Utrecht to Arnhem – Pancakes! Parks! Attempts?

Inside of Princenhoff, Pancake House and restaurant.

Inside of Princenhof, Pancake House and restaurant.


The second day of our cycle tour of the Netherlands, Rachel and I awoke early, but not early enough to see our host from Couchsurfing, scoot off to work. We were awoken by his furry friend, a forward feline named chip. We too scooted off, out of Utrecht, stopping at Princenhof for some Pannenkoekens and beer before heading out along the bikepath towards Arnhem. The trip had kicked Rachel’s ass yesterday. As previously mentioned, she had never cycled before and so the 60km, supposed piece of cake trek from Amsterdam to Utrecht, was more like a piece of metal shrapnel lodged into her legs, than delicious cake lodged in her mouth.

Princehof's famous chef

Princehof’s famous chef

The day’s ride took us through beautiful forest and countryside. Passed ba’ing sheep and woofing dogs and naying horses. Many people were out and about on their bikes, from very old to toddlers perched in makeshift baskets. Quite heartwarming to see a society promote the bicycle, as Netherlands tends to do. Needless to say, after another long day, Rachel’s legs were aching and so we decided to stop in Ede, a town I had been to before, on a previous bike trip through this region. Not much to this town, so we interneted it up at a Mcdonalds and found a good deal at a nice hotel, the Reehorst, to refuel for the next day, where we would cycle to Arnhem and on our way check on the Netherlands elusive desert.

For some reason, from this day, all I have is photos of Princenhof.

For some reason, from this day, all I have is photos of Princenhof.

Details of Princehof.

Details of Princehof.

More details of Princenhof.

More details of Princenhof.

Check out the accompanying video:

More info on this leg of the trip:

Pannenkoekenhuis Princenhof

Address: Hoofdstraat 1, 3971 KA Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands
Hotel Reehorst
Address: Bennekomseweg 24, 6717 Ede, Netherlands


Rhijnauwen is a castle, former heerlijkheid (fiefdom), and former municipality in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It was located northwest of the village of Bunnik.

The municipality of Rhijnauwen consisted of Nieuw- and Oud-Amelisweerd (red and orange), and the original heerlijkheid Rhijnauwen (yellow). Shown here on a map of the municipality Bunnik in 1868.[1]

The municipality existed from 1818 to 1857, when it was merged with Bunnik.[2] It consisted of the former heerlijkheden Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen.[3] Around 1850, it had 50 inhabitants.

The name is still used to denote the small forest that separates Bunnik and Utrecht.
The name is probably derived from Rhijnauwen Auen, an old word for the wet meadows along the Rhine. The estate is probably from the 13th century. The first mention of the manor Rhijnauwen dates back to 1212. The House was in the first half of the 14th century it belonged to the genus of Lichtenberg. This family was one of the most powerful families of Utrecht and had also Lichtenberg House, which was located in a place now part of the town hall in Utrecht. Rhijnauwen was officially recognized in 1536 as a manor. After the marriage of John IV of Lichtenberg Aleid Renesse came from the farmhouse in the hands of the family Van Zeeland Renesse. In 1449, the brothers Frederick and John Renesse Rudolf after the victory of Deep Holt Zweder banned from Culemborg, and in 1450 the house was on fire Rhijnauwen commissioned by the city of Utrecht. After the house has exchanged owners several times. The last private owner of the house was the family Rhijnauwen Strick van Linschoten Rhijnauwen bought in 1773. In 1919 the estate was bought by the city of Utrecht. The then owner, the Dowager Strick van Linschoten should stay there until the end of her life. On April 1, 1933 was leased to the hostel Rhijnauwen Foundation, which gave the building its current destination.




The Possibility of My End – A Bike Tourist’s Fears

Me on a ferry from Zebrugge to Hull.

Me on a ferry from Zebrugge to Hull.

There is only so much you can prepare and read up on to cycle around the world. The preparation comes in the form of amassing enough bicycle and survivor knowledge to make it through the rougher, more isolated patches of the tour, being attuned to quick fixes, work arounds and just knowing of the very possibility of being stranded with your loyal, two wheeled steed. Reading provides additional knowledge about these dire times on the road, but also acts as sort of a harlequin novel, a steamy romance, a fantastical exposé brimming with exoticism. It never seems real, even when there are people I know in the publication’s pictures, people I have met amidst the journey that I now read about.


Pancake in Middelburg, Netherlands

Pancake in Middelburg, Netherlands

So there is a gap in reality, an unfathomable, and unpreparable amount of possibilities that precariously latch on to a “world cycling tour”. These “what ifs” hit me like a cacophony of screaming voices, naysaying that this as a great idea, doubting it’s logic, tearing it apart like it was a carcass, and each melancholic tone was a ravenous hyena. Some of the voices are real, as in, they are real people telling me of their fears of what is to become of me. Some of the voices are deep inside of me, concerned for my own soundness of mind and safety. My biggest fears of the road are as follows.






