Yorkshire. Er… Holland. Our ‘Staycation’ Bike Tour.

We’re advocates of not planning a bike tour too much. Remaining open to the serendipity and unexpected opportunities that life on the road brings is, we think, one of the best parts of bicycle travel.

But this summer, we may have left a little too much in the hands of fate. Our idea was clear. We wanted to travel by ferry from our home in Holland to Newcastle in northern England. We’d then spend 7-10 days cycling south through Yorkshire’s beautiful moors and dales to Hull, hopefully across some backroads and country tracks. From there, we’d take another ferry back home.

Yorkshire Dales Beautiful Yorkshire. Photo by Chantrybee

It sounded blissfully easy on paper, and ferries being a slightly old-fashioned mode of transport, we didn’t worry too much about booking ahead. As it turns out, we should have worried a bit more than we did. The sticker shock of over €600 to get the two of us and our bicycles to England and back was a bit more than we were willing to swallow. For a tour of several weeks, maybe we would have done it. For a week, it was hard to justify.

We looked at discount websites, tried varying our dates, considered a few route variations and even – briefly – thought about going by plane, train or bus. We considered numerous kind offers from readers (including one incredibly sweet offer to lend us bikes, so we could fly without the hassle of packing!) but in the end, we decided to abandon ship. Our trip to Yorkshire would have to wait until next year.

So, with over a week of holidays booked for the end of July, now what? Again we turned to the drawing board, and our readers.

“Where would you go?” we asked, and we received many tempting answers. Everything from a Berlin-Copenhagen trip (this one really tempted us), to the Eiffel mountains of Germany (also highly recommended by our cycling neighbours), and a journey along Norway’s coastline.

In the end, however, each trip had its own reasons for not fitting in this year so we decided on the simplest option possible: a ‘staycation’ bike tour of the Netherlands. We’ll cycle out our front door. We’ll probably take a train home, but it won’t cost much and we can decide at the last minute when and where to hitch a lift home.

This is what our rough plan looks like now. It’s a healthy 660km and it fulfills a quirky desire to cycle along the borders of the Netherlands (at least halfway – maybe next year we’ll do the rest).

2011 Bicycle Tour of Holland

Like all good things, ‘the plan’ may change. That’s no problem though. Now that we’re sticking close to home, we can once again go with our whims. We’re also pleased because the money saved on transport means we’ll have a nice ‘luxury fund’ for lunches out and other treats. Even better, we’ll get to explore the treasures in our back yard that we haven’t seen yet, rather than rushing off to destinations afar.

As we’ve found out many times this year already, you really don’t have to travel far to have a good time on a bicycle tour. We plan on proving that theory once more, at the end of this month.


  1. Brenda in the Boro UK
    12th July 2011 at 8:53 am #

    well that looks like a good trip. I’ve done the coastal part but not the border with germany. I hope you have a wonderful time.

  2. Alan Hardy
    12th July 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Hi, We did a similar trip but in reverse, just a few weeks ago. Got the ferry from hull to Rotterdam, spent a week cycling around Holland and Belgium and then got the ferry back from Brugge to Hull. I think the ferry return fare was under £100 each.


    • friedel
      12th July 2011 at 9:29 am #

      Gosh, I wish I knew where you got that fare! We searched several websites and the lowest we found was 450 euros return for both of us but then I realised we’d have to leave a day earlier and return a day later than planned, which would have meant 2 more days off work.

      Maybe the trick is going early in the summer before schools let out.

      • Alan Hardy
        12th July 2011 at 4:41 pm #

        P & O Ferries, book a while in advance and look out for offers. we have done it a few times. I think our best was about £80 return.

      • friedel
        12th July 2011 at 4:46 pm #

        Good to know. Next year, we’ll be more on the ball.

  3. Anki
    12th July 2011 at 11:04 am #

    I can really recommend the Copenhagen-Berlin route. I did this with 80 colleagues from all over the world in may/june – the first cycling unconference http://www.cyclingforlibraries.com.

    • friedel
      12th July 2011 at 11:21 am #

      Yes, it looks great on the map! We seriously considered it but we loved Denmark so much last summer, that if we go back we don’t want to be rushed and with just 8 or so days, we wouldn’t have enough time to do the route and see things along the way. It’s on our list for next summer though!

  4. chris
    14th July 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Switzerland? 🙂 There is a direct overnight Amsterdam-Zurich train, which takes bikes.

    • friedel
      14th July 2011 at 7:51 am #

      We would love to do that trip… tickets are about 300 euros (for 2 of us) total one way, or 500 euros if you want a bed, which we kind of do, because we tried the overnight sitting up seats last year to Denmark and they were really uncomfortable. We ended up trying to sleep on our mats in the bike carriage. I keep on coming back to the fact that we haven’t seen our own country, and that’s always a nice thing to do.

      • chris
        15th July 2011 at 12:39 pm #

        Wow.. that much? Then cycle one way. The Rhein Bike Trail is also really nice. Have a great tour! I finished mine early due to knee pains, and already daydream when it’ll be better and I can get out again.

      • friedel
        15th July 2011 at 12:52 pm #

        That was the price for cycling one way; train to Zurich and cycle back to Holland. I think we’ve accepted that this year is just not our year to go very far. Too many conflicting things going on that will prevent us from getting away for more than a week at a time – at least until December – and from spending too much money.

  5. chris
    15th July 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    That’s understandable, and there is little point taking an expensive and overnight train trip for a one week tour. Besides, Holland and surrounding area has lots to offer. Have a great time!

  6. Alicia
    18th July 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Please visit Bourtange! I’m so excited about this place but it’s a bit too far for a weekend trip… It’s right on the border.


  7. Alex de Jong
    18th July 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Oh that’s interesting, I am planning to take LF1 from Rotterdam, then LF10 across afsluitdijk to Friesland, where my mother lives, so that’s the shower and laundry stop, to Terschelling or Ameland, and then back through Overijssel, Gelderland Utrecht. Planning to do this in august though, as the weather right now is beastly. Although I rode to the Biesbosch in the pouring rain and then two days later, also wet, from Bergambacht to Gouda through the Groene Hart. Very nice rides, but wet.

  8. Mike
    20th July 2011 at 10:23 am #

    A few years ago I led a seakayaking tour in the area around Helgelandskysten. It really is a fantastic area, although we experienced 8 days of 12 – 15c with intermittent rain and 3 days of cloudless skies with temp. around 18….. in the mid-summer…. Norway really is fantastic, you just need to take good equipment and have more than a good eye on the weather…

  9. David
    22nd July 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Just got back from a post Dunwich Dynamo holiday. After completing the Dun Run, the next day we headed for Harwich, and then took the feery to The Hook of Holland. From there we did Breda, Mechelen and then Brussels, before heading back on eurostar, via a delayed train, due to the train in front hitting a deer! We mostly used the LF (long distance routes) and Fietsknooppuntennetwork (The green bely cycle route interchange network), which made getting around quite easy. Great trip – lovely counties once you are away from the urban areas.

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