“Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning reel.
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.”
Last weekend’s 80km ride took me on the Two Lands bicycle trail. Beginning in the German city of Aachen, the trail winds through 275km of western Germany and eastern Netherlands, ending in Nijmegen. The trail rolls from village to town, through fields and forests, mostly on paved paths, with a few hard-pack dirt trails just to keep things interesting. (If anyone can translate this trail map, please let me know. I would like to learn more about this trail. – JH)
Riding from Susterseel to Hongren, I picked up the trail heading out of town towards Seffelen. Between Seffelen and Waldfeucht is a large field of wind turbines. These units are capable of generating around 1MW each, enough to power several hundred homes. That is, when the wind is blowing. Much of the time, they sit idle. Such was the case when I snapped these pictures.
The European governments have staked much of their future electrical production on the use of wind turbines. Given the limited availability of large tracts of land (several acres per MW), they will probably have to look to geographically-dispersed offshore wind turbines to supply their needs.
The wind turbines appear to be located in the midst of farmer’s fields. In reality, the power company owns the fields with the focus on power generation. The crops are there mostly to secure the soil and improve the view. Speaking of views, one thing that Americans will pick up on is the absence of power poles. Except for high-voltage transmission lines, all electricity in this part of Europe is distributed via underground cables. No doubt, it is easy on the eyes!
On past the wind turbines, I came across a wind mill from another age. Near Waldfeuct, this example no longer operates, but serves to remind people of their heritage. This classic windmill was common in this region due to the somewhat windy location and the limited availability of running creeks for water-powered mills.
Continuing on, the trail turned to dirt for a mile or so before crossing over into the Netherlands and continued on to the forest around Montfort. Took some lunch at a picknick table in the forest, then back home for a shower and some relaxation.