Medical Cannabis Bike Tour
This year's Medical Cannabis Bike Cannabis Bike Tour was the biggest yet. Over 80 international riders and volunteers rode 420km in 3 days, passing through Belgium, Germany and Holland. They raised €100,000 in sponsorship and continue to raise money through a crowd funding campaign with walacea.com
Day 1: Valkenberg – Weert: 129 km
The adventure began in the pretty town of Valkenberg, near Maastricht, in the south of Holland. After the extreme mountains and rural isolation of previous tours, the 2015 version was a change. Riders used a 'bingo number' system to find their way along Holland's many cycle paths.
This caused a bit of confusion on Day 1. Several riders went AWOL when the tour hit Germany and the support crew spent three hours on a search and rescue mission in deepest, darkest Belgium for a lost cyclist. There was also an unexpected obstacle – a closed bridge between Holland and Germany.
What scenery though! Northern Europe in the springtime – a patchwork of green fields and tree lined cycle paths, the sun shining. With few hills to climb, this year's bike tour was a fast ride – a large leading pelaton of 20 or so riders pushing the pace, with two similar sized groups not far behind.
A day of riding in the sunshine came to an end at the town of Weert, where tired cyclists swapped stories from the trail over a good dinner and the sharing of some of Holland's finest produce (and no, we're not talking Edam or Tulips).
Day 2: Weert – Elst: 132 km
“Who was smoking in the room?” That was the shout from MCBT group leader Luc. The hotel manager was not happy… and neither were the guilty guests who had to pay a €150 fine!
All sorted it was down to the business of cycling. A very hot and sunny Day 2. Again , the lead pack was quick to advance (a little too quick at times with several wrong turns during the day!). On Day 2, muscles warmed up, senses tuned, the riders really went for it, urging each other on. With long flat stretches average speeds were 30 – 35km/ph (and up to 45 at times).
Towards the back, at their own pace, the tour included Team Mila – the legendary Queen of Hash, at 70, was the oldest tour rider – on a classic city bike (old school rocks!) and her good friend Tonia, a medical cannabis user riding a hand bike.
No real problems on the ride – apart from a few punctures (Stefan from Germany managed to pick up 5 on just one stretch of road!) and some cuts, bruises and sunburn. As with all Medical Cannabis Bike Tours, the group bonded very quickly, riders stopping to help each other and all having their own little adventures along the way.
Arriving in Elst, it was more drinks, food and a veritable smorgasbord of delights from the Dutch world of weed that was enjoyed by all… outside of the hotel tonight!
Day 3: Elst – Amsterdam: 137 km
Day 3 was more typical of a Northern European summer with long periods of rain and a cold wind which made it tough for the cyclists, especially when they were riding alongside rivers and canals. However it was a beautiful ride through woods and forests through Gelderland.
Tired muscles today, and a few riders took advantage of the many cafes that lined the route – stopping to warm up with a coffee and a snack (one group even stopping for a whole sushi experience… while the support crew waited anxiously at the lunch spot, fearing the worst!).
A better afternoon. A mixture of sun and cloud for the final push to Amsterdam. As the tour approached the city, the skies fell grey once more, the wind strong in the face. At 10km from the finish tragedy struck when MCBT founder Luc had a heavy fall after the collision.
The results were not too pretty, but this man, like all the comrades on the tour, is made of steel! With true grit and determination, he was able to join the pelaton which entered the streets of Amsterdam to cheers and rounds of applause from tourists and residents.
As the light faded, the tour arrived on Amsterdam's Dam Square. Another fantastic tour completed. Old friends rediscovered, new friends made, another €100,000 raised for this fantastic medical cannabis research cause.