Gravel – Antitankgracht (anti-tank canal)

This fabolous gravelride starts in Baarle-Hertog (B) / Baarle-Nassau (NL) this unique village is worldwide known because it’s part Belgium and part Dutch. Some of the shops and houses litteraly are located part in Belgium and part in The Netherlands.

Dutch – Belgium border straight through the front door

There are 22 Baarle-Hertog exclaves in Baarle-Nassau and 8 Baarle-Nassau exclaves in Baarle-Hertog. A number of these Dutch exclaves form enclaves within the Belgian enclaves in the Netherlands. This makes you see the border everywhere you look, and before you even realise you’ve crossed it several times.

From here it takes you all the way to the Antitankgracht (anti-tank canal). This canal was constructed between 1937 and 1939 with the intention of stopping enemy (German) tanks and other rolling stock before they could reach Antwerp.[1] The anti-tank ditch played no significant role in Fall Gelb (the Eighteen Days Campaign). In the meantime, the Antitankgracht has evolved into a large nature connection area, connecting various nature reserves and forests and enabling the migration of animals and plants between those areas.

You will cross several beautiful gravel sections, and experience Antwerps best!

You must be hungry when you return. Be sure to visit restaurant La Pergola, probably one of the best Italian (Sardinia) restaurants in the Benelux!

South Limburg (The Netherlands), Voerstreek (Belgium)

Often I tend to build my route based on a perfect coffee stop. This time it was different. It turned out that one of our favourite routes passed it, but we just didn’t know it yet…

Belgian newspaper “Het Nieuwsblad”, world famous for the spring classic “Omloop Het Nieuwsblad”, every year has this competion where all their readers can vote for Belgium’s best bakery. Most people know Belgium isn’t only the home of cycling but also the home of bakeries. Therefor it’s a must to visit Equibrilium in the little village Voeren (58 km from the start). Equibrilium rightfully won the title of best bakery! They serve a nice cup of coffee, and there is a church across the road where you can sit and enjoy your perfect pastry:-)

So back to our all time favorite route that starts at the camping site Mareveld in Schimmert, South Limburg, in The Netherlands. 130 km long and 1.500 m of climbing takes you through South Limburg, well known because of the Amstel Gold Race, to some nice, less known but not less beautiful, backroads in Belgium, back to South Limburg again. Expect some beautiful “hairpin bend climbs”, with highlights such as the three-country point (Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands), the Eyserbosweg (where all the Dutch pros test their legs), and cobble climbs.

Wide views in South Limburg
Known by the Amstel Gold Race
Nice and quiet in South Limburg
Best pastry ever!
Life is perfect!
Our favorite climb in Belgium
Sightseeing at the three-country point

One hand, two levers, two brakes (hydraulic mountainbike)

Looking for a solution to control both brake levers with one hand, so you can control the amount of brake power of front and rear brake yourself? Than the Hope Tech 3 Duo might be what your looking for. The Hope Tech 3 Duo operates 2 calipers individually from a single master cylinder.

2 levers on a single master cylinder

On the bike it looks like this:

Two levers, one master cylinder, two brake hoses

BKRS Unbound (NL)

In the province “North-Holland” in The Netherlands, you can’t find much gravel. But this route is really worth the ride and became one of my favorite gravel rides in The Netherlands. Beautiful coast sceneries and some endless perfect gravel roads is what to expect. You even ride along the “Waddenzee” which is on the Unesco World Heritage List!

The route starts at the local bikeshop, Beukers Bike Centre, of a wonderful little village, Petten. When you have some spare time this bikeshop is really worth a visit!

First your ride takes you through the dunes of Sint Maartenszee to Callantsoog, the oldest coastal town of the Netherlands. From there you go on through the famous Dark Dunes, where you find endless flowing turns through this breathtaking coastal landscape. Next lake Amstel is awaiting you, where you find some really nice hidden gravel lanes.

Need I say more?!

When you leave the coastal area, no worries! From there you’ll find yourself in typical “Noord-Hollandsch” landscapes, and you will string together the typical North Holland villages. Back in the west, you ride on through Schoorl, and the unique nature along the Hondsbossche Zeewering, which was caused by a dike breach and the brackish water that resulted from this.

Looking for a coffee- / lunchstop, I can recommend along the old railroad in Opperdoes, run by a German, also a cyclist, who bakes the best Dutch Pancakes! But you can also visit the old windmill in Medemblik which serves some nice sandwiches, apple pie and coffee. It’s run by all volunteers. With the profit they maintain the historic windmill!

Download the gpx below and check out the pics to see what to expect!

