I borrowed a race bike from my housemate, met with a friend at an appropriate distance, and together we got out of dodge. My friend led us north onto the dikes that run alongside the IJmeer, and we set a good pace as we headed towards Marken, a small village around 30km away from Amsterdam. This little place was remarkably quiet thanks to the lack of seasonal tourists this year. The colorful houses squatting in the water were unphotographed; the boats remained moored, depopulated by day trippers; the cafes sat quarter-full and the market stalls had their windows down.
We spied a lighthouse sticking out far out into the water, and headed straight for it. Our eagle eyes failed to spot the purple rain clouds coming from the other direction, and before we had a chance to rest at this interesting viewpoint that we found, the heavens opened. Cycling in the rain is not the end of the world, but eating lunch? No thank you. The only wet food I will allow is soup.
The owner had left the radio on for the cows, and for some reason that absolutely made my day
There was barely any time to find a suitable spot to shelter, so we cycled straight into a nearby barn and hung out with the locals who were living there. They were not very talkative, but then they were cows after all. The owner had left the radio on for them, and for some reason that absolutely made my day. Imagine that: anytime you hear Sky Radio or 3FM, it is quite possible that barnyard animals across the country listen with you. They certainly constitute one of the more niche viewer demographics, though I bet they make less complaints.
When the rain died down, we got back on the road and headed home. I hit each and every pothole on this side of the road too, mirroring our outward journey with gracious ineptitude. The entire ride was the best mental-health boost I could ever ask for, and I now feel desperate for another route out of the city. Taking care of our minds has become one of the harder day-to-day factors of lockdown, and anytime you find something that works for you, keep it up! Just do not forget to check the weather forecast.