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Free eBook: 20 Tips For Bike Touring In The Netherlands

Posted February 6th, 2012

We’ve had a lot of time on our hands lately, while waiting for our newest little cyclist to arrive; time that’s allowed us to create some fun things for all of our readers.

Last month, we gave you our free Bike Touring Basics book and this month we have another free eBook with 20 Tips For Bike Touring in the Netherlands.

20 Tips For Bike Touring In The Netherlands

Click on the book cover to grab your free copy.

Download it. Pass it around. Or just enjoy the preview below. Most of all – come cycling here. We think the Netherlands is one of the best countries in the world for a bicycle tour.

P.S. We’re writing a much longer bike touring guide to the Netherlands (a.k.a Holland) so if you have any tips to share or requests for what you’d like to see included, please get in touch!

Posted in Books, Map, Netherlands

Cycling The Netherlands

Posted February 1st, 2012

Cycling past the windmills of KinderdijkThe Netherlands (or Holland, as it’s commonly known) is arguably the best country in the world for a bicycle tour.

It’s a nation that’s absolutely crazy about the bicycle, with more bikes than people!

As a visiting bike tourist, this means you can benefit from a phenomenally well developed bicycle network, including thousands of dedicated paths and free guarded bike parking in cities.

While you’re here, you can also:

  • Brush up on the Dutch master painters. Museums across the country feature paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
  • Sun yourself on the beaches of the North Sea. Or simply ride along the dunes on tranquil bike paths.
  • Waltz through the tulip fields. Come in mid April or early May for the best display of colour! Read more.
  • Fill up on apple cake and pancakes. Traditional Dutch food is hearty and comforting.

We’re so crazy about cycling here, that we created a free eBook with 20 Tips For Bike Touring In The Netherlands.

20 Tips For Bike Touring In The Netherlands

Simply click on the book to download your free copy.

More information about bike touring in The Netherlands:

 

Posted in Map, Netherlands

A Weekend Bike Tour To The Dutch Island Of Texel

Posted November 13th, 2011

With a major life change rapidly approaching, and winter closing in, every weekend has suddenly become precious. If it’s sunny, then cycling we shall go.

This ‘carpe diem’ attitude sparked the latest mini adventure: a tour to northern Holland and the island of Texel. This picture sums up the trip: gorgeous.

Alicia on her Brompton

In case you don’t know where Texel is, this map should help orient you. Amsterdam is down in the bottom left corner. The route is about 120km in total, and easily done in a couple of days. You can ride on dedicated bike paths for almost the entire time.

Map of Our Tour

And who was cycling, exactly? Well, this time your trusty cyclists were Friedel & Alicia – not Andrew, because he was away in Germany. A girl’s weekend out. Fun! Even more fun was the fact that we both had new Brompton folding bikes, so we decided to test their touring credentials. Here we are, with our almost-matching bikes.

Brompton Geekery

In the summer, the area we rode through would be heaving with tourists. Happily, in November, it was desolate and beautiful. We rode through empty forests…

A Forest Outside Alkmaar

And alongside sand dunes (the ocean is just on the other side)…

Bicycle Path in the Netherlands!

And sometimes we stopped at a farm stall to pick up treats, like blackberry jam. If we’d been here in the summer, we might have also bought strawberries, honey or even wool!

Time to buy some jam!

The whole weekend turned out to be a bit of a culinary adventure. Cheese, potatoes and Texel beer were quickly added to our small bags.

Cheese shop

Who can resist a farm stall? Not me!

We also got up extra early on Saturday, to photograph the sunrise, with Alicia’s medium-format camera.

Last moon, first light

On sunny autumn weekends, Texel is a landscape photographer’s dream.

Early morning photographer

From there, it was on to see some friendly seals at an aquarium and seal refuge.

Baby sea lions

And finally back home again, via a beautiful lighthouse.

De Cocksdorp Lighthouse

A short trip, but a very rewarding one – and through all of it the Brompton bikes held up admirably. We were impressed at how comfortable they were to ride over long distances, even on some unpaved paths. And there’s no arguing with the ease of putting them on the train compared to other bikes. No extra bike ticket. No time restrictions. Perfect! Other Brompton trips are almost certainly in the planning for the future.

