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  1. #1
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    Cycling in the Netherlands?

    I'm all set to go cycling in the Netherlands in September but I have questions.

    1. Should I fly my own bike over there or rent one while I'm over there? I'm thinking of flying the Cannondale R700 over there. I'm worried about its suitability as a touring bike. More importantly, I'm worried about bicycle thief. I heard that's really bad in the Netherlands. I don't want to be tied down by worries over my bike while I'm over there.
    2. If I do fly my bike over there, which airline should I use and how expensive is it to fly a bike over there? We'll have be making a few days stop in Iceland at the beginning. The Iceland part isn't cycling related though.
    3. How available is the "Friends of Bicycle" network? Can we rely on being able to find lodging through them?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    from the US/living in NL. I fly back and forth with my bike all the time.

    btw - what part of you question is specific to cycling in the netherlands?
    Last edited by botto; 06-19-06 at 02:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    If you're touring, take your own bike always.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    from the US/living in NL. I fly back and forth with my bike all the time.

    btw - what part of you question is specific to cycling in the netherlands?
    I've read that bicycle thief is very common in Netherlands, so much so that people lock their bikes with two locks. I don't want to be tied to my bike when I'm in the city. Also, how difficult and expensive is it to fly a bike over there?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Scottish Canuck in the US blue_nose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose51
    I've read that bicycle thief is very common in Netherlands
    While that may be true (not sure) you also have to consider that just about everybody in the country rides a bike. It really is unbelievable. If there are more bike thefts there, it’s just because there are bikes everywhere. I just came back from a business trip to Rotterdam and Amsterdam and could not believe how many people ride bikes in NL. It’s just incredible. Check out this picture from the Amsterdam Central train station. They literally have a gigantic two storey parking garage for bikes. Kind of hard to tell from this picture, but there must by thousands of bikes in the background.

    I did notice that just about every bike was locked up with a heavy duty chain / lock.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose51
    I've read that bicycle thief is very common in Netherlands, so much so that people lock their bikes with two locks. I don't want to be tied to my bike when I'm in the city. Also, how difficult and expensive is it to fly a bike over there? Thanks.
    As Blue Nose noted, should it be a surprise that there are bike theifs in a country where everyone has a bike? Percentage wise it's no different than anywhere else.

    What kind of bike are you thinking of bringing over? Surely not a road bike, if you're planning on locking it up on the street?

    As far as the pros/cons/how-to's of flying with your bike, well... the search engine is your friend, use it

    http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=2558202

  7. #7
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose51
    I've read that bicycle thief is very common in Netherlands, so much so that people lock their bikes with two locks. Thanks.
    Doesn't everybody do that?

  8. #8
    cyclotourist
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    Netherlands is wonderful for cycling.

    In Amsterdam and the big cities I kept my bike at the hotel, they all were very accomodating.
    In campgrounds I locked it to a tree or whatever I could find. I didn't worry about it.

    I flew airtransat and the bike was free to transport, it went over without any cover - Transat did not have any plastic bags at the airport, and one tire and tube needed to be replaced in Amsterdam. I think it must have been rubbing against something in the cargo hold.

    On the return all bikes have to be boxed from Schiphol airport, KLM and Menzies both sell bike boxes, the price was steep around 20 euros if I remember correctly. And no tape to secure it, make sure you have tape.

    I didn't try the vrienden op de fiets, but it sounds like a good idea. Most of the VVVs will find a B&B for you, the one in Kampen went to extraordinary lengths to find me a place to stay. When I suggested I could look for a hotel, they told me it was too expensive and kept calling until they found me a place.
    (It was pouring rain at the time and I didn't want to camp)

    It was a great trip, I may go back and include northern Belgium this fall.

    Pictures are here

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Comatose51:

    Airlines will charge you $80 per leg to take a standard bike, another $20 if you use one of their boxes. If you stop in Iceland and it's not considered part of a non-stop flight, you're looking at $360 right there. The bike will also be in oversize luggage, which in some cases can cause additional problems.

    I recommend you pick up a folding bike for this trip. I did a week in Belgium using a $300 Dahon and it worked out very well. 20" wheeled folding bikes can pack into a large suitcase, and as long as it's under 50 lbs you won't get charged extra. You can keep the bike with you at almost all times, and hotels were happy to store the folded-up bike for me. You can opt for something like a Downtube, if you want a bit of suspension for all the cobblestones in those quaint European villages. And when you're done with the trip, you've got a spare bike that takes up almost no space in the garage.


    If that doesn't suit your fancy, then for what my opinion is worth: Any bike that you can comfortably ride for 40+ miles a day with your panniers is good enough for touring. If you have skinny slick tires, you might want to use a wider kevlar tire with a little bit of tread for the tour. The Netherlands is flat and has tons of paved cycling routes, so really just about any bike will do.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, I've calculated the cost of flying my bike over and it would be $300+!

    Can I rent a decent bike in the Netherlands for 10 days?

    I was initially of thinking taking my road bike, a Cannondale R700 over but that doesn't seen like a good idea.

  11. #11
    nm+
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    Fly UAL. Bike is considered a piece of luggage on international flights. If its your 3rd piece you just get a standard excess baggage charge. I believe this is standard on all star allaince flights. Be sure to call ahead and reserve space for your bike.
    Bicycling in the netherlands is so cool, you're off the road most of thye time outdside of cities and drivers are excellent.
    Security is only really an issue in urban areas. Get a room in urban areas, esp Amerstdam, and just keep your bike there. Public transit and walking is all you need in Dutch cities. In rural areas I just locked with a cable, no issues.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
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  12. #12
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    Would I be able to rent decent touring bike for 10 days in Amsterdam?

  13. #13
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    45 - 65 euros for a week. 1st link on "rent bicycle amsterdam" via Google.

    I think most folks here would rather bring their own, but if it's too much of a pain and you don't mind a rental, then you might as well go for it. It's up to you whether "bringing the bike" or "dealing with a rental" is the bigger hassle, you'll have a good time either way.

    Again, the Netherlands is flat as a board, so you can ride anything there. Just take your measurements on your best-fitting bike, and contact the rental shop in advance to make a reservation.

    p.s. try to spend a day or so in Bruges, in northern Belgium. Damme is a fabulous place to ride....

  14. #14
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    It has been a number of years since I've been in Netherlands, but I'm going in the spring. There is a North Sea Route which covers a number of countries including the coast of Netherlands. I love this site.

    It has recently been upgraded and I notice there are a few flaws currently but they have added a feature where you can build your own itinery.

    Sustrans also has a North Sea Route map book.

    I hope this helps.

  15. #15
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    It has been a number of years since I've been in Netherlands, but I'm going in the spring. There is a North Sea Route which covers a number of countries including the coast of Netherlands. I love this site.

    It has recently been upgraded and I notice there are a few flaws currently but they have added a feature where you can build your own itinery.

    Sustrans also has a North Sea Route map book.

    I hope this helps.

  16. #16
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    After watching this I want to go to. Plus it's where all my ancestors came from.

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