Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Europe family bike trip for novices

    Right now no one in my family even owns a bicycle, although I just bought one off ebay. We live in a terrible town for bike riding because of hills and no bike trails, so the fact is that we aren't going to be avid cyclists here at home.

    I want to take a family bike trip in Europe. I did this as a teen, and my experience was that as long as it's flat, it's easy. It will likely be me, my wife and our two children, aged 13 and 12, although my wife will have to leave us after about 10 days. That work thing.

    I'm going to share very tentative trip plans, just so I can get an answer to my question, which is coming. My thinking is that we will fly into Munich perhaps, spend a couple of days, then train to Saarbrucken, Germany. From there, bike up the Sarr and then the Mosel to perhaps Cochem. I don't know whether we will tackle any of the Rhine. Then we will take a train to Ulm or Regensburg and then down the Danube through Vienna and Bratislava to Budapest. Then train back to Munich to go home. I figure we can do a very leisurely 15 to 30 miles a day. I had entertained the idea of camping, but we will stay in family-friendly hostels or other places, as I don't want the weight of a tent and sleeping bags.

    Now for my question. I welcome any advice about the above, but I don't know what to do about a bike.

    Option one (preferred by me): Buy a small folding bike such as Citizen Tokyo that I can put in suitcase. Leave suitcases at bell desk at hotel, tour, then return and repack pack and come home.

    Option two: Buy a cheap bike after we get to Europe and then dump it at the end of the trip (the price to bring a bike home is more than we want to spend on a bike to being with). The question is where would we find cheap bike and how much would it cost?

    Option three: Rent a bike in Europe.

    Obviously all three have advantages and disadvantages. My only real problem with the folding bike is that it may be hard to get panniers big enough to hold our stuff but small enough not to drag the ground or hit our heels. I also worry that a rental bike might be a piece.

    The folding bike would have the advantage of getting on trains easily, but my guess is with a little more work we can get any bike on a train.

    Any thoughts any of you might have are welcome and solicited!

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,666
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by EarlVanDorn View Post
    Right now no one in my family even owns a bicycle, although I just bought one off ebay. We live in a terrible town for bike riding because of hills and no bike trails, so the fact is that we aren't going to be avid cyclists here at home.
    If you're going to tour Europe, it would be a good idea to get used to the hills and riding on roads now. Get a bicycle for each member of your family now, and start riding as soon as possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by EarlVanDorn View Post
    I want to take a family bike trip in Europe. I did this as a teen, and my experience was that as long as it's flat, it's easy. It will likely be me, my wife and our two children, aged 13 and 12, although my wife will have to leave us after about 10 days. That work thing.
    Flat isn't necessarily easy, especially if there is wind ... which there often is when it is flat.

    And Europe isn't particularly flat. Some parts of it are ... but some parts are quite hilly.


    Quote Originally Posted by EarlVanDorn View Post
    I'm going to share very tentative trip plans, just so I can get an answer to my question, which is coming. My thinking is that we will fly into Munich perhaps, spend a couple of days, then train to Saarbrucken, Germany. From there, bike up the Sarr and then the Mosel to perhaps Cochem. I don't know whether we will tackle any of the Rhine. Then we will take a train to Ulm or Regensburg and then down the Danube through Vienna and Bratislava to Budapest. Then train back to Munich to go home. I figure we can do a very leisurely 15 to 30 miles a day. I had entertained the idea of camping, but we will stay in family-friendly hostels or other places, as I don't want the weight of a tent and sleeping bags.
    The distance sounds reasonable with your current cycling experience.

    Have you checked the terrain of your route?

  3. #3
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    England
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, 2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    Posts
    3,709
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    And Europe isn't particularly flat. Some parts of it are ... but some parts are quite hilly.
    Big +1 to this. Holland is mostly flat but we also have a few mountain ranges in Europe (the Alps being just one example).
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The Hague, Netherlands
    My Bikes
    Two Robin Mather custom built tourers
    Posts
    548
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would not buy a cheap bike when you get here. You're only going to waste precious vacation days trying to find (and then sell) your bikes...