On my 2010 tour from Amsterdam to Istanbul I experienced this. Two Bulgarians beat the shit out of me in Svilengrad. In the end, they only got a pair of battered sunglasses and I was able to ride through Greece and into Turkey the next day. My fear is what if it had had a less pleasant outcome? What if they had had weapons that they simply didn’t just carry for brandishing purposes? I know that being robbed and hurt is always a possibility, even in my own city, but especially when I travel to countries where I appear to be an anomaly, associated with the wealthy Western hemisphere, simply due to my leisure form of travel and the colour of my skin. I have theorized how I will try to avoid this from the get go. Again, if anyone has better alternatives, please chime in. First is to camouflage the bicycle. I don’t care about its appearance; just it’s condition and functionality. Scratching it, smearing paint on it, dinging it a bit, may draw less attention to it as a shiny, new bike and that it’s owner is financial well off. Growing out my hair, both on my face and head, may also give myself the appearance of a gruff vagrant, a drifter, as opposed to a bike tourist who has a Gopro Camera, computer and plethora of other gizmos and gadgets on his person. Finally, I plan to carry an additional wallet on me, that only contains a few dollars and possibly some expired cards. My theory is, that as long as I present the robbers with something and that in the heat of the moment, they think that is all I have, they may take it and let me go along my merry way.



Some crazy dude rebuilt Noah's Ark in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Some crazy dude rebuilt Noah’s Ark in Dordrecht, Netherlands.




As quick as a spark from flint, civil disorder, violent upheaval and run-amuckery can explode in any corner of the earth. Tensions can lead to sweltering results and my fear is that I get unknowingly entrapped in a situation, which puts me face to face with blind and jaded violence, that takes aim at anything moving in it’s general vicinity. There is no way to avoid this unforeseen problem, asides from keeping my ear to the road, asking locals about each step of the journey, keeping abreast of any reports and/or rumors and being flexible to change my plans at a moment’s notice. There are certain countries that have been built into my Eurocentric mentality to fear. A large part of this journey is to reconsider these fears and if they are built upon generalized fiction or appalling truths. Yet, they still remain fears, that no matter how much blunt logic stands against them, like the peak of a rollercoaster, the thought of them, makes my skin clammy, my breath pick up, my heart run a marathon.


Kinderdijk, UNESCO windmills in the Netherlands.

Kinderdijk, UNESCO windmills in the Netherlands.


Natural Obstacles


Cyclists die all the time and aren’t found for months due to the remoteness of their final resting places. The human body can only endure so much starvation and exhaustion, before turning on itself, shutting down specific faculties, breaking down tissue, trying to protect and feed the brain and heart from finally giving out. Sorry for the details, but I am scared of these places, scared that my bike knowledge will suddenly escape me and I will stranded with a broken bicycle in the middle of a desert or on the very top of a barren mountain with not a sign of life for a thousand kilometers in each direction, snow spilling out of the guts of the cloudy skies above. I am trying to avoid this by compiling a “Bikes for Dummies” guide for myself, both as a digital and physical copy, in case I run out of electricity and/or my solar panels are dead or broken. Each plan has a backup plan, so if A doesn’t work, or B, C will definitely work. I am trying to cover all my bases to avoid, peaceful nature, turning into maleficent natural disaster. I plan to switch out gear when I come to the big cities, because as the weather and the terrain changes, it will require a different approach to each aspect of road life. A tent will be needed instead of a hammock, a cover slip will be replaced by a thick sleeping back, thin and wiley tires, will be replaced with ones with ultimate traction. Again, being practical and unheroic about each step, will avoid any nasty surprises when I realize I didn’t bring the appropriate tools for this specific leg of the journey. Also not being an idiot and heading into nature without knowing what I am to be looking forward to, is probably a safe bet to avoid disastrous foolhardiness as well.



Delft - Town centre.

Delft – Town centre.




A simple tattoo, if revealed, may sway people’s entire perception of me. When I was 17, I got my first ink on my left shoulder, in memory of my grandfather. The Hebrew writing, reads Shlomo, and in fine small cursive below it reads “home again, home again jiggidy jig” from the nursery rhyme about the pigs, a phrase that he use to sing song mutter under his English Leather scented breath when we returned home. I am worried that if people see the tattoo, they may simply dislike me due to our religious differences and the assumptions they associated with Judaism. I am not religious in the slightest, nor care to divulge to people my opinions about a homeland, that I have no connection to. When I think it is necessary, I am not ashamed to hide the tattoo and with it, my Jewishness. My role, as a visitor to other countries, is not to antagonize nor question. It is simply to visit, to learn and to listen. Politics and religion, as dividing markers are the ultimate measurements of stubbornness and unwillingness. Let’s talk about history, trees, laughter, a world of other things that do not ultimately pit one against another.


The minster of Beverly, England.

The minster of Beverly, England.


