep tides and high water out.

This created the IJsselmeer lake and with it being cut off from the sea and having fresh water pumped in from the rivers soon became a fresh water lake, the biggest in Holland.

You can read the whole story on his website