/ Cycle Touring Netherlands?

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SteveX 22 Apr 2018

Hi,

we are thinking of going on a cycle tour of Netherlands at Whit for 4 days. Ferry Hull to Rotterdam, then ?????

We have not cycled much at all a lately, for various reasons, but did Preston Wheel, 21 miles yesterday and only a moderately sore bum and no aches or pains.

We are thinking just give it a go. 

few questions.

 

  • Is The Netherlands really that flat?
  • Is it nice to cycle around.
  • How far is realistic per day, I am thinking 30 - 40 miles.
  • Book accommodation first, or wing it to give maximum flexibility.
  • Our tyres are MTB tyres, is it worth new road tyres/wheels for a first trip.
  • We have 4 weeks to get our bums toughened up is this long enough.
  • Is there a particularly nice area of The Netherlands.

Any advice gratefully received.

Cheers

gethin_allen 22 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Doing 30-40 miles a day is a nice easy day, plenty of time to have a lazy start, a nice stop for dinner and sight seeing. Tyre choice depends on what you're running at the moment; if you're rolling on big fat 2"+ tyres I'd certainly consider getting something a bit lighter and smoother.

JimHolmes69 22 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

The terrain isn’t perfectly flat away from the coast. Wind can be ever present but not too much of a problem.

Lots of cycle paths even on the side of larger roads. Have a look at google maps. There is a cycle path by the Rhine. Cicerone press do a guide book, which leaves from Rotterdam. That might be an option for you. It has lots of advice.

The mileage of 30/40 miles a day will be fine, especially with Lancashire legs. Being from Darwen it has always helped a lot.

We have never booked accommodation and never had a problem. We have camped and stayed in cheap hotels and always found somewhere to stay.

Buy road tyres, it makes a BIG difference. MTB tyres on the road is like cycling with Velcro!

You have plenty of time to train. Remember try to go as light as you can. We pack 2 bags for a camping trip for a month across Europe in the summer. The best advice is to be light.

Hope this helps, have a good time.

SteveX 22 Apr 2018
In reply to JimHolmes69 and Gethin,

thank you.

 

jethro kiernan 22 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Not many hills in Holland, but the wind can be quite different to what your used to. I have been working around Den Helder in Northern Holland and have had my bike out there and I can recommend the North Sea route, follows the coast and large sections are car free and follow the Sand dunes and beaches, if you can get to Texel Island this is worth the journey. The trains are pretty good with bikes if you want to skip a section as is the general infrastructure including hotels.

Ditch the MTB tyres for road tyres

SteveX 22 Apr 2018
In reply to jethro kiernan:

> Not many hills in Holland, but the wind can be quite different to what your used to.

 The trains are pretty good with bikes if you want to skip a section as is the general infrastructure including hotels.

Sorry if this makes me sound like a Cad, but is there a prevailing wind, and I could get the train to one end of a Linear trip and have the wind with us.

> Ditch the MTB tyres for road tyres

This sounds like good advice.

 

Jim Lancs 22 Apr 2018

The winds are similar to those we get in the UK - plenty of westerlies but can come from any direction.

But don't underestimate the wind, I had it in my face for two weeks and found it far more dispiriting than any Alpine pass. 

The flattish terrain also means your position on the bike doesn't change much - you tend to simply sit there and twiddle away. So cycling in Holland is actually tougher on your arse than anywhere else.

My advice for 4 days would be to not try and go too far, but learn how to use the bike path way markers and then wander about looking at the detail of stuff around you rather than searching for any 'epic landscapes'.

SteveX 22 Apr 2018
In reply to Jim Lancs:

> >

>  then wander about looking at the detail of stuff around you rather than searching for any 'epic landscapes'.

Thanks, like the tulips and the little mouse with clogs on . I did wonder if flat landscapes could get a tad boring. 
I think we will go for a week. If we get brassed off, can always jump on a train somewhere. 

John Stainforth 22 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

The Netherlands is flatter than just about any country on the planet - most of it's flatter than a pancake (however that is measured) - and it is also more geared up for cyclists than anywhere else, e.g., cycle tracks everywhere.

The warnings about the wind are appropriate. I would say that when the wind is blowing there, it is generally stronger than in the UK because it is coming straight off the sea with no topography (apart from a few sand dunes ) to slow it down. When it's really blowing (which it does quite often), there is often sand mixed in with the wind, so you get the pleasure of sandblasting as well.

I quickly got into the typical Dutch way of using a old bikes and dumping them near railway stations during a night out. If you do that with fancy high tech bikes there is a good chance they will go missing. (Old crock bikes frequently go missing also, or "swapped" according to the tradition.)

SteveX 22 Apr 2018
In reply to John Stainforth:

Thanks John. I have an Old MTB bike with skinny ish tyres, and may buy something off eBay for £50 -£70 for my wife, to use. 

douwe 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

www.hollandcyclingroutes.com

Great cycling routes all over the Netherlands. 

Pids 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Holland is a great place for cycle touring.

Yes, it is flat, although there can be undulations.

Wind - I've never noticed it being a problem either time I've been, but live in west coast of Scotland with its weather issues, perhaps head inland to get away from the coastal wind then - we spent a bit of time cycling round Tilburg area, lovely, especially the section round parc national de loonse en drunense duinen .

Put road tyres or slick mtb tyres on to make it easier for yourself.

Don't take large panniers/too much gear - make it enjoyable as opposed to slogging round carrying loads of luggage.

GrahamD 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

The last couple of years our local pub have done a multi day European ride and in both years we have done a day in Holland from Hoek (different directions each year).  The country is flat but surprisingly varied and boy is it geared up to make cyclists top priority.  We certainly enjoyed riding there and staying there.  I'll email you .gpx files if you are interested ?

