Around the Pond: 5000 km on the North Sea Cycle Route

Today's part of the route goes through pretty much the same landscape as yesterday. Forested dunes, mostly on gravel tracks. At least here the gravel is old and flat, so cycling is easier.

After a few kilometers I meet a cyclist from Schweinsfurt in Germany. She has followed the North Sea Cycle Route since Rotterdam, but wants to go only as far as Skagen, then return south. We talk for a few minutes, then leave separately, everyone in his own pace. But we meet again a few times during the day. I'm a bit faster then she, but she passes me during breaks, while I'm shopping, or takes a slightly shorter route. The last time I see her go by in the distance is a few kilometers before Hirtshals.

The highlight of today is ride over the beach at Blokhus. From here the beach is usable as a road north for about 15km. The cycle route runs on the beach. The sand is firm and wet, so riding is not too difficult, but a strong tail wind really helps. Even so I hardly exceed 15km/h. Problematic are places where the sand has dried. Here the surface is soft, and the wheels sink in. There is also a fair amount if drifting sand, and fearing excessive wear of the chain and gears I leave the beach after about 10km and continue on a road.

For the last few days my bike has started making a noise which at first I can't identify. It sounds like the chain is rubbing somewhere. On a recumbent bike the guidance of the chain is a bit complicated. The chain is about three times as long as on a regular bike, as it runs from the very tip of the bike to the rear wheel. On my bike it is lead through teflon tubes and one guidance wheel. This guidance wheel, I discover, is the problem. It is a plastic wheel of about 6 or 7 cm in diameter. It aligns the chain with the axis of the rear suspension, eliminating any effect of the chain on the suspension. This wheel is usually covered by two small rubber or plastic rings, to soften the contact and eliminate noise. These rings are gone, probably worn away. The chain is clattering on the plastic guidance wheel, making an ugly noise. This in no way affects the functionality, but I really hate the sound.

I call Jan Cordes, my bike dealer, about a replacement. He offers to send a new guidance wheel if I could give him an address to send it to. I planned to take a break day at Skagen, and have the part sent there. But today I decide to take a day off in Hirtshals instead. I'll talk to Jan Cordes tomorrow to see how fast I can get the replacement.

I arrive in Hirtshals at about 7 p.m. The camping side is directly at the coast, and very windy. However, I manage to get a spot near some hedges out of the wind.

After pitching the tent I take my bike and explore the harbour of Hirtshals. It is amazing, how easy the bike is to ride without 35kg of luggage! Judging the reactions to my bike, recumbents are even more unusual here than in Germany.

Day 15 - June 17th: Fjerritslev to Hirtshals


Fjerritslev - - Hirtshals


Distance: 94.40 km
Cycle time: 5:40 h
Average speed: 16.63 kmh
Total distance: 1176 km
© Thomas Stets
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