Cycling in Paris

Octobre 2016 my youngest son pictured me on  the “Axe Historique” in Paris. The  “Axe Historique” is a line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that extends from the centre of Paris, to the west. It is also known as the Voie Triomphale (“triumphal way”). Both “la Grande Arche” and the “Arc de Triomphe” are part of it.

I do find it a beautiful picture. And historic too. On the horizon, you see a glimpse of “la Grande Arche” in la Defense. Looking into the opposite direction one can see the “Arc de Triomphe”.

Like on the picture my sister took of me in 1975:


We took the train from Roosendaal (NL) to Gare du Nord, Paris (F). To make a tour about 1000 kilometers, following the river “la Loire”.  This tour you can see below, on the road map we used :


October 2016, 41 years later,  my youngest son visited me in Paris. On the “Avenue Mac-Mahon”,  41 years later, here again with the “Arc de Triomphe” :


Cycle paths / Pistes cyclables : Lille>Paris

Between Lille & Paris / Entre Lille>Paris,

JUNE 2016 I found following cycle paths / JUIN 2016 j’ai trouve des pistes cyclables ci-dessous





One has to search good for suitable cycling routes / Il faut chercher bon pour pistes cyclables appropriées !

z pain 1

Cycling / Faire du vélo en NL (part 1)

Often I am asked for advice on cycling in the Netherlands. In order to plan long distance bicycle routes see the cycle path network : “LF-routes” pictured in red here below (note that practicallly all bicycle paths can be found on, which is in dutch,”in Deutsch” et “en Français“.) :

LF-routes = Langeafstand (long distance) Fietsroutes

An attractive cycle path is the  LF1 Noordzee-route / Dutch Coastal Route (Part of the international track which is connecting Boulogne-sur-Mer in France, with Germany.) :

dutch coastal route LF1.png
The LF1 “Noordzee-route”/”Dutch Costal Route”. You cycle along the sea. You’ll meet not too much cars. You’ll smell a lot of nature.

 About the dutch weather

Statistics learn that it rains, during a year, on average 7% of time in the Netherlands. Do you find that much? Sure it will not always be bright sunshine as on the picture above. Some times, but not very often, it can be like this   :


If it rains : you just wait :).  This cabin is a “trekkershut”/”hiker’s cabin”. You can hire here :
No rain, no sun. Perfect for cycling!

If you do not like cycling against the wind, I think it is the best to cycle the LF1 from south to north. As most of the time wind is coming from the south west.

How does the LF1 looks like?

Some impressions of cycle path LF1 :

  1. See some some video-impressions (5 minutes) of 2 Dutch coureurs doing the 460 km between Duinkerken/Dunkirk/Dunkerque and Den Helder in 3 days. The first minutes are in Belgian. It is in the second part where you will see the famous high quality cycling lanes : flat asphalt, only bicycles. Along the coast the best parts are looking like : lf1 zeeland
  2. A Belgian mother with her daughter and her parents, did it far more easy as pictured in this slide show (2 minutes)  (with well chosen music).
  3. 6 minutes of video, no music, no words  … very good impression on the experience and quality of the LF1.
  4. And a 15 minute video where you see even more variation (wait for the nice sandy  beaches).

To reach the LF1 from Lille : one can start following the river “la Lys“/”de Leie” up to Deinze (or even to Genth). On Google Maps one can find this route from Lille (F) to Sluis (NL) Especially following this really good cycling path next to the Leie from Menen (F) up till Genth (B) is very quiet. However nearly no signs. For the good signs you have to wait untill you are in the Netherlands. Between Deinze and Sluis I think it is not that beautiful … I did not take this route. Most of the time I cycle Genth – Bergen op Zoom (30 km north of Antwerp. A lot of bad cycling paths … but as soon as you enter the Netherlands infrastructure for cyclists is just great. Not only on the LF1, but everywhere in the Netherlands.

Where to sleep? (and about a good map!)

