The snow has gone and the sun was shining as I left home this morning for a nice 50 km cycle ride to the south-west of Heerlen.

This was my first outside cycle ride of the year, much anticipated after several indoor spin cycle sessions.

During the winter off-season I’ve spent time carrying out routine maintenance on both bikes in preparation for another year of great cycling adventures.

Both bikes had new tyres and disc brake pads, plus the e-bike got a new chain fitted as well.

Although extremely cold first thing this morning, I soon warmed up and even my double-gloved hands regained some feeling after about 10 km.

For a couple of years now I’ve been using a great app, Epic Ride Weather which not only gives an accurate weather forecast for my home area but also for the entire planned cycle route.

This is extremely useful in anticipating conditions throughout the ride, ensuring I’m wearing the correct clothing and even helping me decide which direction to cycle with respect to prevailing winds.

Here is the forecast for today’s ride:

Today’s featured image is from the approach to Kasteel Cartils, near Wittem.

This is a privately owned castle with restricted public access so I was reluctant to ride any further along the driveway for a better photo.

Returning home to a bowl of home-made creamy tomato soup was a highlight of the day!

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