It will be a nerve racking, yet adrenaline pumping three years and part of my safety net is knowing that you read this and are along with me every step of the way. The Kerouac inside of me sees this writing as the ultimate testimony of my existence and tracks my process, physically and mentally, as I am subjected to struggles and victories each day. The mama’s boy inside me, smirks at my self deification and sees these words as more as a pinpoint on a map, that if I go radio silent (or blog silent), my mother can start her search for her only son. Yes, it’s morbid, but that’s just the delicate, high wire act that is this so called life. Oh yeah, and deportation/visa problems. Those suck as well, but since I have experience with them, which is a long winded tale for another time, I am more annoyed than scared of them. Being able to laugh off shit, is also an important tool. Shit will happen, it’s my reaction and lasting impression that will truly mar and heighten my tours.

Make sure to follow, like and more importantly add your suggestions to the forums for the WORLD TOUR, continentforums.wordpress.com


Ira – Misguided Guide of Cycling the World


Fucking Up – The Fast Track to Learning Your Bicycle


In 2010 I went on my first tour without an iota of bike fixing no how. Basically my understanding of bicycles was, you pedal, they move forward, you brake, they usually stop. I left home with a single multi tool that I had never used before, a set of allen keys and a portable plastic pump. I don’t even think I brought extra tube with me. I am sure I didn’t have any extra spokes. This would all seem like red alerts for future me of a bad situation festering and plotting, but past me, was oblivious to bike failure or it’s maintenance to avoid it.

And nature and the odds pitied me all the way to California. I had travelled hundreds of miles down the coast without a single issue with my bicycle. I had picked up the concept of bike chain lubing somewhere on the side of the road in Washington, so even the sound of my used jalopy was pristine. Nothing was out of line, the wheel was straight, and the brakes weren’t rubbing. From a current perspective, this possibly was the all too calmness before the storm, the sitting in your home, asleep, unaware that the heavens were black and swelling with conspiratorial storms in the works.


oooooooooooh, Klamath, California.

oooooooooooh, Klamath, California.

Then, in Klamath, California, under the awning of ancient, thick sequoia trees, the timer stopped unexpectantly. I was staying at a motel across from the large statue of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Bull that stood in the parking lot of the Trees of Mysteries, part theme park, part museum, part schlocky tourist trap. The motel had a restaurant attached to it. I was sole patron, made to look even more depressing, as I was drinking beer, with the accompanying meal being the sampler appetizers combo, which consisted of a lot of yellow fried things that are usually shared between 12 likeminded, intoxicated individuals.  Blech times 12. The taxidermy duck legs that hung down from the faux water ceiling and the stuffed bear at the entrance, which were features highlighted by dead fly filled florescents, encouraged me to pay my bill and seek food elsewhere. Back in my room I removed my panniers from my bike, Klalita, and rode towards the “town” nearby, which reportedly had a general store or mercantile of sorts. What I had forgotten to remove were the bungee chords that I used to secure my tent to my rack. They went unnoticed for about a kilometer in and a half, when all of a sudden, around 6:30pm or so, one of them twisted around the back cassette, tearing my chain in half.


An amazing meal...

An amazing meal…

“My trip is over…”


This was my first thought. As I carried my bicycle back from whence I came, I attempted to work out where I could catch a bus, with all my gear and bike, back to Canada. This minor atrocity, at the time, seemed like the destruction of my entire world. Yet, as I entered my room, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, as I washed my hands off of bike grease, I realized that while it seemed as if I was in the middle of nowhere, I really wasn’t. I was in the US of A, which had a plethora of amenities that could salvage my bicycle and the trip it was on. I had passed MANY bike shops and cyclists, so finding one of those was an option. But then I remembered….I HAVE TOOLS! I have no idea what they do or if they can help me, but it was a worth a shot trying to figure them out.


Amidst the repairs

Amidst the repairs

With a slow internet connection, I typed my bike issue into the Youtube search menu. 85 million results. 84 million of them were tutorials on how to fix a chain. I set to work, following the step by step guide. Though it took several hours for a job that would now take me ten to twenty minutes, the exhilaration of fixing my own bike was worth the struggle. I had discovered a new desire to know everything about bicycles, to be as self sufficient as possible on future tours, that I now knew I wanted to have.


The view from across the hotel  -Klamath, California.

The view from across the hotel -Klamath, California.

The safety net of being in a country with a plethora of resources for cycle tourists and travelers of all levels made it an ideal first country to tour in and more importantly, make mistakes in. I recently saw on a forum a cyclist lambasting people for touring without knowing your bicycle inside and out. While I think, if I were to do this trip over again, I would have learned a few more key skills in regards to bike fixing, but I would also say that nothing really prepares you for fuck ups. And fuck ups themselves are great teachers, as well as put you in contact with great people, opening lovely dialogues about bicycles and beyond. I think it’s unfair to say YOU MUST KNOW EVERYTHING TO BICYCLE TOUR. That is elitism at it’s finest. I think a working knowledge of things can avoid problems down the line, but I also think that I would rather people get on their bicycles, then not get on their bicycles, because they feel they are not part of the “club”, own a crazy amount of lycra or are dissuaded to tour, because of their lack of bike know-how. I know several non-cyclist cycle tourers who know enough about bikes. The rest, they fill in along the way. And sometimes you just need to improvise. In the end, it will all work out and you’ll feel the exhilaration of coming to a solution, whether it is the tried and true way, or the wonderfully creative and makeshift approach.