Doing a tryout before a big tour is a smart way of ironing out the kinks. There is so much stuff and ideas floating around that you can not cover everything. Mistakes, forgets and the likes are going to happen and thats fine. Just like life, live and learn.

One off the things we focussed on this trip was the month november. It is one of the nastiest times to be out. Short day, first frost, fierce winds and the skies can open like no other. Would we still like to ride and camp or could this be a stop to all our plans?


Our choice of clothing was an important factor. I have heard people say there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing. We saw the range of seasons november had to offer and our garments where mostly up to it.

Maudi had a hard time keeping her feet warm which affected her riding pleasure. Also in the hands department there is a lot to gain. With only simple fleece gloves I couldn’t cut it. Numb fingers from wet gloves are no fun so an upgrade here is in order. I am working on a layering system but it will only be necessary when we plan to do some deep autumn / winter touring.

We were lucky with the weather albeit headwinds almost 80% of the time is no easy going. There weren’t any continuous days of heavy rain which would have locked us in the tent or big storms in which it would be to dangerous to ride. The clothing and the rest of the equipment where up to the challenge with a few minor tweaks to be made here and there. Staying warm and dry is the key to be safe. Hypothermia in these weather conditions is a real possibility.


The mental game was the big fish here. Did we like to ride? Most of the time: yes, but there where quite a few moments when we looked at each other and thought ‘what did we get ourselves into’.

The final big day was BIG indeed. From sunrise 120km, headwind all the time, rain on and off and boring scenery. From Mastenbroek to Medemblik is a long way through the flat dutch farm fields called ’polders’ and the app we used for navigation wasn’t helping putting us on the most direct route.

After that came the dike crossing the former inland sea ‘Zuiderzee’ from Lelystad to Enkhuizen. Just 25km of headwind full on, boring, cars zooming by, seeing the end but never getting there. Eventually riding in the dark with barely any lights to Medemblik.


We made it safely to our friends house and where glad this ordeal was over. Not a nice ride to do and where are not planning to do these for kicks during the big tour. But now we got a sense of our capability riding fully loaded bikes a long day in demanding conditions. These kind of days are bound to come in the future and to know we did it before give us that bit extra to get into that frame of mind needed jumping those hurdles.

So a tryout is the ultimate tool to check if you have prepared properly. Maybe you heard of the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. It couldn’t be more true. Don’t get too hung up on it though, there is so much to prepare for. So we focus on the important things and the rest will come down the road.


Which aspects of preparation would you consider to be the most important for a long bicycle tour?