Throughout Pentecost weekend, cycling enthusiasts are making their way through Friesland during the bike Elfstedentocht, following the route of the mythical Eleven Cities ice skating race. On Sunday, a team completed the route on a beer bike and raised more than 30,ooo euros for cancer research.
The Fietselfstedentocht has been held for more than a century during Pentecost weekend, and annually attracts around 15,000 participants. The cyclists start in around 23 different groups between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., and have 24 hours to complete the route. Omrop Fryslan reports that Team Wybe, which was named after the late Wybe Leenstra by a group of his friends, completed the 235-kilometer-long route on Sunday in honour of Leenstra, who died of cancer in 2015.
While the majority of the cyclists taking part are from Friesland or elsewhere in the Netherlands, the Leeuwarder Courant reports that more and more cyclists in the summer event are foreign: one out of every 17 participants comes from abroad, primarily from Belgium, Germany and France.
According to the Leeuwarder Courant, this year’s 14,000 participants will be travelling through the following towns on Monday after starting and ending in Bolsward: Schettens, Witmarsum, Arum, Kimswerd, Harlingen, Herbayum, Franeker, Dongjum, Tzummarum, Minnertsga, St. Jacobiparochie, St. Annaparochie, Nij Altoenae, Ouwe Syl, Oudebildtdijk, Holwerd, Hantum, Hiaure, Dokkum, Sybrandahuis, Birdaard, Bartlehiem, Wijns, Miedum, Lekkum, Leeuwarden, Marssum, Hatsum, Bayum, Winsum, Spannum, Kubaard, Hichtum, Bolsward, Nijland, Ysbrechtum, Sneek, IJlst, Jutrijp, Hommerts, Spannenburg, Tjerkgaast, Sloten, Wyckel, Balk, Kippenburg, Oudemirdum, Mirns, Laaxum, Stavoren, Molkwar, Hindeloopen,Workumand Parrega (the bold names are the cities in the official Eleven Cities).
You can follow the cyclists through the province at Omrop Fryslan throughout the day:
In two weeks, former Olympic swimmer Maarten van der Weijden will make a second attempt to swim the entirety of the Eleven Cities route in Friesland. Van Der Weijden’s first attempt to swim the 200-kilometre-long route through the Elevent Cities last August ran aground in Burdaard after swimming non-stop for 163 kilometers and having been in the water for 55 hours at that time. Van Der Weijden raised more than 5 million euros during the 2018 swim.
Photo source: Traci White