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Dutch roll into Gouda…

Dutch tandemists were passed by an oncoming car, the driver waving his arm out of the window shouting: “Pigs, pigs……!!”. Deeply offended by the insult, they pressed down hard on the pedals and sped round the corner….and, sure enough, they collided with a herd of pigs!

And no, a ‘Dutch roll’ is not a cheese sandwich made with Gouda cheese, or any other cheese, but a particular form of aircraft wiggle in the air, imitating the roll of a Dutch ship. I often liken our standing start on the tandem to a plane getting ready for take-off. We need a bit of runway to taxi until we can take off and get up to cruising speed. And the ride can often seem like a flight, weaving in and out, avoiding other road-users and street furniture….

So with the excessive heat, we made an early start (8am), and said goodbye to our hosts in Leiden. Erik and Lia were not only fellow cycling enthusiasts, but also fellow tandem riders, with several multi-week rides under the belt. Their exploits have included Cuba, around the British Isles and the length of Spain. But much more curious and fascinating was Erik’s fascination with the journeys of a French fictional child character in a book by Hector Malot entitled Sans Famille who did a Phileas Fogg-style of journey across Europe totalling some 6000km, and Erik is endeavouring to complete the same journey by bike. Extraordinary and totally unique….

Our ride to Gouda was straightforward, missing the searing heat of the afternoon, and we settled to enjoy the twice-hourly carillon chimes from the city hall,

sitting in air-conditioned comfort for lunch, and meandering along the inevitable canal with its spectacular floral decorations. And, of course, the cheeses, the stroopwafel with ice cream, and the history of the clay pipe.