A weekend in a velomobile: from the Ruhr to Texel and back
For years we have been going regularly with family and dog to Texel – a wonderful place! But this time I didn’t just want to visit the island, I wanted to reach and explore it under my own steam with my velomobile; over 700km were planned for 2 and a half days. The idea may sound crazy to some, but among cyclists and velomobilists it is by no means considered extraordinary.
Starting point: 51° 29′ 46.68 N 6° 51′ 49.68 E
The first stage of my tour started on Friday at 12:00 in Oberhausen. In summery weather and after a strenuous week at work, I set off. The first stage was about 200 km to Lelystad. Halfway there, I made a short stop in Wilp to fortify myself; unfortunately, the kitchen was closed, so only cold refreshment was possible. My second stop a few hours later took me to the picturesque harbour town of Elburg, where I enjoyed a well-deserved pizza. The day’s stage ended at the charming campsite “Buytenplaets Suydersee”. After a short chat with the manager, who was a pleasant conversationalist thanks to his knowledge of German, I pitched my tent, took a shower and then got into my sleeping bag.
Stage 2: From Lelystad to De Cocksdorp
The second day of my tour started early at 6:30 a.m., because the night on my very light but all the more uncomfortable air mattress was not particularly restful. I left Lelystad and set off for De Cocksdorp, the northernmost point of Texel. The journey began with a crossing of the Markerwarddijk to Enkhuizen. Unfortunately, the visibility was not optimal – on the left the higher road rose, while on the right the Ijsselmeer was veiled by haze and fog. Rain soon set in and accompanied me on my way. At 9:00 a.m. a forced rain break was necessary at a petrol station in Enkhuizen … Breakfast. Originally I had planned to drive along the west coast, but the persistent rain forced me to change the route. In rain gear I drove for about 2.5 hours through the rain until I finally reached the ferry to Texel. As soon as I arrived on Texel, the sun appeared and I set course for De Cocksdorp. During my ride, I earned curious glances from tourists, because velomobiles are a rarity on the island. In the “IJsboerderij Labora” I treated myself to a refreshing strawberry cup and at the same time used the sun to dry my wet clothes.
The trip took me to the northernmost point of the island – the lighthouse of De Cocksdorp. From there I made my way to De Koog to check on our holiday home from a previous holiday. I visited the “Manege Elzenhof”, the Eldorado for small and big riders. I ended the day at the beach “Pal 15”, where I greeted the sea. Then I had a snack at “Klif 23” in Den Hoorn: “Pannekoeken met Spek en Ham”. Then I bought some groceries at the supermarket and went to the campsite; again a very small, quiet site. The owner, a farmer, spoke neither German nor English, but somehow we managed. For 15 euros I had a wonderful campsite in the evening sun, including a shower.
On the third day of my tour, I was already awake at 6:30 am and started to take down my tent. Everything was quickly packed up again and stowed in the velomobile; don’t forget sunscreen and off we went. It was only 10 minutes to the ferry. On board I got 2 sandwiches for breakfast and at 8.25 am I was already back on the mainland: During the return journey I was greeted by perfect weather with a temperature of slightly above 20 degrees. A short shower interrupted my journey, but the first few hours passed without stopping for refreshments. No pubs with tasty cakes and closed petrol stations forced me to resort to energy bars and butter biscuits. It wasn’t until 3:30 pm that I reached Voorthuizen and was able to fortify myself with “broodjes” in a pub. Soon after, I reached the national border and was home again shortly after 9 pm. I pushed my velomobile straight into the garage and told my family about my short trip.
My weekend trip to Texel was undoubtedly a great change! Over two and a half days and 650 km, there was a lot of nature, nice people, mostly great weather and peace to enjoy. Many people don’t understand that, but for me it’s pure relaxation and I can switch off wonderfully. However, it was hard to have to go back to work the next day; I would have liked to have added another couch day.