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Cycling Thru Holland 2009
Old 05-31-2009, 01:52 AM   #1
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Cycling Thru Holland 2009

I just returned from a bike and barge tour of Southern Holland. What an incredible experience that was! 17 folks, between the ages of 49-65+, biking 25-40 miles per day, mostly on flat ground periodically in the rain and one day of incredible winds. We were well matched in cycling skills and had a grand time. Even though I am recovering from a painful back injury, I did amazingly well. My only regret is not upgrading our seats on the flights from coach. It was very painful on my back and leg. Does anyone have experience on cycling thru Holland or other United States cycling tours without a lot of hill-climbing?
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:28 AM   #2
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I just returned from a bike and barge tour of Southern Holland. What an incredible experience that was! 17 folks, between the ages of 49-65+, biking 25-40 miles per day, mostly on flat ground periodically in the rain and one day of incredible winds. We were well matched in cycling skills and had a grand time. Even though I am recovering from a painful back injury, I did amazingly well. My only regret is not upgrading our seats on the flights from coach. It was very painful on my back and leg. Does anyone have experience on cycling thru Holland or other United States cycling tours without a lot of hill-climbing?
No, but particularly interested in something like that in the states. After living overseas for 20 years, and having been to more countries than US states, I'm ready to go home and enjoy the sights in my own country (1309 more days to go). I'm up for some hill climbing, but DW will prefer lighter terrain.

Thanks for asking the question as I am also curious about the answers.

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Old 05-31-2009, 05:56 AM   #3
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Try RAGBRAI. - very little hills biking across Iowa. But Iowa can get hot in July. Me, DW, SIL, & SIL's SO did it once and had a blast.

http://ragbrai.com/
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
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I've done southwest France, but it was very hilly.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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Sounds fantastic. Can you post some information about costs of the tour and share some pictures? I have never made it to Holland; but, this sounds like a very interesting way to see the country.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:03 PM   #6
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Sounds fantastic. Can you post some information about costs of the tour and share some pictures? I have never made it to Holland; but, this sounds like a very interesting way to see the country.
It was absolutely the trip of a lifetime. I really didnt expect to be so fascinated by this adventure. The Dutch are quite fluent in English, and extremely warm and friendly, even in busy Amsterdam! We chose www.BikeAndTheLike.com tour company led by a husband and wife who did an excellent job, coupled with the lovely Dutch barge captains making it a wonderful experience. If you go to the website you will see all the US and European tours they offer and their prices. Our tour cost included the bikes, city walking tours, daily meals, and lodging (2 per room and private bathrooms). We are thinking about their Cape Cod bike tour next.

I posted a sampling of the Holland pictures on a photo album on my user page. Its my first photo album, so hopefully you can access it. Let me know if you have a problem.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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I posted a sampling of the Holland pictures on a photo album on my user page. Its my first photo album, so hopefully you can access it. Let me know if you have a problem.
Pictures were great! A friend of mine did a similar tour in Holland and loved it. Hopefully DH and I will be able to do this someday in the future.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:32 PM   #8
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Sounds great! My husband and I will be doing a bike trip around Lake Constance/Bodensee over the 4th of July weekend and I'm told it is mainly flat. Really looking forward to that. It's 180 km over about 4 days.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:58 PM   #9
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Does anyone have experience on cycling thru Holland or other United States cycling tours without a lot of hill-climbing?
I have cycled thru much of the western US and a bit of the east.

My only organized ride was the Bike Across Kansas, across the southern part of the state. About 500 miles, only one hill higher than a couple hundred feet, most days seemed table flat. Warning - northern Kansas is much hillier.

The Central Valley of California is one huge floodplain, hundreds of miles long and completely flat.

