Today’s cycling was going to be a brief outing, because we had Adam with us for the day. As he wrote below, Adam didn’t have much cycling experience, so we wanted to pick a route that was short and safe, but still interesting. The more so after I saw exactly how wobbly he was on my bike. I had penciled in a few destinations, but Sidsel had a much better idea: going around the Paterswoldsemeer to the nature preserve at Friescheveen.
I don’t give Sidsel enough credit for both her planning ability and her knowledge of the area. She’s only lived here since 1996 whereas I’ve lived around these parts all my life, but she knew about this place and I didn’t. Friescheveen is a recent piece of nature, but unlike many other such places, it’s not artificial. It’s land that was left over after all the turf had been dug out, which when left to itself became wet and marshy, attracting birds and marsh vegetation. It’s not so marshy that you can’t walk there though – if you don’t mind getting mud on your shoes.
The other part of Sidsel’s idea that made it so brilliant is just that – having the short cycling trip supplemented with a one-hour walk through the nature preserve, picking blackberries (as well as sampling an unripe, wild pear) and ending in a birdwatching shack. Walking is something that Adam is a lot more used to, whereas it was a bit more strenuous for me, so things were balanced out a bit more. Sidsel walked up front most of the time, leading us over the treacherous, muddy paths and to new foraging spots like an alpha primate.
We changed bikes after the first kilometer or so, finding that Adam was more stable on Sidsel’s bike than either mine or Jeroen’s spare bike. Since we started on our journey’s, Sidsel has had her old bike tuned up, so it’s now a better-balanced bike than mine.
Blackberries are at their best by now, depending on how much sunlight any location has got in the past few months. On our way back, I saw middle-aged a couple filling an old ice cream box with blackberries from a municipality-owned patch, and they were getting quite a few of them. My father’s harvest from his secret spot has also been exceptional this year.
By the time we got back, Adam’s bicycling skills had got considerably better. You do need practice to ride’em, but not that much of it. He’s well-muscled, but we’ll still see how his legs feel in the morning.
Next week, we’ll probably compensate for the shortness of this trip by going to Emmen – 60 kilometers.