Monday, July 14, 2014

How to plan your bicycle tour through Europe: The Netherlands (Holland)

The Condition of the Dutch Bike Lanes

I would almost say that a page dedicated to planning a trip through the Netherlands seems like an unnecessary thing to do. Why? Because you can pretty much go anywhere on your bicycle. I can assure you that you can get from - and to every corner of the country without any trouble at all. Also, without overreacting I can say that the bicycle paths in the Netherlands are in top condition.

I've already made some photos of the state of Dutch bicycle lanes:
Limburg fietspad Remunj Roermond
Look at the path. Separated from the street by a bit a grass. In the Netherlands, a helmet is simply not needed. It does not make sense to wear one, as cyclists are very safe and unlikely to have an accident. They hardly ever get themselves between motorized traffic.

Fietspad straat
Quality of picture is bad, as I was cycling while taking the picture. This is path is really the bare minimum. I would expect the street to be a 30 km/h zone though.

Brug Roermon
Here you see the bridge to Roermond. The cars are on the left side of the concrete wall. Could it get any safer? Maybe if the wall was made out of titanium in stead.
A few months ago I saw a documentary about cycling. I haven't really been paying close attention at that time. Anyway, it made reference of the Netherlands and Denmark being the top nations when it comes to cycling culture. They explained that both countries have the biggest % of employers going to their jobs per bike and they stated that the services with regards to the bicycle paths (winter road maintenance, repairing cracks in the asphalt, upgrading dirt-roads, and so forth) are the best in Europe.

This fact puts Denmark higher in the list of Countries I'd Like to Cycle (CILC's).


Aaaanywho, I'll give you some instructions and tips on how to plan a bike-tour across Holland. I think it makes sense to plan a semi-circular tour in the Netherlands first. Afterwards, we can plan a tour through the Netherlands to another country. It makes some sense to separate these 2 things, as the resources used might be different.

Cycling in the Netherlands

Resources needed:
To determine where to go, I'd have to ask a question: Why the Netherlands?
  1. Canals, old cities, art
  2. Visiting a relative?
  3. Beach, Dunes, nature
  4. Party, coffeeshops, red light district
  5. Just travelling through Holland on my way to Belgium/Germany/UK

Cycling from Amsterdam

The odds are big that you are arriving or going to Amsterdam. For that reason, I will explain how to use a map from the Dutch website of the bicycle association using Amsterdam as a startingpoint.
  1. Open this link: Nederlandfietsland.nl (this is a Dutch site) Fietsrouteplanner
  2. On the left you see the 'planner', where you can enter a city in the second field ('Amsterdam') and a street in the first field. You can also pick the trainstation in the first field by clicking the arrow and choosing the 3rd option on the popup ("Ingang treinstation").

    Dutch bike route
    From Amsterdam to Leeuwarden via Lelystad.
  3. If you press "Bereken de route", which means calculate the route, you'll get some cool statistics regarding the route.
    LF routes holland cool
    160 km trip from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden. Better do this in 2 hops.

Cycling the LF routes

  1. Go to this website: http://www.nederlandfietsland.nl/en/long-distance-cycle-routes/gps-tracks 
  2. Here you can find a list of all LF routes with GPS tracks

Biking from the Netherlands to another country

If you are planning a long-distance bicycle tour from the Netherlands (going to another country), you'll have to do some research with regards to the path to the other country you'll take.

More info coming soon!
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