In 2005 my mother passed away at a far too young age. My dad, sister and I and our grandparents (her parents) scattered her ashes in Gijon (Spain) where she was born. Tragedy hit my sister and me again earlier 2014. Our beloved father suddenly passed away, also at a far too young age. Our father told us before, that whenever something would happen to him, he wanted his ashes to be scattered where we scattered our mothers ashes. So I decided to cycle to Spain with my father’s ashes.
Why cycling right… Well, my father and I are enthusiastic cyclists. In fact, in 2010 my father introduced me to “real cycling”. Since then we have been riding together in Holland, France, Italy and Spain. So that is how the I came up with the idea. When planning my route I decided to dedicate this trip to my parents and that I would visit places where my parents lived and where my sister and I hold special memories. Since my parents lived in many countries, I decided to at least visit the places where they have lived in Europe and where my sister and I hold special memories. My starting point was Amsterdam and amongst many little villages I’ve crossed and places I’ve passed, I crossed in the following main cities: London, Canterbury, Margate, Paris, Zurich, Stresa, Milan, Genoa, Nice, Mont Ventoux, Figueras, Barcelona, Amposta, Madrid, San Sebastian, Bilbao and Gijon (Holland —> UK —> France —> Zwitserland —> Italy —> France —> Spain). I didn’t make to many unexpected detours so I ended up doing around 5.500km (see the my map below to get an idea of the route).
Bringing my fathers ashes to Spain reunited my parents for life and it was my last and most memorable ride with my father. I brought him back to where he eventually wanted to be the most, with my mother.
Although the reason for this trip may not sound the most appealing, I can tell you that I felt privileged, blessed and honored that I had the opportunity to do this.
As you have probably understood, “Bob’s Cycling” doesn’t just refer to our fathers name. Bob is the abbreviation for Robert as well. It therefore represented both of us on this final journey.
4 days on the road
437 km cycled (of which 35 unpaved on the pilgrims way)
2409 m climbed
2367 m descended
51 km/h maximum speed
Ride data France
9 days on the road
874 km cycled (some roads unpaved)
6129 m climbed
5811 m descended
64 km/h maximum speed
Additional ride data coming as soon.
During the planning of my trip and whilst cycling, I have gotten a lot of support. I would like to thank my friends and family who have supported me so fare.
Special thanks are going to my sister Janine. She has supported me from the start, although it is not easy for her knowing that her brother is going on a adventure once agian, she is always there for me and supports me all the way.
Furthered more, I would like to thank my girlfriend Nina. She has supported me from the day we met. She supports me in many different ways and I couldn’t image going on this journey without her being there for me.
My good friend Ferry was excited to hear about the trip I was about to make. I told him that I wanted to prepare a custom build bike and he told me right away that he wanted to support me. His company is a Amsterdam based no nonsense bike manufactuer and he decided to donate me one of his bikes for this trip. I have been riding one of his city bikes since March 2013, so I knew it would be a good bike to use for this custom build bike project.
Thank you for your support Ferry!
At first I thought I was able to build the bike all by myself. Luckily Ferry introduced me to Luuk from De Fietskantine. De Fietskantine is an Amsterdam based bike shop / coffee shop / barber shop. Luuk is the one you need for all you bike repairs. He is also specialized in restoring/repairing vintage race bikes.
Together with Luuk (although he has done most of the work) we created my custom build bike. A lot of research had to be done as I had some special needs. For example, a special gearing system in the back wheel and special dynamo has been mounted in the front wheel. The dynamo is attached to a USB port on my handle bar so I am able to charge my phone and gps system whilst cycling.
Whitout the help of Luuk I wouldn’t be sitting in a park in Paris writing this note. So if you ever need help with your bike or you are thinking of a custom build bike project yourself, then Luuk is the man you should get in contact with.
Great work Luuk and many thanks for your support!
GPS system: Garmin edge 1000