    On the other hand, if you don't already have bikes you might want to buy some decent bikes here in Europe and then take them home with you. Remember that you can reclaim the VAT (sales tax) and save quite a bit of money!

    http://travellingtwo.com/resources/s...e-touring-gear

    If you do a very popular route like the Danube bicycle path, it will also be easy to rent a bike.

    Most trains in Germany will take normal bikes. You just can't take the fast ICE trains. Of course, folding bikes will give you total flexibility and save you a lot on airline fees getting to / from Europe!
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  5. #5
    Lao
    Lao is offline
    Senior Member Lao's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    My Bikes
    Brompton M6L 2011
    Posts
    135
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you are considering a folding bike I think Bike Friday (and maybe elsewhere as well) builds carriers from suitcases. You can put the bike in the case while travelling and have the rest in your carry on luggage. When you go biking you can put your carry on luggage in the suitcase. Also, if you are a bit handy you can make one yourself.
    "When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Have you checked the terrain of your route?
    While the route I mentioned isn't set in stone, it is a flat route that hugs the riverside. I think both have slight drops, say 300 or so feet over several days. I don't think that will make any difference, but I suppose it is better to go slightly downhill than slightly uphill. I found a German tourist biking guide that lists about 60 routes in that county and then rates them and marks whether they are completely flat, or flat with some hills, or with steep hills. I'm going to go for a completely flat route, both for ease of biking and because I just think the river routes will be more rewarding.

  7. #7
    Je pose, donc je suis.
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back. Here.
    Posts
    2,894
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As a starting point, renting a bike for a week will cost somewhere up to 100 euro, maybe 300 euro for the month. Most rentals will be decent bikes.

    The hassle and expense of buying a decent enough bike to tour on and then dumping it wouldn't be worth it, unless you could manage to arrange the purchase before you got there.

    I like the idea of buying a Bike Friday, but do you need four? That's an awful lot of investment.

    As for the route, stick to the rivers and avoid those large, looming snow-covered peaks, and you'll be alright.

    Now for lodging: with a 15-30 mile radius, you might be limited in what you can find in the next town. Most decent sized towns have a tourist information office, and they'll arrange lodging (if you get there before they close at 5 or 6), but you'll likely be paying 50-100 euro/night (?) for a family of four. Your bike costs will pale in comparison.

    All together, the way I'd do it is rent a decent set of bikes, take camping gear (you carry the heavy stuff, assuming you're the strongest), and hit a hostel every few nights for family harmony.

  8. #8
    djb
    djb is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Montreal Canada
    Posts
    3,450
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    while I cannot give specific advice about your route, friends of ours once biked with a toddler in Germany and as you most likely know from your guide, there are many bike trails that follow rivers and would be very nice for a family trip (not in traffic, relatively flat etc)

    As parents, we know that the key to an enjoyable family thing like this involving the physical aspect, is that it is fun for everyone. As you say, part of that will be the planning (safe road, bike paths etc) but also a big part as others have stated is that you slowly get the family out biking. Doesnt really matter on what bikes at this point, but with short fun bike rides (to the ice cream store or whatever) and building up in time on bike--and ALWAYS have snacks, drinks.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    I like the idea of buying a Bike Friday, but do you need four? That's an awful lot of investment.
    I'm actually looking at the Citizen Tokyo bike. After shipping and adding a spring seat and rack the cost is $260. I'm also keeping a close eye on ebay and Craigslist. The Tokyo looks like it will fit in a large suitcase. I just bought an older Dahon Stowaway folder off eBay for $79. My niece picked it up for me and I haven't inspected it. Whether or not I will want to take a long trip on it remains to be seen. I'm going to get it looked at by the bike shop (across street from my house!) and decide from there. I'm just absolutely not interested in making a big investment in a nice bike until I spend some time on a cheaper one.