A lot of possibilities to stay overnight are found on the LF1 Basiskaart (it costs about €25 in the Netherlands). You will find more possibilities to stay overnight, which are not indicated on this map. Finding a B&B, hostel, hotel is not to difficult. I do not like to make reservations. When cycling it is not that easy to plan. In the end there is always a place to lay your head down. Personnaly I like these 22 maps of the LF1 Basiskaart. They cover the whole of the Netherlands. And they are protected against rain. I like to have a map in my hand. As it is nice to be able to see what kind of routes and landscapes are in front of me. I like computers, but when I am cycling I like to have a map next to my coffee. Just for imagining a bit on what is coming up that day. Open windy roads? Trees? Nature? How to avoid cities and industrial zones?

When searching for a place to sleep, I do have most confidence on ending your day for a village/city at the coast. In villages and cities you’ll find people with the sign “zimmer frei” (= room available). As a lot of Germans are coming to the Dutch coast. I have an idea the prices will be acceptable. You knock on the door, see the room, hear the price. A good method. Reserving in advance? It is not easy to plan, when cycling! A lot of cyclists must be following this method.

Another possibility is to join the association “Vrienden op de fiets“. Membership is €10 per year. You can stay with members, at their homes. You pay about €20 per night, per person. And if nothing has been changed, members (often active cyclists theirselves) prepare a good breakfast. There is also the possibility of having a lunch packet being  prepared for about €5.  Members will be sent  get a guide, with the adresses and telephone numbers. You can also use the web site. I entered the web site, the route between Hoek van Holland and The Hague. Resulting in following map (I choose for French language here!) :

vrienden op fiets denhelder den haag
screenprint of the website (french version)

The circles with numbers show the amount of adresses of members in that village. So in Hoek van Holland there are 2 addresses. In ‘s-Gravenzande 10. And in The Hague 38 people who offer a room to stay. So as soon as you have an idea when you will be arriving in a certain area, you choose an address from the supplied guide (or from the web site) and you pass a telephone call. And you’re sleeping place is arranged! (En Français toute l’information à : .

Visiting the “Waddeneilanden”

The “Wadden-eilanden” are  the islands in the north of the Netherlands.

From Den Helder, you can take the ferry to the biggest island Texel. All info at (also in english).

From Texel you can take, with your bicycle, a boat to Vlieland. It is a small boat, and maybe you have to wait for the next boat as there are many people. Or in case of bad weather. All info (only in dutch!) : I did this trip with my children and their mother, with bicycles. During  a summer holiday following the LF1. In this video (6 minutes) one can discover the passage with the boat “De vriendschap” and the truck which brings you and your bicycles from Texel to Vlieland (Or Vlieland to Texel). You might have to watch the video a few times to really have an idea of how it works.

Between the two islands named Vlieland, Terschelling and the town Harlingen, there is this ferry : (also in english).

Taking the train

Taking the train in the Netherlands is not that difficult. And sure you can take your bicycle (which needs to be payed for, €6,10 in 2016. You can not take a bicycle during rush hours. Search the following web site. All possibilities, all schedules, all prices, you find on (also in english).  (To see where you can find all train stations go to


contact me for specific questions –

Why I prefer open source, above closed source software

You rather see a video on why I prefer open source? This video on “why to change from Windows to Linux” I recommend.

Since the early ’80-ties I am implementing information systems.  In 1983 I was a system adminstrator of a Philips 7000-minicomputer. This minicomputer looked like these pictures:  (found on

I learned secretaries to operate work stations (as on the left). And I made back-ups every week. All data were stored on removable disks (as on the right). These disks were used in a grandfather-father-son rotation back-up-scheme. I still following this backup-method. Today with USB-keys. Much easier to handle!

Since 1983 I have been implementing all kind of financial and logistic systems. Mainly closed software (also referred to as proprietary software). Like: IBM-Copics, Mapics, Dun & Bradstreet, AMAPS, Grote Beer, King, Exact, Baan, Oracle-products, SAP R/2 and R/3, etc. etc.

