On my ride home after work this evening I happened across a couple partaking of a cycle touring holiday. They were riding in the opposite direction and needed directions to Maidenhead. As I helped them, I thought I detected a Dutch accent (Yes Tommy, a Dutch accent. The time spent with you has rubbed off and added to my accent identification skills!).
I pointed them in the right direction and left them to continue their journey. About 5 minutes up the road however I spied a map laying in the middle of the road. I stopped and checked it out and found it to be a tourist map of the Thames Valley. I guessed that one of the couple I had met a few minutes ago had lost it so tucked it into my jersey pocket, turned round and gave chase.
I followed the route I had given them but got to the main junction with no sign of them. I had looked along a couple of side roads as I passed without seeing them either. Not happy I decided to turn round and try the main side road but got a considerable way along it without finding the couple. I thought al was lost and turned round again to make my way home but, as I rode back towards my route home I saw the couple riding towards me. I stopped and handed their map over.
It turned out that they had seen a small cycle path sign saying Maidenhead was 2 miles along a cycle path. They had tried to follow but, British cycle facilities being what they are, they found that they couldn't get their luggage laiden Dutch Bikes through the narrow barriers just along from the start of the route. They had turned round and decided to follow the road.
We chatted for a little while and I learned that they started the day in Oxford and had cycled along paths along the banks of the Thames, planning to ride to London but, on reaching Marlow they decided that the route was too rough so decided to head for Maidenhead and get the train into London. I was right about their accent, they were from the Netherlands, living near to Arnhem. I explained that I had a friend who was a Bike Cop in Den Haag (The Hague) and the guy said he was born in Den Haag and their son lived in Scheveningen. I know someone who lives in Scheveningen don't I Tommy?
I said goodbye to them and finished my ride home. An extra 22 minutes and an extra 5 1/2 miles on the commute. All miles are good miles.