    I was leaning towards the folders when I made my original post, and I guess I still am, just from an overall cost-effectiveness basis. If it were the old days and they would let me fly a bike over for free, I'd be getting a full-sized bike and doing that.

  10. #10
    Lao
    Lao is offline
    Senior Member Lao's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    My Bikes
    Brompton M6L 2011
    Posts
    135
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    I like the idea of buying a Bike Friday, but do you need four? That's an awful lot of investment.
    If you got that from me, I just meant getting a suitcase/carrier like they make (I think?), not whole bikes.

    Dahon Curve XL/SL might also be an alternative to the Citizen Tokyo but they may be a bit too expensive, look around on Craigslist. If you can do with a 3 speed you can look for Dahon Curve D3. I'm not sure but I think Mezzo folds quite small as well (no idea about prices though).
    "When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Frisco, CO
    My Bikes
    '93 Bridgestone MB-3, '88 Marinoni road bike, '00 Marinoni Piuma, '01 Riv A/R
    Posts
    1,058
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    regarding option 1, a good folding bike is going to cost at least as much as a non-folder of comparable quality, maybe a touch more. Also, airline baggage regulations are such that the folder in its suitcase would attract an extra charge as a second (or 3rd) piece of luggage, which could start to add up.

    Regarding option 2, bikes in Europe probably cost at least as much as bikes in the US, for a given quality level. How much of your vacation do you want to spend shopping for bicycles??

    With options 1 and 2, you'll have 4 bicycles to drag around on all those train journeys you have planned. sure, German trains are pretty bicycle friendly, but do you really want four more pieces of luggage? And even German trains have a limit to how many bicycles they can carry. What happens when another group of four has already taken up all the bicycle spaces?

    Option 3: If you rent a bike, it's there when you need it and you give it back when you don't need it. If the rental bikes in one place look like junk, rent from someone else. If the bike breaks, take it back. For the level of bicycling experience that you and your family appear to have, this really looks like a good option.

    Lots of people tour the river valleys that you describe by taking the bus or train upstream, and riding the bicycles back. This lets you stay in one set of lodgings for a couple of nights at a time, and eliminates having to drag all your stuff around. Given your family's relative lack of experience on bicycles this could be an easy introduction to cycle touring.

    I would strongly suggest trying to spend some time on bicycles before you leave, and if possible getting used to riding in traffic to the extent that it's practical in your area. That way you can spend your time enjoying the sights, instead of trying to figure out how the gears, brakes, etc. work on your bikes. Also, German drivers are fairly courteous to cyclists, but traffic can be heavy, roads are frequently not up to US standards, and you will be expected to know the rules of the road.

    If you're flying into Munich, why not head down to Salzburg? I know, I know, it's not Germany but they do speak a version of German, and the Salzkammergut (lakes region around Salzburg) is a spectacular place to ride. There are bicycle paths everywhere, the scenery is excellent, and there's a surprising amount of easy cycling terrain. Take the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn from Zell am See to Krimml, then ride back downhill through the Pinzgau river valley to Zell am See. If you're feeling ambitious, you can continue on through Maria Alm, Lofer and back to Salzburg, all on bicycle paths and very quiet roads.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia area, Pa., USA
    My Bikes
    Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion OR Co-Pilot, Co-Motion Nor'wester Co-Pilot, C'dale F2000
    Posts
    615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We've done a fair bit of bike touring in Germany and Austria, and may be doing a Danube tour with our seven-year-old son this summer. I've put together two bike-related web pages that may help you some. One has info about taking bikes on trains in Germany and Austria, the other has hints on finding B&Bs and other overnight lodgings.

    In general I think your overall idea is sound, and your family should easily be able to do 15-30 miles on the river routes. I've ridden the Danube route between Passau and Vienna probably 5-6 times and always see a very wide range of ages riding just about every type of bike imaginable. I would, however, try to minimize the use of trains, as loading and unloading four bikes might get old after a while. If you do take trains, try to start your journey at a main station where the train originates, to make it less stressful to get yourselves on board.