Looking for some more backroad fun☼ in North-Holland? Check out his cool collectie from local hero Henk:

Beukers Bike Centre is where the BKRS Unbound starts
Nice countrygravel near lake Amstel
Move over Shaun!
Tropical atmosphere in North Holland
Dutch skyline
Meet and greet with the Waddenzee
This must be gravel heaven!
Old historical windmill in Medemblik, completely run by volunteers

Operate both derailleurs (mechanical groupset) with the same hand

Does your bike has a front derailleur and do you want to operate both the rear- as the front derailleur with the same hand on a dropbar bike, than you can use a mechanical time trial shifter.

Shimano time trial shifter for frontderailleur operation

A lot of bikes nowadays come with an electronical groupset. But when you buy / own a bike with a mechanical groupset, than you can use this lightweight and simple solution. Be sure you mount a front- or rear derailleur specific time trial shifter, because of the indexing!

If you are right-handed, you are fortunate that you do not have to operate the rear derailleur with the “extra time trial shifter” but can use the standard shifter in the brake lever (STI) for this. You shift most of your gears with the rear derailleur, as it has the most “cogs” (sprockets on the cassette), and at the front you usually only have 1, 2 or 3 sprockets (most racing bikes have 2 front sprockets). You therefore only switch from the front sprocket when there is a strong headwind or when going uphill. Furthermore, you will usually use the rear derailleur.

Because the left standard shifter in the brake lever (STI) has an “index” for the front derailleur, so usually only has two positions, you cannot operate the rear derailleur with it.

If you are only left-handed, electronic shifting is therefore all the more worth the investment.

1 lever 2 (mechanic) brakes

When you have to operate both front as rear brake but only can use one hand, a cable doubler/splitter comes in handy. For this you can perfectly use a splitter which mountainbikers use to lockout both front as rear suspension with one lever! Suspension manufacturer Fox produces such remote lockout splitters, for example the “Fox 2014 – 2017 AM Splitter”:

Fox remote splitter

One cable runs from the brake lever through the splitter, directly to the front brake. The other cable runs from the splitter to the rear brake. This provides a 100% safe connection.

On the left, one cable goes in, on the right, two cables come out. (disgard the little electronical wire)

Fox splitters are now becoming increasingly less available because more and more people are switching to electronic control of the front and rear suspension.

The Dutch cable manufacturer Elvedes also has a solution, the “Elvedes Universal cable splitter set“:

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Elvedes Universal cable splitter set

Ook Jtek Engineering heeft een kabelsplitter in het assortiment:

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Jtek Engineering Double Control Brake Cable Splitter


The Problem Solvers Cable Doubler is a very, very dangerous solution!

The Problem Solvers Cable Doubler can come loose during a training ride

The pulling cable doesn’t run through the splitter but is secured with a very tiny bolt inside the splitter. So, when this comes loose, you’re out of brakes! Despite of perfect maintenance this happened to us, so we know what we’re talking about. Fortunately it happened at very low speed, with no traffic or other obstacles on the road. Otherwise this could have caused severe injury or even death…

Because you are pulling two brakes, you need a little more pressure when sqeezing your brake lever. So you want to use cables with as low friction as possible. Therefor you can best use coated cables such as the Shimano coated brake cables.

Arm orthosis / prosthesis with Free Lock

Thank god someone invented the Free Lock! The Free Lock is a safe and stable gripping system for your orthosis or prosthesis. The Free Lock is an invention of the company Stel Orthopedie, in my opinion the number one company worldwide for custom solutions cyclists with a disability.

Because of a brachial plexus injury I have to use an orthosis for my left arm.

Some beach fun with the left arm orthosis with Free Lock
Prepeg carbon lightweight orthosis
Free Lock fitting system for road bikes
Free Lock close up
For flatbars you can use (foam) grips, 2 tiewraps and 2 pieces of hose with a small diameter to create a safe construction to attach your Free Lock

Here’s what it looks like on the bike:

My orthesis comes with a hinge which is supported by a gas damper, so when I put a little pressure on it, I can ride in the drops on my road- and gravelbike, or take on an aerodynamic position on a bike with a flatbar.

Check for more info, images and videos.

1 hand 2 (hydraulic) brakes

Only one hand and want to control two brakes? Outbraker has got the perfect solution for hydraulic disc brakes! With the Outbraker Booster Brake Splitter you can safely brake with one hand.

I am using the Outbraker Booster Brake Splitter on my road bike as well as on my gravel bike for quite some time now, and absolutely love it. It’s almost maintenance free, you only need to change your brake fluid once in a while. But that’s inherent to hydraulic disc brakes anyway. You can install it with standard Shimano connectors on Shimano brake hoses, but Outbraker also offers a Brake Hose Adapter kit that can be used for other brands. When you want to use the Splitter on a MTB with Shimano, SRAM, Tektro or Hayes you can fit it directly on the lever.

Outbraker fitted diectly on MTB Shimano XTR lever
Outbraker Booster Brake Splitter fitted on Shimano road bike

Check for alle specs, or order on there online shop.