The H101 corrider from Paso Robles to Salinas is pretty flat, though there are a few hills. California District 5 puts out and excellent map showing which roads to ride.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Thanks for the link and the pics.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:35 PM   #11
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Thanks for your inputs Simple Girl, Deserat, and CyclingInvestor. It was an amazing trip that I will not soon forget. DH and I are heading to Lake Tahoe next week for the America's Best Ride on June 7th. Its a 72 mile and 100 mile ride. DH and a friend will be doing the 72 miles. Me and another friend will be cheering them on. I am not ready for that type of hill-climbing. Thanks CyclingInvestor for the California cycling info...adding to my wish list!
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:57 PM   #12
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I have done a bike tour in the Lake Champlain region of Vermont and New York using
VBT bicycle tours, bike tours, biking tours, bike trips, cycling tours: Tuscany, Italy, France, Vermont they did a great job and I would use them in other countries as well. Trips like, Costa Rica, book up a year in advance as the groups are small so consider that in your planing.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:08 PM   #13
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DW and I will probably try a bike and Barge tour one of these years. We are going to southern Italy with VBT in October. We already did Spain and Tuscany with VBT. We like the mix of biking accompanied by good food and lodging.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:21 PM   #14
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DW and I will probably try a bike and Barge tour one of these years. We are going to southern Italy with VBT in October. We already did Spain and Tuscany with VBT. We like the mix of biking accompanied by good food and lodging.
Don, would love to hear your take on VBT's Spain and Tuscany tours. Our Holland bike and barge was our first group tour, with its obvious pros and cons.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:40 PM   #15
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Don, would love to hear your take on VBT's Spain and Tuscany tours. Our Holland bike and barge was our first group tour, with its obvious pros and cons.
I thoroughly enjoyed both. I would give Tuscany the edge on both accommodations and food. We added Rome and Venice into the mix so the trip was memorable. In Spain we spent additional time in Seville and Barcelona - Barcelona is a must see city. Our Tuscany trip was "Tuscany by the Sea," which is much easier (i.e. less hills) than the plain ol "Tuscany" tour. We like VBT because they scout out great places to stay and good food and wine. It is more costly than a bare bones or DIY tour but much less than the premium outfits like Butterfield. The VBT tours we have taken have involved very personable groups and great leaders. The participants are all riders but don't tend to be fanatics. Participant ages tend to be 40s, 50s, 60s. My wife and I ride a lot harder at home than we do on these tours - but we have more fun on the tours.

I have photo albums on my family website if you want to see what the trips were like: Tuscany by the Sea; Andalusia in Spain; and "Tuscany by the Rapahannock by my weekend place
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:39 AM   #16
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The Willamette Valley in Oregon has some great scenery, good wine-tasting and relatively flat terrain. I'd think it would make a nice candidate for a bike tour. It's also fairly moderate in temperature, even in the summer -- rarely gets above 85 degrees.

The Paso Robles - Salinas area in California can be very hot in the summer (temperatures above 100 degrees in Paso Robles are not uncommon, with the temperature cooling down as you move towards Salinas), and we've only been in that region once when it wasn't notably windy (my guess is 25-30 mph winds, constantly). We drive that corridor ten or twelve times a year and have for eight years.

California's central valley is HOT in the summer. Spring is probably a much better time to tour around there.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:49 AM   #17
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Thanks Urchina...the Williamette Valley sounds like a good one. I will check it out.
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Cycling in Holland
Old 07-02-2009, 05:14 PM   #18
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Cycling in Holland

My partner and I have cycled the flat lands of Ireland - there really are only moderate hills for the most part; Holland, two times - the centre of the country, the north coast, and next week the eastern border from top to bottom; Luxembourg - a fabulous cycling land, mountains? yes, but well worth the effort (even if you have to walk part of the way up) and river valleys that transport you to another time and a new awareness of peace and tranquility. We don't do organized tours - we just fly to a starting point and travel on the wings of serendipity. I'll post pics when we return.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:58 PM   #19
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I like the idea of these organized rides, with the camaraderie, professional organization, etc. However, when I figure that we can save $1,000 to $2,000 by organizing the ride ourselves (staying in the same hotels, and riding the same routes, and deciding on our own itinerary daily), we always end up on a self-guided tour.

For example, we were going to go on a tour of the San Juan Islands like this one, which would have cost $4,000, but ended up staying at one of the same bed and breakfasts that the tour uses, going on the same routes, and visiting the same attractions. Our total cost, including gas/meals to/from and a few more days of lodging, was $3,100. You can read about our trip here.

I'm not saying the organized tours aren't a good idea, and we'll probably do it sometime (when the stock market recovers). I just have trouble spending that extra organization tax.

BTW, the San Juans are great for biking, and we plan to go there again. Next time, we'll probably just camp.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:27 PM   #20
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Wow, this brings back memories. We did family biking through parts of Holland in the early 1980s. We had those Dutch bikes with fat tires and mud flaps for the rain. I remember the different paths for different vehicles, cars, bikes, pedestrians, and horses. Also remember the nice flat countryside and the "Dutch Alps," which were the sand dunes along the North Sea where the wind blew in your face and it felt like you were climbing the Alps.
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