    Some other route ideas include:

    1) Fly into MUC, ride the Isar River radweg to the Danube (you can easily get to the Isar directly from the airport by bike), then ride the Danube downstream as far as you want to go/have time for.
    2) Ride the Tauernradweg from Krimml, Austria, to Passau on the Danube and then continue down the Danube. The Tauern has a few hills, but worst case you can walk them (lots of people do). Krimml is kind of a pain to get to, though, and requires several train transfers. But, it's a beautiful ride. I wrote up one of our Tauernradweg tours here: http://www.brianwasson.com/trips/tauern/index.htm
    3) Ride the Innradweg up to the Danube, then on to Vienna on the Danube route.

    Depending when you go, you may need to make lodging reservations ahead of time, or at least the day before. Especially if you are traveling with four people in late July or August when all of Europe is on holiday, too.

    Regarding the bike situation, if you are riding popular routes like the Danube I would consider renting, as there are a number of bike touring outfits that offer plenty of options. It might cost you a bit more, but will be the least hassle. Rent at the beginning, ride to your destination and turn them in. Do your big-city sightseeing, and then train to your next destination without the bike hassle, and rent another set of bikes.

    Buying inexpensive bikes is also a reasonable option, IMO. You can buy fairly low-priced trekking style bikes at big hypermarkets like "Real," which are commonly found surrounding big cities (Wal-Mart sold most of their stores in Germany to Real, as an aside). I know there are several in the Munich area, for example. You can check out the bikes they offer here: http://www.real.de/nc/fahrradfinder.html They show several trekkingbikes for under 200 euro. If you have a German contact that would allow you to have bikes shipped to their house, you might also check out the website http://www.fahrrad.de/. I'm not saying that a 200 euro bike is the greatest, but I'm sure they would be more than adequate for your touring needs. At the end you could simply give them away and probably still end up net-positive compared with shipping a bike over on the airplane. Or, put an ad in the local Craigslist in whatever city you will end up in. This works better in areas with a big expat population, like Frankfurt or Vienna, and Munich to a degree. Or, plan to spend a few days at the end in a big city and post ads in the local hostels, universities, and the like. It would obviously help if you have a local cell phone number to give out (and it's worth getting a prepaid cell phone regardless, as it is invaluable when touring).

    Feel free to e-mail me directly if you have more specific questions. A contact link is on my website listed above.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Northern VT
    My Bikes
    recumbent & upright
    Posts
    1,497
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    IMHO- start everyone riding as soon as possible. Consider the Swift folding bike by xootr - a good balance of features and cost.
    ride long & prosper

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    35,700
    Mentioned
    15 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +1,
    Passau, Germany, to Vienna Austria, is downstream on the banks of the Danube.
    There are regularly scheduled cruises on ferries back up stream to your starting point .

    Lots of family campgrounds and other accommodations to be found..

  15. #15
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    BIkes make great momentos...

    We kept our bikes that we bought in the UK and shipped them home afterwards (to Australia) and they make great reminders of our wonderful days in Europe. We are glad we kept them.

    We found the infrastructure along the Mosel superb and quality campsites aplenty. The kids had no problems completing 35 miles a day (albeit with some help).

    We went for overkill and bought adult bikes that would take all the weight of a family touring and camping for 6 months with school work to boot. Whilst it is easier to ride a bike than get them on or off a train we never had any problems with this. On German trains you book a 'seat' for your train, so just plan ahead a little.

