Indonesia, Zambia, New Zealand and Pakistan: name a few countries and chances are Marco Meijerink (53) and Lisette Verzijl (50) have cycled there. The adventurers, the sufferers: they secretly came to love him. “There were all dangerous-looking men there, with big beards and Kalashnikovs.”
They talk about it candidly at the kitchen table in Agelo, where they have lived since 2022. Marco Meijerink is from Steenwijksmoer in Drenthe, but moved to Barendrecht at a young age. There he met Lisette Verzijl. Soon they took their first bike ride together, in 1986. In Belgium. “Newspaper bags on your back, clothes with you and go,” Meijerink says with a laugh of that time. “No odometer and no Google Maps yet, so we did everything with a paper map.”
We really couldn’t cross this country by bike, much too dangerous
It turned out to be a bike ride that is etched in their memory to this day. Not because everything went well. Verzijl: „Marco thundered downhill on his bike in a small village. We went with an ambulance and left our bikes with a stranger. Fortunately, the damage turned out to be minor. “A policeman then took us a little further and we hitchhiked from there.”
Through the Sahara
The spark flew. The teenagers enjoyed the bike rides. Back then, they wouldn’t have dared to dream that they could look back on journeys through the Sahara and the Himalayas nearly forty years later. And parties across dangerous Taliban-occupied countries also provided special experiences.
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