Hands down the best place for biking in the world is Holland. 15,000 kilometers or 9300 miles of designated bike paths wind through the cities, along the canals and rivers, through the dunes and across the countryside. Bring your own bike or rent one virtually anywhere including the train station. The flat, no cars allowed paths make for a biker’s paradise.
Detailed bike route maps are available in most train stations and at every visitor’s center or can be obtained on line through Holland.com. Pre-paid barge and bike trips start at around 100 dollars a day. Luxury tours through the quaint countryside villages with nights in castles and spas for a 1000 dollars a day. Make your own tour with a network of reasonable hostels or hotels for as little as 20 dollars a night.
If you are taking your own bike make sure it meets Holland’s bike regulations.
1. Lights on front and back of the bike must be used at night.
2. Reflectors on the spokes of all wheels.
3. Reflectors on front and back of the bike.
4. Reflectors on the pedals.
5. A clear and audible bell.
6. Safe and adequate handle bars.
7. Proper seats or pull buggies for children ten and under.
Items for you should bring.
1. Repair kit for bike including wrenches and patches.
2. Good bike lock
3. Air pump.
4. First aid kit.
Most trains and ferries will accommodate bikes. They usually require a ticket for you and a separate ticket for the bike. Note that bikes are not normally allowed on during rush hour.
Lock your bike. Even if you just plan to pop into the bakery lock your bike. Make use of the guarded bike parking lots if you plan a shopping excursion or are in for the night. The extra expense beats losing your transportation.
Bike rental is cheap and easy in Holland and most shops have everything you need. Get the shop to show you the lock as they are usually factory installed and a little different. Rent a repair kit. Remember whether for one day or one week the bike will have to be returned to the place where it was rented.
There is a lot to see in this fairy tale land. Make sure if designing your own trip to leave time for visiting the local market, flying a kite at the beach, touring a windmill or gazing at a Rembrandt in the local museum. Ride Forest Ride.
During the summer try island hopping (wad hopping) with your bike by sailing ship. Spend the day or take a whole week. A favorite day trip from Amsterdam is the 13 mile ride to Haarlam. This artist colony has an endless array of galleries and shops.
Here are a few words to know before you go courtesy of Holland.com
2. Feits pad bike path
3. Feitsters afstappen-get off the bike
4. Paal in wegdek- obstacle in the road
5. doorgoand- main through route
6. slechtwegdak- bad road condition
7. zachte/gervaarlijke berm- soft or dangerous shoulder.
Wear a Helmut you only have one head and so far they aren’t replaceable. Dress in layers as it may start out pretty nippy in the morning but become drippy by afternoon. Come home only to plan the next trip.
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