    www.4bikes1tent.org

    Damon

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for all your comments. As you know, planning these things is half the fun! I had essentially ruled out camping, just because a family tent will weigh 12 pounds or so, and then everyone will have to carry a sleeping bag. Plus there's the lost hour setting up and taking down. BUT, it would sure add some flexibility and save some money. As much as I don't like the roads around here, if we're going to try to do any camping we'll need to do a 10-mile overnight trip to see how we handle the load. If we don't camp, it will be mostly or all hostels.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia area, Pa., USA
    My Bikes
    Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion OR Co-Pilot, Co-Motion Nor'wester Co-Pilot, C'dale F2000
    Posts
    615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by django69 View Post
    On German trains you book a 'seat' for your train, so just plan ahead a little.
    This isn't always true. On many (most?) regional trains (regionalbahn or RE) you just show and go. There's always a chance they will be full, but in my experience that has rarely happened, except on holiday weekends or really popular routes (Danube). We travel with a full-sized tandem, and have most always found room for it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    736
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If the expectation is that this will be a one-off event, I think you're best off just renting bikes while you're there.

    If you have an interest in doing more biking at home, then buying a new bike while you're there and paying to bring it home might be a good option. Buying 4 used bikes of adequate quality will take a lot of time to locate and acquire. Buying cheap new bikes is the best way to suck the fun out of a bike trip...they will be substantially harder to ride, no matter the terrain, and are often prone to mechanical failure because of the cheap parts and poor setup.

    I'd only go the folding bike route if you expect to be doing repeated tours involving plane travel. Getting a good folding bike is not a small investment, and some airlines will ding you for carrying a bike, even if it meets their standard luggage size requirements.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Groningen, Netherlands
    My Bikes
    Pre-Grant Peterson Bridgestone Mixte, Gazelle Champion Mondial Semirace Mixte
    Posts
    289
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I live in the Netherlands... so can I suggest your first European trip be a Dutch one?

    The dutch paths are very flat, very well laid out. Renting bikes here is very easy and there are lots of hostels/stacaravans/camping sites. It would be a great first European trip and once you conquer NL, you can conquer the rest of Europe easy.

    Here in NL you can also cheaply take bikes on the trains. It's 7 euros per bike per day. (the card works all day). You can fly into someplace like Schipol, enjoy Amsterdam for a day, then bike out to the ocean and go along the coast etc.

    Bikes here are very cheap to buy second hand. You can buy them off a place like Marktplaats.nl (the Dutch version of eBay). Most bike stores have a good second hand selection as well. Renting is probably easier though. Shipping a bike home is not as expensive as you think if you know how to strip one down. I recently shipped a Gazelle city bike without the wheels for $130.00 I wrote about how I did it here: http://ronajustine.blogspot.com/2011...o-america.html If you pick up a really nice Van Nicholson or Vittorio, it's totally worth it to ship it home.

    If you buy a second hand bike that you don't want to waste time trying to sell it back to a bike store, you can set it in a bike parking garage with the words "Gratis" on it on a small sign. It will get picked up in minutes by someone who will love it.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
    American Expat living in the Netherlands
    Artist, Educator and Cyclist

  20. #20
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,232
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by Rona
    The dutch paths are very flat, very well laid out. Renting bikes here is very easy and there are lots of hostels/stacaravans/camping sites. It would be a great first European trip and once you conquer NL, you can conquer the rest of Europe easy.
    + 1 almost
    The Netherlands is a great place to cycle. We ended a 3 month ride with a 3 week loop around the country. Schipol is a very bike friendly airport. Bike boxes are available at the airport and there is a good space to pack the bikes. There are hotels within easy cycling distance from the airport, and a bike trail leading right to it. It is an excellent place to start or end a European tour.

    This is a theory I developed while riding in some pretty wet and windy conditions:
    The reason The Netherlands does not have hills is becasue they would get in the way of the wind
    What the Netherlands lacks in hills can be made up for with wind.

    Riding in the Netherlands, while really nice, will not prepare you for conquering other parts of Europe with ease. There is significant hill climbing in a lot of the other countries. When we returned home, we actually found that we lost some of our "hill legs" during the 3 weeks in NL. On the 150 mile ride from the Portland Airport to our home in the Willamette Valley, the hills seemed to have gotten steeper while we were gone.

