Saint Nicholas' arrival
If you're thinking this doesn't sound like it has much to do with cycling, please watch the video below...
Sinterklaas is a nice man with a red coat and a white beard who likes to give presents to good children in December. I suspect that my English speaking readers are with me so far, but the story departs from what you're probably used to.
Sinterklaas lives in Spain and travels by steamboat and on a white horse to places where the boat can't reach. He gives presents to children on his birthday, the 5th of December.
Our local paper told us a few days ago that when the Burgemeester (mayor) of Assen was in Spain this year to organise the dates for the Vuelta a Espana, he just happened to bump into Sinterklaas and mention that for the first time in 40 years it is possible to sail right into the centre of the city. Sinterklaas naturally was keen to try this out.
Today Sinterklaas arrived in Assen on his steamboat. There was much excitement, mainly amongst Assen's younger citizens, but also amongst their parents and grandparents.
Of course, there is only one way to get to a large event here, and that is to cycle. You'll see in the video how even a five metre wide bicycle road can't cope with the number of bikes when Sinterklaas visits.
There's a website about the Sinterklaasintocht in Assen.
These days, the Kerstman (Christmas Man) also tends to visit on the evening of December 24th. However, there is campaign to encourage people not to put up Christmas trees, nor other associated things at least until December 6th.