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Old 11-04-07, 06:21 PM   #1
Tacfarinas
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what kind of bike in holland

This isn't a proper touring question, but: my family and I are planning to go back to Holland next summer. We'll mostly be in one place (and can store the bikes inside the house), and will be biking as much in the cities as on long hauls. My first instinct is that we should just bring our road bikes, and some big Kryptonite locks, and hope for the best. Or we could bring our hybrids; and big locks, and we would be less sad if the hybrids got stolen. OR we could guy folding bikes, which have the advantage of being free and cheap on the trains.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? When we were in Holland this past summer I was struck by how nondescript almost all the bikes were, so that som really nice bikes (road, hybrid or folding) might just be asking to get stolen, and certainly everyone seems very aware of bicycle theft. Last summer we rented bikes, but those bikes were really uncomfortable and it wasn't easy to find ones small enough for the children.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:23 AM   #2
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If comfort is a factor, my opinion is to take the bikes you are most familiar and comfortable with for the style of riding you intend to do.

I toured Holland in 2003 and, while I camped, I didn't feel that my bike was threatened by theft at any time, even though I use a relatively lightweight lock, that often I didn't use (but usually when the bike was fully loaded). Same this year in Belgium and France. The Dutch use their own style of bike for utilitarian, short-haul purposes, and in 2003, it was very unusual to see a diamond-frame road or mountain bike... a little less so in Belgium this time around.

I think it comes down to employing the same security techniques you use at home -- lock, supervision, conspicious place, avoid answering questions about where you are going, and maybe even applying odd colours of insulation tape at various locations on the frame to make it look a little more tatty.
I get the impression that the incidence of theft in Holland is more to do with the convenience factor rather than targetting particular styles or quality of bikes. But then, attitudes might have change in four years.
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Old 11-05-07, 07:51 AM   #3
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I was in Netherlands and Belgium last year.
In Amsterdam and Haarlem there were secure indoor bike parking. It was free during the day and about 50 cents over night.

I'm one who always carries two locks and I did the same in Europe. I've got a Stock lock and a wire coil. I always lock to a non-moveable object and fasten wheels and panniers together.

I totally agree that Dutch bikes don't look like much, but I got passed by more than one on a cobblestone road.
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Old 11-05-07, 08:29 AM   #4
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Definitely opt for fenders of some sort. They work wonderfully on a rambling ride!
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Old 11-05-07, 09:25 AM   #5
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FWIW, I spent a week in Belgium with a 20" folding bike (a Dahon). It worked pretty well, and (in Belgium at least) you can bring a folded bike onto the train, no problems.

However, many cities (like Ghent and Bruges) have lots of cobblestone streets, which are brutal if you're riding on 20" (or smaller) wheels.

If you know that most of the time you will be on smooth pavement, and speed is not a huge issue, consider a Brompton. Very small and clean fold, has suspension, internal hub for minimal maintenance, has built-in racks. It will perform about the same as a hybrid, maybe a little bit slower.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:07 PM   #6
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I have rented bicycles and toured parts of Holland, and I would not do it again on a standard-issue Dutch bike. Yes, Holland is a relatively flat country, but based on one experience, I would opt for a bike with low gears and low riding positions. On my tour, the winds blowing off the sea stopped me in my tracks! What a frustrating and exhausting day.

Next time I visit the Netherlands I will bring a bike with granny gears and drop handlebars. And I will carry a strong lock for the cities.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:44 PM   #7
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If you are going on day trips, you might not need a folding bike if you are returning on your wheels, and not the train wheels. The trains we took in the Netherlands accepted bikes, so, that also shouldn't be an issue. You have to look for a) times of the day if/when bikes are not allowed (peak times) and b) you have to put your bike on the car that allows bikes---designated by a bike symbol (a drawing of a bike).
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Old 11-05-07, 03:39 PM   #8
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Where are you traveling from?
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Old 11-05-07, 06:05 PM   #9
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The trains we took in the Netherlands accepted bikes, so, that also shouldn't be an issue.
Do they charge you, by the way? In Belgium you can take a full-sized bike on a train at any time, for 6 Euros.
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Old 11-05-07, 07:03 PM   #10
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Do they charge you, by the way? In Belgium you can take a full-sized bike on a train at any time, for 6 Euros.
I think so. I used mostly the train from the airport to Amsterdam.
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Old 11-05-07, 10:03 PM   #11
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This is my favorite Dutch bike!

I bought it used after the previous owner had toured across the States with it. It came with a set of huge panniers and a "trunk" bag for the top of the rack. I also added a B.O.B. trailer for extra cargo room.
It has rear suspension and with the flick of 3 quick releases, it breaks down to fit behind the seats in a Cessna.

I know it's not a "standard" Dutch bike, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
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Old 11-09-07, 03:41 PM   #12
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Do they charge you, by the way? In Belgium you can take a full-sized bike on a train at any time, for 6 Euros.
yep.
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