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Successfully Completed a Self-Guided Bike Trip through Holland

I just returned from a 9-day trip to the Netherlands where we ditched travel by train or private car and joined the Dutch culture biking. If you are planning a trip to the Netherlands, I highly recommend that you consider going 100% bike. Rather than carrying our clothes we used to book our hotels and carry our luggage forward every day. (To tell you a bit about this company, when we hit Haarlem we were booked at the same hotel as travelers on Rick Steves' 21 day Europe tour!) Our Rick Steves' Guidebook on Amsterdam and the Netherlands provided an invaluable source for restaurants and walking tours in the places that we visited. If you wonder whether you can handle the biking, here are my thoughts: The Netherlands is totally flat so the biking question is not so much fitness as it is confidence. At home, I use my bike nearly daily for short rides to complete errands and ride recreationally quite frequently. But I am a 70 year old woman who could stand to lose a few pounds. I had no problems. The bikes are heavy and slow compared to what I ride at home but that is the Dutch way. We wore helmets although they are not required--for us a confidence builder. The tour company puts you at an Amsterdam hotel leading to its tracks out of town so you will only navigate the intimidating Amsterdam bike traffic if you choose to. On our jet lag day, we took a bus into Central Amsterdam but after a good night's sleep we rode bikes to the Van Gogh Museum and realized that what looks like crazy riding is really quite organized and safe. Our trip was called Pearls of Holland. The Route was Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Delft, Woeden, and back to Amsterdam. Those destinations also routed us through The Hague and Gouda. We used the ap: Ride with GPS and had practiced its use in local rides at home.

We planned our trip for peak flowers and our dreams were realized...the ride was pure eye candy! We rode to Keukenhof on a second day in Leiden. The trip was not just flowers. We rode through incredible neighborhoods, bucolic farm land, and parks on trails and very low traffic streets. We really developed an appreciation for the polder and saw so many waterbirds.

If you are a confident rider, this is the way to see the Netherlands.

Posted by
466 posts

This sounds like a wonderful trip! Were the bikes you used e-bikes? Or just heavier than usual regular bikes?

Posted by
12 posts

Regular bikes that are typical of what the Dutch ride everyday. They had puncture resistant tires, full sets of fenders and a back rack with a panier. If you can cycle, there is no need for ebikes on this ride.