Since 2006 I started to explore the added value of open source software. Starting to install Linux on Apple Macintoshes. (Not the most easy choice. I learned that Apple does includes a lot of protection to its hardware. So if you want to try Linux, install it on a computer which can run a Microsoft operating system. You encounter less incompatibilities.) I also started to orientate on different Content Management Systems  (CMS). A CMS facilitates the construction of websites. As there are a lot of open source projects one has to choose. So I concentrated for CMS on: Drupal ( and  WordPress. And for e-Learning on Moodle.
Using e.g.: Ubuntu as operating system, Inkscape to draw, GIMP to edit images, FileZilla for transfering files, PHPMyAdmin for administrating databases, OpenShot to edit video.

Today we can use our portable computers everywhere. Here you see my laptop computer in our kitchen (on the left). And my Linux UBUNTU 14.04-desktop (on the right). A lot of differences with minicomputers as on the B&W-pictures above. In 1983 it felt magic that we could exchange e-messages with other Philips-computers at local Philips-organisations in America, Africa, Asia etc.. A big difference is that today we can connect to many, many other computers, via internet. Possibilities have so much increased. So much more functionality. And I can sent messages to many places, in many ways. Other people can communicate with my computer, much easier. Also spammers and criminals do try. And they succeed. So among other issues, also security is an issue.

I prefer open source above closed source. Why? Short as open source is free. Free not as in free beer, but as in free speech. I see many advantages in open source. Just to address -only- two aspects:

  1. Reliability. One example: in general I’ve more confindence in open source Wikipedia as source of information, than closed sources.
  2. Security. In open source projects a large group of independ volunteers looking into security issues. At closed source software companies people with less independ ties (often they are paid by the company) have influence on security issues. The independency of open source environments, do give me more confidence of good care for security.

All aspects do have a relation with the fact that open source projects can have a hugh number of contributors. In general I believe in the strength of the big amount of people joining open source projects, with all kind of different opinons and interests. More than the often smaller groups of employees who working for closed source companies.

I feel the older I get, the more I realise how little I know. Well I know I have a preference for bigger, open group of people. With different insights. Personally I keep on thinking that our future is based on all the individual decisions we take. So if I have a choice between a Coca Cola and a local flemish brewed beer. I’ll choose for this beer. As I do not like to support the Coca Cola company. Thinking on Coca Cola I see a multi-national company which are is more efficient. And also more efficient to avoid to pay tax. I see Coca Cola’s efficient marketing. And I see the obesitas-problem. Therefore I have rarely chosen for a Coca Cola. And still it can be difficult. Local flemish brewed beer, can be part of a big enterprise. An enterprise where its stockholders are most important. And where earning money can be of bigger importance than producing good food. In the end I think it helps if we all try to chose good food. So personally I like to make my favorite recipe of backed rice : “nasi goreng” (on this blog I have the recipe in english, and french) with as much as possible local products. However the rice, cacahuètes, etc., I have them imported for me. But I try to add local carottes, cabbage, eggs, (a bit of!) porc, and …   …. flemish beer.

And in many cases open source is not a suitable solution. For example for a lot of financial and logistic applications made with closed source/proprietary software. Not easy, rather impossible to replace them by open source solutions. I can’t imagine how big organisations like factories, financial institutions replace just like that their enormous administrations towards open source solutions. For sure I see possibilities for open source solutions. It might be compared to changing the actual fossile energy systems towards less polluting ones. In a lot of occassions we can decide to take a bicycle, instead of a fossile energy driven car. But a society without fossile energy driven cars? That is a long way ahead.  So I promote: if you can choose for open source. Consider to do so.

A lot to reflect on. How to improve the added value of all these IT systems? I try to concentrate on a few things. Choosing for open source, when I have a choice. Plus trying to approve my capabilities to speak, read and write in French.  So to finish this blog post, my opinion en français :  Je préfère logiciel open source. Parce que c’est libre. Libre pas comme un bière en libre service (bière gratuits), mais comme en liberté d’expression.