The first holiday on a bike with a full load! We cycle in Limburg, Gelderland and Brabant. A self-composed route along the Maas and Rhine. Surprisingly beautiful nature and beautiful campsites!
We are going on holiday for the first time with our new Koga Worldtraveller Signature. With a full load. Especially the latter appears to take some getting used to. The bicycles themselves are sturdy and heavy, but with a bike pack it makes them much heavier. We have about 35 kilos with us, divided into four front and four rear bags and a canoe bag.
If you want to know more about how we choose this holidaybicycle take a look here.
We pack, rearrange and weigh the bags to ensure that the weight is properly distributed. Two thirds of the weight at the back and one third at the front. That works pretty well. We do notice that we put stuff somewhere else during the trip because it “just works out”. But in general, we stick to the division.
What do we take with us?
We have our basic equipment, as we also take with us on hiking trips. That means a Hilleberg Nallo 2 person tent, 2 Exped mats, 2 sleeping bags, a burner, gas, a pan, kettle, cutlery, plates, bowls and mugs. Furthermore, some clothing, for every rain pants and jacket, an extra vest, underwear and thermo and “normal” pants. A towel, toiletries and first aid kit. In addition, some extra items such as an SLR camera and telephoto lens, an e reader, charging equipment such as a power bank and food. We bring dry food for three evenings, but expect to go to the supermarket every day to replenish. We do take coffee, tea, spices and some toppings and granola with us.
A thousand things bag contains things like tieraps, duck tape, pegs, a clothesline, extra bags, wilderness wash and sponge, not to mention a chamois. A chamois is super handy and weighs almost nothing! If you want to know more about our packing list and tips, click here.
We are going to do part of the LF Maas route. We start in Cuijk and descend along the Maas to Horn (near Roermond). Here we turn around and we go north via the Fietserspad, an unmarked route that runs roughly along the Pieterpad. We mainly drive there via the eastern side of the Maas and back via the western side. I have put the routes in Route.nl, so that I can easily follow them on the way. The Maas route is also super easy to follow, there are signs everywhere.
When we are back in Cuijk we continue to Groesbeek and then towards the Ooijpolder, the Milliingerwaard and then to Zevenaar. The last day we cross this area again, via a slightly different route.
We therefore explore the Maas and Rhine and the surrounding area globally. On these small maps you get an impression of the route.
As mentioned, we start in Cuijk. We drive here by car and bicycle carrier and park at the Van der Valk hotel. The car is reasonably safe here. There is always something to do in such a hotel, so we think this is a good place to leave your car for six days.
Right at the start we take the ferry. We will take them more often and they are just great fun and practical. You pay them in cash and they cost about 2 euros for a cyclist. Sometimes you can pin. Most ferries run all day.
It immediately gives me a holiday feeling, it is a nice way to experience the Maas, on the water!
The first day
The first day we drive from Cuijk to Wellerlooi. On the way we are surprised by the nice paths and roads of the Maas route. You cross several beautiful areas and often you drive on unpaved paths and quiet roads. Little other traffic and that makes cycling so relaxed.
In the vicinity of Wellerlooi we leave the Maas behind us for a while to go to our campsite via the Maasduinen. We have then covered about 55 kilometers. I’m starting to get some pain in my hands and wrists and my right shoulder is whining. So it’s time to stop.
We camp at D’n Blikkenberg, a mini campsite on the edge of National Park Maasduinen. A wonderfully quiet field with mainly campers and caravans with older people. In the corner is a nice spot for us. The owner will also bring us two more chairs. This is enjoyment!
From Wellerlooi to Horn
Today there is a fresh breeze and of course from the south, so we have a headwind. The sun shines every now and then and we are also treated to a shower. We enjoy the beautiful view over the Maas.
At Arcen en Steijl we are impressed by the beautiful villages and surroundings. At Steijl we take the ferry at the foot of a gigantic monastery complex. Time seems to have stood still here.
The old Maas
Here and there we pass small nature reserves with the Oude Maas as the central vein. Rugged areas with lots of water, fallen trees and, above all, a lot of peace and quiet. We meet some hikers, but otherwise it is very quiet. The Oude Maas is given all the space here to follow its own flow. Nice to see.
Lunch in the rain
Venlo does not appeal to us much. The Maas route here goes along the boulevard where there is still a lot of renovation going on. It is busy and chaotic. In Tegelen our stomachs start to growl and we look for a dry and heated terrace. Unfortunately that does not work. Maybe we should have stayed in Venlo after all? Eventually we settle on an unheated terrace without parasols (the wind is too strong). And it also starts to rain….
The owner understands if we want to continue, but we order anyway because we are hungry. So we are having lunch in the rain. Incidentally, it tasted fine! Nice hot soup, a croquette and delicious bread.
Bed & Breakfast in Horn
In Horn we first look for a supermarket and then we go to our Bed & Breakfast ‘t Inj. Nice room, lovely shower. Here we relax, eat a dry food bag and snack on cheese and wine.
