Autumn is a beautiful time of year as far as forests go, with that vibrant mix of greens, yellows, oranges, reds and browns. Add in some sunshine and a decent temperature, and you have all the ingredients for a lovely bike ride.
Last Sunday, the sky was clear when I woke up and the weather forecasts were good. My schedule for the day was empty, so the decision to go for a ride was easily made. Unfortunately, there’s hardly a patch of forest around here, but that was easily solved. I took my bike onto the train and travelled to the city of Amersfoort, in the centre of the Netherlands, right amidst several forests. (It’s also the place that I was born and lived in for the first nine months, but that was a coincidence. I went to Amersfoort because it’s surrounded by forests and there happens to be a bike route passing close to the railway station.)
This ride is called the Nieuwe Vuursche Route and it actually runs full circle, but I only did about two thirds. By the time I got to the town of Baarn, I felt like I’d done enough cycling for one day. Besides, the weather was deteriorating and it was getting quite late already, so I got onto the train and returned home.
From Amersfoort’s train station, the route first went west to the village of Den Dolder, running mostly along another railway (not the one I travelled on) and straight through the first bit of forest. The next part followed a regional road for a few kilometres, and even though there was a separate bike trail, that wasn’t too much fun. The good parts returned when the route got off that road (in the lower left of the map) and turned north. From there, it was all forests and hardly any cars in sight until the final one or two kilometres before Baarn.
The route was pretty easy to follow. It’s an “official” one, so it’s signposted all the way. The tricky part is that the signs aren’t too large and some of them were really easy to overlook. That caused me to miss a turn northwest of Den Dolder, bringing me into the village of Maartensdijk. The sky had gone cloudy by then, so I didn’t have the sun to point out that I was going west instead of north.
By the time I was back home, my odometer showed 47.3 km (29.4 mi), of which 39.2 km (24.4 mi) were part of the Nieuwe Vuursche Route (including the diversion to Maartensdijk). Unfortunately the weather didn’t turn out quite as good as I’d hoped (it was overcast most of the time), but the route itself was everything I could have wished for. I’ll finish this post with a few pictures to give an impression. (My new Picasa web album has a couple more pictures, plus larger versions of these.)