Let’s get one thing out of the way from the very start; The Netherlands aren’t flat!
It didn’t take very long to realise that during the latest edition of the Van Nicholas ‘Come Ride With Us’ event in Valkenburg. Filled up on cake and coffee we had hardly left the Shimano Experience Center, our basecamp for the day, when a sharp left turn had us facing what looked like a wall of gravel. But hey, what’s a gravel ride without a little hike-a-bike?
We compensated the lack of flat roads with flat tires this edition. Especially in the beginning, which made for a slow start but lots of opportunities to banter, chat and getting to know each other. And when you have some real mechanics in the group, you can rest assured everything will turn out ok.
With the challenging start out of the way, it was smooth sailing along beautiful gravel roads, winding through forests and fields. A region I personally knew only from the Amstel Gold Race and road cycling turns out to be a dream destination for gravel riding.
No social ride without the obligatory coffee stop. No ‘broodjes kroket’ this time, but real ‘Limburgse Vlaai’ to refill the energy stores.
The gravel roads in the region seemed to be endless. Up, down, left, right, repeat. With moral high on sugar and caffeine the tempo picked up and we got back to the basecamp way ahead of schedule (a first for this event).
Our wonderful hosts at the Shimano Experience Center welcomed us back with a deep dive into the history of Shimano and the latest iterations of their group sets. Closing the day with a pasta buffet that could feed an entire peloton, it was another great edition of the event.
What do you think, shall we do another event this fall? Let us know via our socials!