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Bikes, beer, and flowers

I am planning a bike trip in April and May and need some help planning. I have a few books with some route guidance and general suggestions but have a bunch of questions that I haven't found answers to (even Google is failing me). My general plan is to fly into Amsterdam, spend 5 nights there with day trips to Horn/Medemblik/Enkhuizen, Edam/Volendam/Marken, Alkmaar, and Keukenhoff. From there I plan on heading east to Arnhem and Utrecht (depending on head winds either travel there or back by train). From there I am either going to go through Eindhoven where I have some friends of friends, or swing over to Delft and Rotterdam. From there I am looking at the North Sea Route, Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, Brussles, swing up through Antwerp and back to Amsterdam. Probably at some point I am going to run out of days and take the train back to Amsterdam to fly home. I have some specific bike related questions, and would like to know if there are any special places along that general route to swing by.
1. Is there a tire pump at AMS? For that matter are they available in public places? Most of our (pedal) biker bars in Iowa have them, I am not sure if this correlates to BeNeLux. Has anyone had experience storing luggage/bike boxes at the airport? I have a CoMotion touring bike with SS couplers that has travelled fine in the US as checked luggage, this is it's first overseas trip.

  1. I have some safety concerns with my bike and theft. Has anyone used the monitored bike storage places in the Netherlands? I plan on finding indoor/courtyard storage at night but worry about the day time.

  2. I have trouble with maps. I accidentally biked on the Autostrade last year in Italy. I would like to either have a reliable GPS for my iphone 6, or get a garmin or similar. Has anyone had success with any of these devices or failures? Would I be able to throw a sim card into my phone to use mobile data (without being charged a ton of money)?

  3. This is my first trip where I don't have a day to day planned out and it's making me a little bit nervous. I would like to have the spontaneity of being able to stay in a town an additional day, or switch up my route based on good beer, others recommendations etc. To ease my anxiety I plan on finding the next nights accommodation either the night before or in the morning before I head out for the day. I would like some reassurance that this works and has not left people sleeping in train stations or paying way to much for a room.

  4. Any special towns, experiences, or beers that anyone recommends? I have read most of the bike routing books that are in English but would like a good (kindle) resource for breweries if there is one that people use. Do the hoteliers usually know where to go? Covering 50-100 km is a normal ride for me and I would consider a 50km (100km round trip) ride to an awesome sight/beer a good day. Probably with all of the beer chocolate and frites I need to be putting in some decent distances.

  5. I would (with some train backtracking) be able to see the Bloemencorso parade. It looks awesome, is it worth the (train) backtracking to see?

Thank you for your input

Posted by
1509 posts

For your questions have a look at Cecilia´s travel site. Cecilia is an Amsterdam resident, well experienced with bike travel and I think still active on the Thorn Tree Forum of Lonely Planet. You can ofcourse ask this question also on that forum. http://cile.home.xs4all.nl/

If you decide to bike along the North See Route between Rotterdam and Bruges I can give some extra info that can be of help as this is my home region.

Posted by
16832 posts

I would not worry about being able to find rooms a day in advance in April and May. You won't sleep in a train station. The local tourist office in each town will usually be a more complete resource than hoteliers, but don't hesitate to ask hoteliers' advice, too.

Posted by
1509 posts

A good source of information is our national tourist organization the ANWB, comparable with the AAA. They started as an organization for cyclists, later for car drivers too. Their website is only in Dutch, but you can contact them. If it is to difficult to find or fill in the contact form, call: 00 31 (0)88 269 22 22 They speak English well, no worry. Hopefully they can tell you too where to find a pump at the airport.

They have well equiped shops throughout the country, a few quiet close to Schiphol Airport (AMS), like one in Hoofddorp and Amsterdam Osdorpplein. There is no shop in the city centre of Amsterdam, closest is Amsterdam Buikslotermeerplein. In the shops you can buy road maps for cycle tours and getting info too about itineraries. There are also many bike repair boxes of the ANWB along the numerous cycle routes you can select. http://www.anwb.nl/fietsen/fietsroutes/fietsservicepunten

Posted by
1 posts

Michelle,
Google maps allows you to download maps to have them available "offline". You can do this on your iPhone and then you will only need the GPS and not data to use them.