Road cycling in Zeeland
Wind, cobblestones, country lanes as straight as a die and a rich cycling tradition. Zeeland has what it takes to make a true cyclist’s heart race faster. This ‘land in the sea’ has produced racing legends such as Jo de Roo, Jan Raas, Keetie van Oosten-Hage and Johnny Hoogerland. Did you know that Zeeland’s dykes, bridges, highways and byways formed the backdrop for various stages of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in 2010? For road racing enthusiasts there’s so much to see and feel in Zeeland.
Cycling routes in Zeeland
There are four fantastic routes named after four of Zeeland’s greatest riders. Jo de Roo, Keetie van Oosten-Hage, Theo Middelkamp and Jan Raas have their own routes close to where each of them was born in Zeeland. If you fancy a real battle against the elements, we have the Zeeland wind cycle route for you.
These road cycling routes are signposted using white panels with red text and symbols. The direction of travel is always clockwise and this is the way the signposts face. There is no fixed start and finish line, so you can decide where to start yourself. You can decide to start the circuit with a helpful tail wind behind you or get down to some hard work in a strong head wind.
If you’d like to break the journey and take a breather along the way, then check out this list of bike cafés in Zeeland! Of course, you can also opt to combine the route with a visit to one of the many places of interest which you come across on the way.
Jo de Roo route - 111 km
The Jo de Roo route starts in lovely Zuid-Beveland and goes to Noord-Brabant and back. It’s a challenging route with cobblestones, sections along the sea dyke and a modest climb.
Along the route you will pass through the home village of De Roo and bike over the dykes that he too once cycled. The wind will hit your face along the Westerschelde estuary and in Brabant you will judder over the cobblestones. The fact that one uphill stretch requires some serious leg work makes this a varied and interesting route. Useful to know: the route can be shortened to 47 km or 70 km. And you can choose to start wherever you want.
Keetie van Oosten-Hage route - 87 km
The Keetie van Oosten-Hage route takes you across the islands of Tholen and Sint-Philipsland, the native country of Van Oosten-Hage. Large sections of the route lie outside the main network of dykes, taking you past different lagoons with panoramic views across the polders.
In her heyday, Keetie van Oosten-Hage was one of the best women road racers in the world. Not only did she dominate road racing, she also excelled on the track. The route (87 km) takes you to the island of Tholen where this cyclist was born.
Theo Middelkamp route - 145 km
The Theo Middelkamp route explores the highways and byways of Zeeland-Flanders and even crosses into Belgium at one stage. The route criss-crosses a landscape which is full of history and the cobbled lanes give it a nice Flemish touch.
This cycle route (145 km) is an ode to a cycling legend from Zeeland-Flanders. Despite the fact he’d never seen a mountain in his childhood, he won stages in the Tour de France such as Télegraphe, Lautaret and Galibier. So where had Middelkamp learned to climb? Obviously, putting in the time and dedication to cycling the Flemish polders must have been good for his legs and his stamina.
Jan Raas route - 101 km
The Jan Raas route goes through the Zak van Zuid-Beveland with its ancient polders and hawthorn hedges. Raas first learned his cycling on the crooked, flower-covered dykes which are characteristic of the area.
In his youth he would clock up miles on tarmac on Zuid-Beveland. Jan Raas won no fewer than 14 classic cycle races in his career. During this 101 km cycling route through Zuid-Beveland and Walcheren you will follow in the footsteps of the Dutch classic king.
Zeeuwse Wind route - 126 km
The Zeeland wind cycle route (126 km) takes you across Schouwen-Duiveland, Noord-Beveland, Zuid-Beveland, Walcheren, the Zeeland bridge and Oosterschelde storm surge barrier.
This cycle route is a trial of strength and stamina. During this bike ride you will have to deal with unknown opposition: the sea wind! It will either be a strong headwind or a giddy crosswind. Now and again you’ll have the wind at your back.
Are you afraid of a bit of wind or do you like a sporting challenge? Check out our page about the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships here!