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  1. #1
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Bike Friendly Rides in Europe. Denmark, Italy, Paris. Ideas? Reasonable Accomodations

    My Fiancee and I are looking to take off for Paris, Italy, and Amsterdam. Early July as a honeymoon...goal is 1 week each country. I figure if we are going and dont want to be too rushed...we should stay at least a week.

    We are open to where in those location, but also want the most bike friendly and pedestrain friendly areas to visit that these or other European countries can offer.

    We have a friend in Florence that might host a few days for us. Otherwise we would like to travel to nearby Italian origins to Florence perhaps as well during out week in Italy.

    Inexpensive places to stay short of sharing rooms at a Hostel...also of interest. B&B's, hotels near fun stuff, etc.

    In terms of bikes: I would love to get a bike in Denmark to bring per train to Italy and Paris after enjoying them there. I have heard of buying last years models for a good price at bike shops. We would love to get a set of Gazelle Impalla's or similar modern Dutch bikes to take home after our 3 week trip. Have a bike shop in Italy pack them up for us for our flight.

    We have looked into Craigs list for house swaps. My Mom has property in Loreto, Baja Mexico she rents out. It would be nice to swap with someone in fab locations where we could enjoy culture and history at these countries, we just do not know much about swapping homes.


    Anyone have recommendations?

    Happy New Yr!

    Kenny
    Last edited by djkenny; 12-31-08 at 11:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Have look through my story of Rowan's and my trip through England, Belgium, and France for some ideas.

    http://www.machka.net/pbp2007/2007_PBP.htm

  3. #3
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
    My Fiancee and I are looking to take off for Paris, Italy, and Amsterdam. Early July as a honeymoon...goal is 1 week each country. I figure if we are going and dont want to be too rushed...we should stay at least a week.

    We are open to where in those location, but also want the most bike friendly and pedestrain friendly areas to visit that these or other European countries can offer.

    We have a friend in Florence that might host a few days for us. Otherwise we would like to travel to nearby Italian origins to Florence perhaps as well during out week in Italy.

    Inexpensive places to stay short of sharing rooms at a Hostel...also of interest. B&B's, hotels near fun stuff, etc.

    In terms of bikes: I would love to get a bike in Denmark to bring per train to Italy and Paris after enjoying them there. I have heard of buying last years models for a good price at bike shops. We would love to get a set of Gazelle Impalla's or similar modern Dutch bikes to take home after our 3 week trip. Have a bike shop in Italy pack them up for us for our flight.

    We have looked into Craigs list for house swaps. My Mom has property in Loreto, Baja Mexico she rents out. It would be nice to swap with someone in fab locations where we could enjoy culture and history at these countries, we just do not know much about swapping homes.


    Anyone have recommendations?

    Happy New Yr!

    Kenny


    Large cities like Amsterdam and Paris are a bit difficult to cycle around in, best bet would be public transport or cabs, that way you would be free to visit all the nice places and not have to worry about the bikes. You can also check to see if they have places to rent bikes.
    Contacting the tourist offices in those places will also get you the best and up to date information on B&B's, Hotels, etc...
    Florence is a great city to visit my wife and I were there spring '07 but again the best way to get around is public transport or cab. We would recomend cycling along the SR222 from Florence to Siena, actualy the whole area is very beautiful to cycle through but mid summer could get hot.
    Don't know much about Denmark but all I've heard was good and are planning a tour there in the future. Again you can get more information by checking out some cycling journals at www.crazyguyonabike.com or contacting the local tourist offices.
    Best of luck on your Honeymoon and the New Year
    Last edited by xilios; 01-01-09 at 03:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Bike touring webrarian
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    If you don't mind staying with people you don't know, check out www.couchsurfing.com and www.hospitalityclub.org. Both sites are free to join and offer thousands of potential places to stay.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    For the French portion.. I'd pick up either "Cycling in France,' by Ulysses Books or Lonely Planet's "Cycling France." They outline some great tours..Closest to Paris is the Loire Valley and a chance to see all it's magnificent chateaus... Italy.. Definitely most bike friendly and scenic is Tuscany. Unless you want some mountain climbs, head to the Italian Lake district and ascend the nearby Alps..
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  6. #6
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Italy is reasonably biker friendly outside of the large cities. Large cities are very difficult to bike through. Narrow streets, cobbled streets and crazy drivers.