After a delicious and extensive breakfast, with warm crumble, delicious sandwiches and fresh cow’s milk, we can go all out again!
Along the western bank of the Maas
The third day we first drive to the Leudal, a beautiful nature reserve near Horn. Unfortunately, you can hardly cycle in this area, so we decide that we definitely want to go for a walk here.
The weather is rainy and we are busy putting on and taking off our rain gear all day long. Fortunately, there is little wind and it is not cold.
In the afternoon we think we deserve a nice terrace and this time we look for a covered terrace. We eat delicious cake with whipped cream and enjoy the warm tea.
At Blitterswijk we take the ferry and drive towards the Maasduinen National Park. Via Wellerslooi, Well and Afferden we go to our campsite. It is a well-known address “De Cokse Heide”, we have also been here last year.
In the middle of the National Park. A wonderful campsite with a very nice sanitary building. After a nice shower, warm soup, we can get back to it. I beat Joost in the evening with Catan, so a great ending!
Take it easy today
The fourth day is a bit of a restday. Yesterday we covered about 80 kilometers, the day before 75 kilometers. Today we only need about 40. We have plenty of time to pack ourselves, so we have a nice breakfast in the sun. The tent is drying in the meantime, so that’s nice.
De Maasduinen National Park
We know the area and decide to do a tour of the Maasduinen first. So we cycle to Esven and Quin. The Esven is teeming with frogs that croak very loudly. At Quin we see the flock of sheep. A good moment to take a break… We have only just started, but you have to catch the nice moments.
We leave the park and cycle to the ferry at Afferden. Then we cycle north via the west bank. The nature reserve near Oeffelt in particular surprises us positively. Here are Konik horses and Scottish Highlanders and it is a very rough and quiet area.
After Oeffelt Cuijk comes into view and we take the ferry to Mook. Along the Mookerheide and then steeply up to Groesbeek.
Challenging route to Groesbeek
What a hellish road this is! I thought I was well used to cycling with a pack, but this is a different story! The road to Groesbeek is really steep and really tough. In the lowest gear I still have trouble with it! After a short stop where I take off all layers of clothing, because I am very hot, I cycle on meter by meter.
Eventually I will come up! Oh dear. How intense. No mountains for me yet! Joost immediately says that we just have to train this …
We cycle to the campsite. Again a nature camping site of Staatsbosbeheer. This is beautifully situated in the woods. It is a very spacious site, where each tent spot is really separated from the other places. We have a view of a number of beautiful forest giants and it is wonderfully quiet.
Later there will be more campers, but even then it is a nice site. On the edge, for example at place 11, you are completely on your own.
The sanitary building is of lesser quality than, for example, De Cokse Heide. It is small and old and a complicated walking route has been developed (due to Corona) by the manager. Two showers for the number of campers that spend the night here is also very little. That is the only downside to this site.
From Groesbeek to Zevenaar
Day five of our cycling tour goes through the forests at Groesbeek, the polders at Kekerdom and the Millingerwaard. A completely different environment! Today is Ascension Day and again nice weather. There are many cyclists on the road, so the trails are busy. It is important to keep a close eye on the dikes, where other traffic is also driving.
At Millingen aan de Rijn we have lunch with a view of the river. Large inland vessels pass by. We take the ferry to the other side and cycle through the Gelderse Poort area. Beautiful wetlands!
At the old Waal we take a ferry. You have to work hard to first pull the ferry towards you and then bring yourself and the ferry to the other side. Joost is doing his best!
Via Herwen and Babberich we arrive at the dike to Oud Zevenaar. A beautiful dike that ends in a small hamlet, with a church on a mound. Here we enjoy the sun on a terrace. With white beers and bitterballen. The life of a cyclist is not so bad!
B & B House Sevenaer
This last night we stay in the Bed & Breakfast Huis Sevenaer. A beautiful old building from 1460. This used to house the rectory of the estate. Nicely decorated rooms, high windows, solid beams and old floors. A pleasant reception by Coby and Henny. We immediately feel at home. We enjoy a warm shower and a nice bed.
The last day
After a nice breakfast, the bikes fully loaded and on the road! We cycle through this river area via a different route. To Pannerden and Doornenburg through the Klompenwaard. We take the ferry to the other side and stroll through the Millingerwaard. A beautiful area.
A little later we cycle a bit through Germany. It is a lot quieter here on the paths and roads! At Kranenburg we dive back into the Netherlands. We drive back to Mook through the woods near Horst and Milsbeek. There we take the ferry to Cuijk again.
In Cuijk we find the car back at the hotel. 340 kilometers is over! I am satisfied and proud that it worked! And that we enjoyed it so much. It surprised me how nice cycling is along all those quiet secluded paths and roads. How many beautiful areas we have crossed. How nice cycling is. Yes, I have problems with my wrist and shoulder, yes my knee is nagging, but the pleasant feeling dominates!