By Jan Berkelder
It should have been a flashing start: the 1st Dutch Origami-ride at Wolfheze. A lot of people seemed to be interested. But what do you do if the rain is pouring down and you are not yet a fanatic. Right, you stay home and getting fanatic can wait. Six brave people showed up nevertheless. Two with a Birdy, two with a Brompton, one Batavus-owner and a proud Dahon Jetstream lover. Five of us were Dutch, one of us came all the way from Germany. Next time we can hopefully welcome British guests also.
Well, there was a seventh one who showed up as a very remarkable surprise: Paul Hendriks. He is the owner of a local bicycle-repair shop and also a collector of war items, connected with the Battle of Arnhem, known too as Operation Market Garden. In September 1944 thousands of British and Polish soldiers were dropped over the region of Wolfheze and Oosterbeek in an effort to bring the war and the nazi-occupation to an end. With them of course tons of supplies and .... folding bikes. In the photo you see Paul Hendriks with his BSA Paratrooper amidst the six Origami-riders. He did not go with us. The bike of course was a bit vulnerable and also for Paul the weather was appalling.
This BSA Paratrooper bike had all the rights to deserve the name Birdy, coming down on us from the sky. Here it is seen with the Jubilee-Birdy. The latter a bit young and proud, but still without flying experience, next to this 62 year old veteran.
Technically most remarkable are the pedals. Not foldable, but you can shift them through the cranks to prevent them from sticking out. Here Roland is examining all the
details. Even the tyres are original, and still holding breath.
So we went off, like drowned cats. We decided to shorten the tour from 55 to 30 kilometers. Still the tour was very beautiful. We mainly followed the brooks that go slowly down from the Veluwe morene to the river Rhine. These brooks are a very vulnerable nature reserve that need to be protected from modern society threats. One participant in our group, who is also councillor in this community, told us a lot about the efforts to save the brooks and their valleys, and the efforts to bring wildlife back to them. Nevertheless we could drive through the area staying strictly on the sand roads without damaging nature.
The variety in landscape was tremendous: heath, woods, brookland, high on the morene, low at the Rhine, and mostly over sandy roads. To keep us going through the drowning rain however we had to pause for refreshments twice. The fist time in a 17th century farmhouse; the second time in the late medieval castle Doorwerth. This castle is located close to the spot where in
September 1944 British and Polish soldiers crossed the Rhine twice under heavy gunfire.
We made our last photo on the (of course) folding bridge.
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Last updated: 15 October 2006