    I would recommend the lake district as above. Though pick your roads carefully. Roads around the lake can be very busy depending on the time on the year.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  7. #7
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    Taken as a whole, Europe is wonderful for bicycles. In contrast with the USA, the bicycle is an accepted form of transportation in cities.

    Most cities and large towns have campgrounds, often in locations that are convenient for tourists who want to be near the center of town. Areas that are tourist destinations generally have many independent, moderately priced lodging options, such as guest houses, bed-and-breakfasts, hostels, small hotels. Many are family friendly.

    European cities are often densely populated, but they are compact and have efficient public transportation systems that mostly accommodate bikes well. European cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna, Prague, the list goes on and on ... are innovators in bicycle transportation, creating new bike routes, storage and parking options, bike sharing programs, and more.

    I often recommend Europe for brand new bicycle tourers, rather than America.

    The one caveat is that "developing" areas of Europe, countries that are catching up with the economic leaders of Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland, etc.), often have not had the time to create great infrastructure.

    Howard

  8. #8
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    I don't know about buying a bicycle in Europe, it's going to be more than you'd pay for an equivalent bike in the states. Deal, or not, you're still going to pay high VAT. It's 20% here in Italy.

    That being said, I live in Northern Italy, a bit over an hour north of Venice. Cycling is great here, but I agree that the larger cities can be pretty hectic, and the drivers are scary.

    1 week per location isn't that long to see sights in Paris, Italy and the like. You'll be busy, even without a cycle.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    hard to bicycle in amsterdam? With all those bike paths?? EVERYONE bicycles in amsterdam, what makes it hard? I rented a bike there and had a great time... of course it was a junker, no need to worry about it being locked up for a while
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
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  10. #10
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    Should we consider Amsterdam in the end...buy the bike that last week and take it on the plane? Then we wouldnt have to lug it around in the other countries?

    I would love to push for another week. My fiancee teaches, and I am not sure we will want to be back just a day or 2 before the new school year commences. That is why we were looking at 3 weeks instead of a full month.

  11. #11
    My tank takes chocolate. FlowerBlossom's Avatar
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    The problem with riding in Amsterdam for me wasn't the riding, it was the bike-parking. You cannot park your bike outside for any instant. It will be stripped of anything valuable. Especially fancy-schmancy touring bikes with more than 3 gears and what-not. And, not necessarily in only Amsterdam is this true.

    Luckily, where I was staying, there was inside bike-storage, but still had to lock bikes once they were inside.

    In the end, we walked everywhere or took public transportation, and didn't bother riding in Amsterdam. We rode bike only to get out of Amsterdam.
    Feminism is the profound notion that women are human beings.

  12. #12
    Senior Member djkenny's Avatar
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    How might the Netherlands compare to Amsterdam? I see that Sweden is very close...and that is a country I wouldnt mind staying a couple days in.

    The theft is a concern. I really wanted to bike around, but I guess it might depend on where we stay and what type of storage they have. taking a original newer style Dutch bike home afterward was also something I was looking forward to.

  13. #13
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    Sweden is very nice for cycling, I've been there two summers in a row :-) Friendly drivers(mostly), bike theft is fairly low outside cities and camping is free basically anywhere as long as you respect the landowners privacy and don't leave a mess. I'd recommend taking the train from Copenhagen and bring your bike (outside of rush hours), and ride around southern Sweden for a few days, beautiful landscape and friendly people.

  14. #14
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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    Paris has the velib scheme for cheap bike hire. Three weeks will be a nice holiday but as others have said don't expect to see it all, you'll be very busy running around and then traveling between all the places you want to go. I'd just hire bikes in the cities / town I was going to on a day today basis if I were you.
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