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Tony Pearce and myself (with about 100 other cyclists) took part in this event, for which we raised 1000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Charity Ride for
Breakthrough Breast Cancer
143 miles - Hook of Holland to
Amsterdam and back
31st. July 2003

BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER  is a charity committed to funding research to discover what causes cancer, how it can be prevented, and to develop new treatments so that ultimately the disease can be eradicated.  BREAKTHROUGH  has also established the first centre in the UK wholly dedicated to breast cancer research, in partnership with the Institute of Cancer Research.
Ride Itinerary

Thursday 31st July
Thursday 31st July
Arrive Hoek V Holland 15.20
Friday 1st August
Saturday 2nd August
Sunday 3rd August
Monday 4th August
Ferry departs 16.00

09.00 Arrive Harwich Ferry Terminal
10.40 Sail for Hoek V. Holland.
Cycle to Den Haag (Stayokay Hostel)
Cycle to Amsterdam (City Hostel Vondelpark)
Free day for sightseeing in Amsterdam.
Cycle to Den Haag by inland route (Stayokay Hostel).
Cycle to Hoek V. Holland Ferry Terminal
Arrives Harwich Ferry Terminal 18.50)


The ride was completed by 103 cyclists in perfect weather. After a calm, sunny crossing we all set off through the beautiful undulating sand-dunes and headed north towards Scheveningen, then inland to our hostel at Den Haag.   It was at this point in time that we met Pete and Mike, and despite all our efforts to loose them, we remained stuck with them for the rest of the trip!

Friday morning saw us riding through the town back to the coast (after a nasty experience at Vauxhall Bridge in my youth, I was glad to see the back of the tramlines) and along the dunes on wonderful cycle paths.     The day started a little cloudy, but very warm and by the time we hit the first seaside town the sun was shining on our backs.    There were many junctions to confuse the easily confused, but Tony and I worked on the principal that if the sea was on our left, then we were right!!   I think maybe the little green arrows put up by our intrepid Bike Events lads helped quite a bit too!    The field of purple sweatshirts soon spread out as our motley team succumbed to the smell of coffee from wayside cafés.   At the pretty seaside town of Zandvoort we turned inland through a lovely wooded area and through a couple of small towns towards Haarlem. About this time the Bike Events team really got us confused. We were looking for a burned out windmill .....and some idiot had replaced it with a brand new one!!    The rest of the lovely ride was uneventful, on wonderful cyclepaths into the city and into Vondelpark.    Here Tony and I spent a delightful half hour touring the park, looking for a non-existant circular café.    Again, somebody had moved it to the other side of the main road!   The Hostel was just behind some trees which we had cycled past about half a dozen times.   I did say we were easily confused!   The Team van was outside the Hostel as we pulled up hot and steaming, and the guy's told us that we were the first to arrive.   How the heck did that happen - had everybody else got lost?    As the girls had not yet arrived to allocate our rooms, we thought we really should (for health reasons only) get re-hydrated, so we set off through the trees to the circular café (which somebody had moved) and downed a couple of ice-cold 'amber nectars'.

Saturday dawned slightly cloudy but warm and soon turned into a blazing hot day.   We all set off after breakfast to explore Amsterdam and were all amazed at the sight of a city centre inhabited by people instead of cars.   The only things moving were trams (electric - no smells) people and bikes.   We spent the rest of the day desperately trying to keep Mike and Pete on the straight and narrow, and after watching the 'Gay Parade' on the canal (and some on the streets) we finally stumbling on a wonderful old (1720)bar in the 'old !!' part of the city.  The owner was a mine of information on Amsterdam and also made up hundreds of superb liqueurs.   After sampling a few of these we all decided that a bottle or two would be much more acceptable than perfume as presents for the girls at home and very carefully carried the precious liquid back to the hostel.  I'm happy to say that my bottle of Kersen-bonbon (chocolate and cherry)and Tony's super-smooth brandy put a big smile on Grace and Jo's faces.

Sunday morning was hot and sunny from the start as we left Vondelpark and out through the city suberbs.   At this point I must say that there were one or two jaded looking faces amongst our number.   The ride along the Amstel River was beautiful, with hundreds of Dutch families out on bikes and boats.   Because of the wonderful Dutch attitude towards cycling, we had all become very complacent at junctions, treating anything on four wheels with sheer contemp!   Most of the riders pulled up at a waterside café, consuming gallons (sorry litres)of lemonade and lime and a nice lunch.   After negotiating the narrow walkway over the lock gates we continued down a narrow but very pretty track and on to our next river crossing, this time by ferry.   At one point we passed a major road under construction which had huge glass panels sticking up at an angle to divert the sound.   We were on a wide track built alongside this road and could hardly hear the traffic.   The rest of the days ride was a wide variety of pretty scenery, through woods and little villages, alongside rivers and canals, passing some spotless flower and bulb farms with nice houses and perfect gardens.   Arriving back at Den Haag we came across a very wide road with many junctions which looked very daunting, but with our own set of cycle path traffic lights it was no problem at all and we made it safely to the hostel.   After our evening meal (the food was really excellent)we sat on the terrace with a drink or two and watched the canal go by until about midnight.

Monday was hot again, but we only had a short distance to go, so taking it nice and easy we did a loop out of Den Haag, heading for Delft.   After spending about an hour in this very pretty little town with its amazing twisted church tower, we set off across flatter open ground towards the ferry terminal at Hoek van Holland.   It was sad to be going home after such a wonderful time, sharing it with some great companions, especialy Mike and Pete, in a lovely country.   A lasting memory will be riding down the ramp from the ferry at Harwich with the sound of 103 cycle bells all ringing out.

Tony and I are also very happy to report that our joint collection for Breakthrough looks like beating the 1000 mark.   A very sincere thank you to everybody who has sponsored us.


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Waiting for the ferry at Harwich
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Tony 'sur la pont'

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The Gay Parade!
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Mike and his nice friends
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Vondel Park, Amsterdam
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Public inconvenience!!
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Pete, Mike and Tony
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Peaceful Amsterdam canal
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ready for home
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