Kyle the ‘Helpwagen’

Kyle the “helpwagen,” or support car, has transported the group’s luggage, scoped out hotels and hostels before the 16 cyclists arrive at the end of the day, provided water mid-route on especially hot days, and picked up a student or two when needed.

by Kyle the Van (edited by Carolyn Goodwin Kueffner)

Hello, my name is Kyle and I’m the transport van for the NR 195! This very special university course is being taught via bicycle, with the classroom on the road, traveling in a GIANT circle starting and ending in Amsterdam! This was the brilliant idea of the instructor for the class, Kristine Stepenuck.

Kris enjoys a local delicacy, haring (a pickled fish) from an open-air market

My first day on the job was quite a workout since I had to make a half a dozen shuttles from Schipol airport (which sits below sea level) to the Amsterdam hostel where the students were staying on their first night. They arrived in shifts starting around 7am (which was 1am for most of them…ZZZZZ!) and were all safely tucked away at the hostel by 2pm, awaiting the arrival of our rental bicycles. The guy who drove me that day hadn’t had much experience with standard (manual) vehicles like me, but by the end of the day, we were fast friends.

I could tell these students were VERY tired since most of them had little sleep on their red-eye flights from the states and they were still kind, thoughtful and courteous. Their mean leaders, however, would not let the students go to sleep until late that evening to help with their human jet lag.

Even though I’m not a human, I can tell that the people on this trip are all extra special! They are kind, compassionate, interesting and SMART! My main job is to carry their precious luggage from one resting spot to the next as they move around the country.  For that job, I am perfectly built. These intrepid individuals have been biking many kilometers every day in all kinds of conditions and they have traveled more than 350 kilometers (about 220 miles) by bike!

The “classroom” travels in a large loop around multiple provinces in the Netherlands, starting and ending in Amsterdam

So far, we have visited Amsterdam, Leylstad, Almere, Amersfoort, Nijmegen, Hertogenbosch, Dordrecht, the Kinderdijk, and Rotterdam. We just arrived in Rotterdam after I made a special trip to the bakery and convenience store to get supplies for a birthday party for Guiliana who turned 19 yesterday. Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday Giuliana!

My more consistent companion, Carolyn, travels with me through the class. This week she took a short adventure while I was taking a much needed snooze.

Carolyn grabs a quick ride with one of the students on a bike path with permeable pavement

One Reply to “Kyle the ‘Helpwagen’”

  1. Enjoying the blog. Well written and fun to read.
    Sounds familiar to me as my husband and l were participants in a bike and barge through the Netherlands a few years ago.
    Keep on peddling !!!
    Gram L

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.