This past weekend we set out with the goal of trying out our bikes fully loaded, including a night of camping. We set off from Utrecht around 5pm and rode west towards Amersfoort along bike paths, through countryside and forests, reaching a campsite two hours later just before dark.
We had called the campsite the day before to check to see if they were open. The man who answered the phone had been a bit abrupt and had said that there were a bunch of Brits staying at the site and that we might not want to stay there. I finally convinced the man that we didn't really care as long as there was room for a tent. Upon arriving at the site, we figured out what the man had meant - the campsite was full of British temporary workers and their families. We were given a tiny scrap of grass between all of the caravans and trailers on which to pitch a tent. We definitely attracted the attention of a few of the worker's kids who were curious about why we were sleeping in the tent and how it was that we got there by bicycle.
Despite the less than idyllic surroundings, our trial camping night with our new equipment went off without a hitch. The night felt a lot less cold than we thought it would be and our equipment setup seemed to work well.
The next day we set off around 10am, cycling 95km towards Zwolle into the wind and drizzle. It wasn't exactly the most pleasant of rides, but it definitely gave us good impression about riding fully loaded bikes! We finally arrived at our friends Eliska and Francois's apartment in Zwolle in the evening. We had a lot of fun that evening, chatting until the wee hours of the morning! Surprising after a long day of cycling! The next morning we woke up late, had a leisurely breakfast and took the train back to Utrecht. Overall a good test!