The start of the spectacular initiative of Derk Thijs is at restaurant “Bestevaer”, on the bungalowpark of Roompot Zeeland Vakanties, main sponsor of the Rowingbike Tour de France.
Local television Omroep Zeeland is on the spot together with several journalists. Eric Rotte, in Zeeland well-known from the local television, gives a brief introduction after which Derk gives additional information about the Rowingbike Tour. He also thanks sponsors Roompot Zeeland Vakanties and Recreanet IT-Consultancy, Eric Rotte and Pieter Stoter. Mr. Stoter has provided Derk several times with sponsoring from the Zeeuwse energy company “Delta Nuts”. And of course Derk thanks everybody who has directly or indirectly supported the Rowingbike Tour de France.
In the meantime the “Rowingbike team”, consisting of Kees Berwald (driver and cook), Frans Bolweg (driver and navigator) and Daniel Siepman (navigator and internet) has loaded the camper with the last couple of items. The start is given and Derk leaves, together with Wim Thijs, Beb Thijs, Caroleen, Nico Rienks and several other rowingbikers for the boat departing from Vlissingen.
Soon the group arrives in Vlissingen and everybody says goodbye to Derk. From now he’s on his own.
Derk races through Belgium. After Brugge he gets a list of villages he passes, which makes navigating much easier. Without much trouble he arrives at 17.15 at the end of the first trip, Zuydcoote, near Dunkerque. No sign of fatigue. But after such a ‘short’ trip this shouldn’t be visible.