Giro di Muscoli – Stage 3 Arnhem – Maastricht, 175km

Photo: The cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands is phenomenal. Cycle paths every where. One of them, south of Arnhem, used by the Tour de France in 2015, featured street lights made to look like bicycle chains. Brilliant.

Stage 3 Arnhem – Maastricht, Monday 14th Sep

My last day of riding in the Netherlands. We started at Gerben and Jeanne’s house. Sad to be leaving but the Giro was calling.

Seven of us rode due south towards Maastricht. Completely flat for 168km then the sting in the tail at the end. More of a stinging nettle sting than a hornet sting. A nice 2km climb up for a beer, before the descent to Maastricht.

We made such good speed along the paths that we beat the support van to the first stop. Our consolation was a fly by by the Royal Dutch Airforce. Just for us. Maybe not.

An unusual event for me. A full lunch stop. My Dutch companions explained the options. Most of them opted for the eggs. “It’s eggs” explained one. I ordered the same. They called it lunch, I called it breakfast.

Then one of us cracked and ordered a beer, followed by a few of us.

Maybe you are thinking that a large beer wasn’t the right thing before the remaining 66km to the finish. You’d be right, which is why we ordered this. I have to say it was pretty good. Alcohol free beer could feature again on my rides.

The banter over lunch was remarkably similar to that I might experience in the UK or Italy. Cyclists taking the piss out of each other about their bikes, cycling gear and riding ability. No matter how different we are, somethings remain the same. Except when I needed the bathroom. The doors were written in a dialect called Limburgs. A local saw me struggling and pointed to a door. Fortunately he wasn’t taking the piss, it was the right one. On my way out I thanked him. The barman heard me, and in perfect English said, there’s no point talking to him he doesn’t even speak Dutch, only Limburg.

My favourite photo of the ride was this one I took on a dyke just north of Maastricht in the late afternoon sunshine.

This evening we enjoyed dinner with the other riders in, ironically, an Italian restaurant. I was humbled to receive a small gift from Ron for coming up with the idea of the Giro di Muscoli.

We’ve loved being in the Netherlands this weekend. We saw Gerben and Jeanne, rode bikes and raised a huge sum for patients of Motor Neurone Disease in the UK, The Netherlands and Italy. A weekend of fun and sadness.

Tomorrow we drive back to Italy to resume the Giro on Wednesday. We will miss our Dutch friends but we’ll be with other friends soon.

Stage Stats: 175km / 514m climbing / 4,840 calories

Giro Stats: 3 Stages; 514km / 1,946m climbing / 15,806 calories

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