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.