Photo Essay: Autumn Cycling In The Netherlands

Posted October 24th, 2011

If we had to pick a favourite season for bike touring, autumn would be it.

Summers are too hot, and the bike paths too crowded. Spring is too wet, and winter too icy. But autumn? It’s perfect. Who could argue with a ride along a misty, tree-lined road like this, on a Sunday morning in late October?

Beautiful Sunday Cycling

All around us, colours are popping – not least in the ripe corn, just waiting for the farmer to come and pluck it off the stalk.

Corn

The beauty of the surrounding landscape, and the good company, give us plenty of reasons to smile, as we ride along nearly deserted bike paths.

Alicia

Darkness falls early in October, so by 5pm we’re setting up camp. We’re the only tenters in a huge campground.

Setting up camp

We spread a phenomenal amount of food out on the picnic table. Will 3 people really eat all this? Yes, as it turns out. It’s going to be cold tonight, you know – below freezing. We need insulation! From this pile of food, we make a vegetable curry, rice, smores over the campfire and an apple desert. Yum!

We do eat a lot of food for 3 people...

Before supper, however, we cut wood for the campfire and laugh – a lot. Some of us (Andrew) end up working more than others. Well, there should be at least a few benefits to being 6 months pregnant!

Sawing Wood - a team effort :-)

As night falls, we stoke the campfire, roast marshmallows and talk, until only coals are left, and we wonder if autumn will be kind enough to give us just one more weekend like this, before winter really sets in.

Campfire at the natuurcamping in Sellingen

Our Second Test Ride On Recumbent Bikes & Trikes

Posted September 4th, 2011

One day. Six different bicycles to test out, and a bright summer’s day with beautiful blue skies.

If it sounds like a perfect combination, that’s because it was. After our first test of recumbent bikes a few weeks ago, this time we were on our way to Maia Ligfietsen in the Dutch city of Dordrecht. To get there, we biked 30km and then took the Waterbus ferry. What a gorgeous ride and a bargain for just €4.

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We were on a mission to test the Gekko fx folding trike in particular (Friedel’s current obsession), but someone hadn’t returned it on time, so instead we got to test some other bikes.

We started with the fun Pino tandem, from another renowned German bicycle maker, Hase. It’s not a bicycle we’d ever buy (unless we win the lottery) because we can’t see ourselves using it that often, but it’s a blast to ride. And with one person sitting low down in front, everyone has the perfect view.

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Maybe we’ll rent it for a short tour next summer…

While we were testing the Pino, Alicia was trying out a folding Brompton bike.

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We briefly tried it and found it a little twitchy to ride but Alicia told us that she soon got used to it. There’s no doubt that a Brompton is ultra practical in Europe for hopping on and off public transport, and the folks from Path Less Pedaled have certainly gone far on them.

Trevor, meanwhile, was still trying to find his perfect recumbent bike. He tried one from Nazca but it was the GreenMachine from Flevobike that really made him fall in love.

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Andrew hopped on briefly and loved it as well. It’s a beautiful bike to ride. If only that price tag weren’t so steep - €3,800 (about $5,500 U.S.)!

In the afternoon, we turned our attention to some trikes. Not the Gekko fx that we wanted to test, but the Scorpion fx from HP Velotechnik for Andrew and the Kettwiesel from Hase for Friedel. We both had a lot of fun in these ultra-comfortable trikes, and we discovered a few leg muscles that we don’t normally use.

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Turning around took a bit of practice…

What a fun day.

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Followed by an equally fun over-crowded boat ride to a campsite on an island.

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It’s just too bad the campsite didn’t tell us they were planning an all-night party, with the main music tent set up right beside our tents. Not exactly what you expect from a Nature Camping Site (campgrounds that are supposed to be quiet). We packed up and left at 9pm, and we’ll be asking for our money back…

Next up? Well, the bicycle store has kindly offered to let us borrow the Gekko fx for a few days at home, so Friedel will be trying it out on her daily commute plus some shorter rides over the coming days; possibly including an S240. After that, we’ll put together some more thoughts on touring on a recumbent tricycle.