Touring - Need 2 bikes in Belgium
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03-02-10, 04:00 PM
My wife and I are flying into Brussels for 2 weeks of bike camping in late June. We are going to try and buy 2 used bikes when we get there and sell them in Amsterdam when we fly home. Does this sound like it will work? Do you have any suggestions on how to find 2 good used bikes set up for touring for sale? Any other suggestions on camp grounds of routes would also be great. Cheers scott
03-02-10, 06:46 PM
You need to consider what it is costing you per hour for your vacation and act accordingly. For example, a taxi may seem more expensive than a bus but when you calculate in the cost of your vacation per hour, the cab comes out as the better deal. Unless of course a bus ride is your way to interact with local culture.
Likewise purchasing a bike is going to be an expensive activity, unless you do your homework ahead time. You will need to know exactly where to purchase the bikes and if they will have an appropriate model and size in stock. Multiply that by two and you problems double.
Then you still need to sell. Bikes are a dime a dozen in Amsterdam (ok maybe more like a couple hundred bucks per dozen :)). And you buyer (if you find one) will see you coming and you will not get anywhere near what you want.
If you want to buy then cut half of the hassle and buy a cheap Walmart bike. On arrival to Amsterdam donate the bike to a church or charitable organization.
Overall you are better off taking your bike IMHO.
BTW I love Harpers Ferry. We stayed overnight on our trip from Pittsburgh to DC.
Trying to buy two bikes that will get you from Brussels to Amsterdam and trying to sell them in Amsterdam will eat up a big chunk of your two weeks vacation. Shop around for a decent airfare with an airline that doesn't charge too much to carry your bikes. Do you have to fly to Brussels or are their other places you could fly into and out of?
Instead of camping, consider youth hostels. There are tons of hostels in Belgium and the Netherlands, most of them provide cooking facilities and aren't that much more expensive than campgrounds. Camping in Europe is getting harder and harder to do, especially in crowded countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. Leaving your camping gear at home will simplify traveling, let you cover more ground on your bikes, and generally make life easier. Camping gear makes more sense on a longer trip, in my opinion. I've camped on a couple of trips to Europe and relied strictly on hostels on other trips. Both methods have their advantages, but my vote would be to leave the camping gear at home for two weeks in northern Europe.
03-02-10, 11:21 PM
If you are at all in the market for a new bike, it could be worth just buying new. You can get the VAT back (about 19%) and European-made bikes will be cheaper here than in the US so this can translate into some nice savings. Think about this for Ortlieb panniers as well, if you need some.
There are plenty of used bikes around but if Belgium is anything like Holland (and it may not be but I can only give you the Dutch experience) there is a steady demand for them and prices are surprisingly high. You're looking at 150 euros and up for a used bike (occasionally you see one for 100 euros) and they are not usually set up for touring.
They may be single or 3-speed, heavy bikes in the sit-up-straight Grandma style or just an old mountain bike. The saddle will be terrible. On the upside, they usually have dynamos and a back rack. And wouldn't it be fun to do a 2 week tour of Europe on an Oma Fiets (Grandma Bike??) :)
You will be able to resell your bike in Amsterdam, no problem. Just go to any bike shop selling 2nd hand bikes (there are plenty near Central Station) but what you'll get for it, who knows...
Campgrounds here often have little huts you can stay in, so that's worth trying. You may not need to bring the tent at all.
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