SteveX 23 Apr 2018
In reply to GrahamD and Pids,

thats encouraging, think you. I do not know what .gpx file is, I assume GPS or something.

GrahamD 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

.gpx is a pretty standard file format.  You can plan routes on free sites such as e.g. BikeHike, and load the files to something like a Garmin.  I'll e mail you a couple of courses which you can import into BikeHike (or loads of other map programs) to look at.

I'f its a trip you are organising I'd certainly encourage your team to be using GPS.  It saves so much faffing and allows you to plan quite intricate routes without having to constantly look at maps.  I use a Garmin Edge Touring with maps included and its fine for what I need.

SteveX 23 Apr 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Thank you that is most kind.

I have come across this, it looks almost too good to be true, have you any experince of it please https://www.vriendenopdefiets.nl/en

GrahamD 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

We just booked up local hotels which were great (there was a bunch of us) so no experience of this I'm afraid.  Can you drop me an email ? I'm not sure how to send attachments with the UKC email link.

jethro kiernan 23 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

If you happen to include Den Helder, which I recommend for the sand dunes cycle paths and the jumping off point to texel look me up 

security, bike theft can be a problem, I had my giant race bike stolen from outside the hotel. After which I found out the hotel had a secure lockup for bikes.

just because your bike is old doesn’t mean someone won’t “borrow” it to get back from the pub ??;-/

didntcomelast 27 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:when my children were young we took a cycling trip around northern Holland. Ferry from Newcastle and then to Amsterdam and north. We booked no accomodation and had five nights in some of the most beautiful b&b’s we’ve ever stayed in without problem. Dutch people love cyclists and the country is really well set up for cycle travel.  

If I say that both my daughters rode their own bikes at the ages of 9 & 6 respectively and managed to cover over 100miles in a week, that gives an idea of how difficult the terrain is for riding. 

We rode up the Zeider zee and to Edam and then across to Alkmaar for the cheese market. Used mountain bikes with road tyres and carried panniers of clothes.  

 

 

LastBoyScout 27 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

If you're doing purely road, then slicks are a good idea - I've got a set of Continental ones, which are pretty good. The smaller diameter will affect the gearing, though - it'll be lower overall.

If it's a bit more mixed, then something like Continental Traffic or RaceKing might be a good choice. I've toured on Continental X King, but that was more off-road focussed. Anything with a fine tread/virtual centre ridge design would be good for the sand dunes. Schwalbe seem to have most of the market share for touring. Don't get anything too heavy duty, though - it's only 4 days in Holland, not 3 months in India.

In reply to SteveX:

There is a brilliant map network system that works across the Netherlands and Belgium called the Fietsnetwork - https://www.fietsnetwerk.nl/de-fietsnetwerk-app/ (in Dutch) . It consists of a series of junctions with numbers connected across the land by either cycle paths or very quiet roads. Each junction has the local area map displayed and you just choose your next junction number and it is signed from that point. You can basically navigation across the country on this system and are always guaranteed to be on a decent cycle way and don't really even need a map.

There are a number of Apps available that allow you to follow yourself on the network although I haven't used one in English, this one claims to have English option - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fietsknoop/id351409471?mt=8

The app I have used is called Fietsen NL (I can't find a web link to that but it does appear on an iPhone App Store). Using that you can create long routes and set it to tell you when you are approaching a junction and what junction you need to head to next.

Alan

 

neilh 27 Apr 2018
In reply to SteveX:

My wife and I did a 4 day break cycling around Amsterdam last year . Brilliant.

Only tip is to make sure you have plenty of interesting places to visit ( museums, forts, nice towns etc etc ), otherwise it can be just a wee a bit tedious

SteveX 27 Apr 2018
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Thats great thanks. I am rather excited and my wife who like adventure "lite" is excited to.

SteveX 06 May 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Bought slicks. Done training ride today. 30 miles on Sustrans 62 which I highly recommend. Have joined friends of Friets. Climbing tomoz to let my bum recover. I think this will be the biggest challenge.

Rigid Raider 06 May 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Read this, it will give you a pretty clear idea of the difficulties:

https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/netherlands-with-some-belgium-germany.163397/

SteveX 02 Jun 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Just back from The Netherlands. One of the best trips I have ever had, thanks for the advice. I am now a confirmed Dutchophile, if carlsberg made countries, she would have made the Netherlands.

The Knoopunt network is genius and anyone who does not give Vriends Fiets at least one go is a mug.

We went Europort > Den Haag>Harleem>Alkmaar>Texel> Train back to Delft> Europort.

A great first trip and something that my wife and I will repeat.

mbh 02 Jun 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Nice to hear. Glad you had a good time. Something that I hope my wife and I actually do! It's been on our list for a while.

James Malloch 18 Jun 2018
In reply to SteveX:

Can anyone recommend a book or map for touring in the Netherlands? Can be in English or Dutch.

I'm planning on organising a trip for a birthday present but it would be good to have something to give on the day. We will start from Rotterdam if it makes any difference.

Any recommendations would be appreciate!

SteveX 18 Jun 2018
In reply to James Malloch:

We bought a book before we went by a british guy, it gave a good overview but not much use really.

We have bought a book atlas that shows the Knoopunt network, thats really useful. I will post ISBN later.
A great gift would be membership of Vriends Fiets.

Top Tip. If you are going Hull - Rotterdam. There is a ferry from Pistolhaven to Hoek of Holland.

summo 18 Jun 2018
In reply to SteveX:

> We have 4 weeks to get our bums toughened up is this long enough.

Others might disagree, but I've found spending more on decent pair of shorts makes a huge difference. There is quite a bit of thought in the design about where seams are located and wicking ability once you get up out of the very budget end of the market. 

Post edited at 12:50

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