I like to think of all my cycle rides as adventures, no matter the distance, terrain or weather.

Yesterday morning, bright and early I set off on a planned 210 km ride across the river Maas and through Hoge Kempen national park in Belgium.

The weather forecast was for sunny, hot conditions for both days of the ride so I took  plenty of liquids and wore shorts and short sleeved shirt.

I even smothered myself in sunscreen, I usually don’t bother/remember.

My pre-booked overnight accommodation was a great B&B, ‘Het Zummerheem’, in Hasselt, Belgium.

This gave me around 95 km to ride yesterday.

After a great day’s cycling through forests and sunbathing next to canals I still managed to arrive a little early to check-in to my overnight stop.

A couple of American hikers had beaten me to it and we chatted on the sunny terrace until madame opened the doors and allowed us to our rooms.

Later I walked to the nearby village centre in search of my evening meal.

Google maps said it was a 300 metre walk but I managed to take a wrong turn and it was nearer 1000 metres before I found the place!

I convinced myself that the (additional) exercise was good for me….even in 26c heat.

The same error was not made on my return to the B&B and enjoyed a long, peaceful night’s sleep.

Breakfast next morning was magnificent and I took extra water for my anticipated 115 km ride back home.

About 12 km into today’s ride I cycled around Schulensmeer, a large man-made lake near Schulen, Belgium.

The original excavation was to extract sand many years ago but it’s now an extensive nature reserve and a simply stunning area to ride my bike through.

Today’s featured image is just one of many at Schulensmeer.

I continued on my way homewards through expansive Belgian countryside, stopping regularly in the shade to rest, hydrate and eat a little.

Normally the two 750ml water bottles I carry is sufficient for a proposed ride of this length but today I needed more.

Fortunately I came across a small village store in the middle of nowhere to replenish supplies.

I was heading towards Lanaye where I would take the cycle/pedestrian ferry back to Eijsden in the Netherlands.

On the long descent towards the Lanaye bridge the road surface went from smooth tarmac to rough Belgian cobbles at precisely the same time as I approached the shade of overhanging trees.

I heard and felt a loud ‘crack’ from the front wheel/forks and stopped as quickly and safely as possible.

Examination of the front suspension forks revealed no visible damage but there was now excessive ‘play’ in the steering and definitely not feeling safe to ride any further.

So, for the first time ever, I needed to call upon my personal breakdown service to bring the cycle carrier to Eijsden to collect me and the bike.

Thanks Ans!!

One thing that really disappoints me is not being able to complete a planned ride under my own steam.

Much time is spent on preventative maintenance of my bike, to minimise problems during my rides.

I also carry a spare inner tube and can really fix most things roadside if necessary.

My 210 km planned route turned into 175 km, but I’m grateful I got home in one piece and the bike will be assessed in coming days.

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