Cycling

'Free' routes

You can find many free cycle routes through the delta-area on the Internet. An example of a site where you can find 23 cycle routes in Zeeland, is http://www.fietsen.123.nl. The routes in Zeeland are between 10 and 120 km long. There is for example a cycle route in the ‘Zak van Zuid-Beveland’ (16 km), the ‘Poppenroute’ on Walcheren (50 km), the ‘In the land of Tijl Uilenspiegel’ (50 km), the tour of Middle-Zeeland (70 km) and the Canal route Veere (18 km). The routes are extensively described and provided with extra information and photos.

Another site listing free cycle routes in the Netherlands is www.fietspad.nl. All 38 cycle rides are ordered by their lengths. For instance there are 8 routes between 16 and 30 km for the inexperienced cyclists. The die-hards can torture their pedals on one of the 9 routes with lengths of 60 to 105 km! The routes are well described and often provided with a cycle map. Some routes are extracted from the ANWB/VVV cycle guides, and others from the daily newspaper Trouw. An example is ‘A tour along eight villages in Zeeland’ which is 65 km long. Bert van Panhuis writes:

‘The land of Walcheren behind the dunes isn’t flat everywhere. At the start of the ‘Dorpenroute’ at Koudekerke, you can see the remains of the Atlantikwall, the line of defence built by the German occupying forces in order to control the estuary of the Westerschelde and at the same time the harbour of Antwerp. Along the line there were a number of bunkers armed with machine guns and antitank artillery. Most of those bunkers were cleared after 1945, but a few still remain at Koudekerke, dominating the landscape.

Also remarkable are the lumps in the scenery, knwon as ‘vliedberg’, along the haul between Meliskerke and Domburg. A ‘vliedberg’ is constructed of earth with a height of approximately 10 meters. It was proved by archaeological research that they were built up in the twelfth or thirteenth century. Initially one thought they served as a defence against the sea. But now it’s generally believed that the ‘vliedberg’ served as an observation post. From what was built on top, maybe a wooden stand or a stone tower, the farmer could see and control for miles all around.’ (Trouw, September 26th 2002).

Other interesting sites about cycling are for instance: www.fietsen.web-log.nl or fiets.pagina.nl.

'Paid' routes

A handy tool to explore the Delta region by bike is the cycle map. The ANWB 'Cycle Route Map Holland' gives you a complete overview of all cycle routes signposted by the ANWB, rural cycle routes, mountain bike routes and other webs of cycle routes within the Netherlands. In addition to a complete overview of cycle routes in the Netherlands, the map offers you various information about accommodation, bike rental companies and ferry connections. The cycle map costs € 4,95 and can for instance be bought at http://www.anwb.nl/.../webwinkel-overzicht.nl.html.

There is also a series of tearproof and waterproof cycle maps called the ANWB/VVV Topographic Cycle Map. This map has a scale of 1:50.000, instead of 1:300.000 which is the scale of the Cycle Route Map. 1 cm on the map is therefore only 500 meters instead of 3 km. The maps are not only suitable for cyclists, but also for hikers, bird-watchers, and also other users of topographic maps. The entire series consists of 25 titles. Currently only ten titles have been published. One of these is the map of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen – but we have to wait patiently for the rest of the Delta region. The maps cost €9,95 and are for sale through the website mentioned above.