    Have fun---no matter what route you take.
    Last edited by Doug64; 02-13-12 at 06:42 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Groningen, Netherlands
    My Bikes
    Pre-Grant Peterson Bridgestone Mixte, Gazelle Champion Mondial Semirace Mixte
    Posts
    289
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    + 1 almost
    This is a theory I developed while riding in some pretty wet and windy conditions:

    What the Netherlands lacks in hills can be made up for with wind.

    Riding in the Netherlands, while really nice, will not prepare you for conquering other parts of Europe with ease.
    You make a lot of good points! The wind and rain here can really stink... BUT

    For an American family who has never toured in Europe, I still think NL is the easiest to do first. American tourists don't know the languages, don't know the street signs, don't know the rules of the road here. The Netherlands has so many separated bike paths that it's easier for a family with children to learn European touring.

    Bringing my children to live here in NL was certainly a challenge. My children had biked some in America but when they got here, they had to learn whole new signs (Fietsen Overstekken), whole new road culture. Roads are not as wide as in America and in the cities they are packed with pedestrians. It was a big change from biking in state parks in America and on MUPS. Here the kids had to compete with packed bike lanes, pedestrian tourists walking out in front of them, cars and buses that come within feet of them (safely). In America it's crazy drivers behind the wheels of giant SUVs. Here it's well trained drivers behind the wheel of giant buses. Now that my boys have learned NL, I'm confident they could do Belgium, France and England better. NL is a great starting point with kids

    That being said... you are very correct about the mountains. NL will not prepare you for that. My mother in law who's Dutch biked into France and said she will never do it again. Going up hill wasn't bad, but going down the mountains scared her to death. Even with the best disk brakes made at the time her hands hurt from squeezing them the whole time.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
    American Expat living in the Netherlands
    Artist, Educator and Cyclist

  22. #22
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,232
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Posted by Rona
    For an American family who has never toured in Europe, I still think NL is the easiest to do first. American tourists don't know the languages, don't know the street signs, don't know the rules of the road here. The Netherlands has so many separated bike paths that it's easier for a family with children to learn European touring.
    You are absolutely correct. It is a great place to ride, and we will definitely try to visit NL again. My comments above were meant to be more "tongue-in-cheek", not critical.

    P.S. Even the NL is not totally flat. We had daily 2,000 ft cumulative elevation gains riding through the sand dunes on the coast

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    35,700
    Mentioned
    15 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    FWIW, not cheap, but Stevenson Warmlight's hand made 5 person Hoop tents are pretty darned light

    the Golite single pole teepee tent is also really light even in 5 person size,

    (silnylon fabric is about an ounce a square yard)

    but , I suppose there is still the individual's sleeping bag to contend with.

    all .. pension/zimmer and hostels would mean reservations made and kept .. planning.

  24. #24
    FOG
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't want to make anything more complicated than it is already, but here is another option that you might want to consider and that would be a self-guided bicycle tour. This would cost a little more but given your lack of experience it might well be worth it. If things get nasty, your wife and children could make life unbearable for you and I know you want the best of experience for them. I’ve found rentals iffy at best and some of them were downright junky. However, I’ve always had more than satisfactory bicycles from bicycle tour companies.

    Look for a tour company that will give you lots of flexibility and can mention the points of interest along the way. They’re always someone you can call if you run into trouble. If they're flexible enough, they'll accommodate your lodging considerations and choose the best route for you. Your wife and children may appreciate someone hauling all their stuff from one site to the next.

    Have a great time.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    4,854
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by EarlVanDorn View Post
    I figure we can do a very leisurely 15 to 30 miles a day.
    It might pay to do some riding before you go to Europe, if only to gauge your fitness. Cycling over flat ground is pretty easy. Most people of reasonable fitness can average 10-15mph (depending on load). So 15-30 miles of travel might only take an hour or two of riding. I don't think you want riding to turn into a grueling experience, but you might find that you can comfortably cover more ground, and see more sights, by riding a bit further each day...
    Last edited by sstorkel; 02-19-12 at 11:45 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •