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Tandem Riding in Holland ??

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Tandem Riding in Holland ??

Old 10-27-14, 01:20 PM
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bikefor2
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Tandem Riding in Holland ??

We are planning a couple of weeks of tandem riding in and around Holland in 2016 with a few friends. A friend of a friend went on a tour there earlier this year and said that Holland was not tandem friendly because the metal posts set up in the bike lanes at intersections require navigation that is like a slalom course and is difficult on a single bike but impossible on a tandem. They said that in fact it was even tedious to walk the tandem through these posts. Have any of you had similar experience riding in Holland? I gather that these people were trying to follow designated bike lanes or paths, but as those intersected with roads the metal posts were quite problematic, meaning it was very difficult to just ride around in a city or town.
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Old 10-27-14, 01:46 PM
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Touring Forum? I'm no help but interested in the answer. We used to have posts like that on our local bike trails. We finally got them removed and ordinary posts put in. They're trying to prevent bikes from moving into the street while mounted.
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Old 10-27-14, 04:40 PM
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Personally, I dislike touring in Belgium, Holland, and parts of Germany where they have so many designated, separated bike lanes. There is always so much changing of direction, lack of warning for upcoming hazards, poor surfaces, etc, that you can never keep and maintain a decent speed. They are fine for the grandmas going shopping and the kids going to school, but not great for relaxing and enjoying a real bike ride. And of course all of these problems are increased when trying to pilot a tandem, which such paths certainly weren't designed for.

I've actually found Belgium to be significantly better than Holland in this regard - their bike paths are better designed/engineered/built, and so are easier to ride on at a decent speed (25 kph average) than are the Dutch equivalents in general. Even so, I still far prefer countries and regions where bikes are expected to be on the regular roads - that makes life so much simpler and you can ride faster more easily. Having to share the road with motorized vehicles really doesn't bother me.

In terms of safety, it is intersecting traffic that is the biggest hazard, and that probably remains even when the bike path is slightly separated from the roadway. If anything, intersecting traffic is sometimes more of a hazard when riding on separated bike paths than on regular roads because drivers often don't look for traffic on bike paths, but they almost always look for it on the road. IMO, separated bike paths FEEL significantly safer, but in actuality I highly doubt whether there is a real difference in accident rates. Fortunately, in places like Belgium and Holland there are so many cyclists using the bike paths that drivers do have the habit of looking for them all the time, which is a big bonus of riding in such places.
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Old 10-28-14, 12:35 PM
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We're Dutch, and wander: "metal posts set up in the bike lanes"? Why don't we never are bothered by such nuisance? We have, really, made quite a lot of foreign trips but can't say it is better for cycling/tandeming outside the Netherlands. "https://www.nederlandfietsland.nl/en" might help planning your route. look at: "Cycling Daytrips" and when cycling in Holland at "FietsKnoopPunt Routes". One warning: Holland is as flat as a pancake, so if your want to ride 25 Miles per hour,: you better be well prepared and trained!
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Old 10-28-14, 01:42 PM
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We did not do any touring but our riding in Holland was so great we are itching to go back. Never had any problems on posts or paths. Our only problems were language related but that was easy as everyone spoke English anyway.

We rode on roads and paths never a problem.

We did find that in the city you should be prepared to toodle until you get out of whatever city centre you are in. Lights, bikes, pedestrians etc... Once out of urban cores just fly along.
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Old 10-29-14, 06:59 PM
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We were in the Netherlands this summer visiting some friends, and did several day rides on our Santana triplet in both towns and out in the countryside, almost exclusively on their wonderful Fietspads/bike paths. I don't recall any issues with bollards/posts making life difficult for us (and I think riding a 10-foot long triple bike we'd remember :-).

It's a very nice country in which to bike, especially outside the bigger cities. No way I would ride a tandem in Amsterdam, for example.
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Old 10-30-14, 10:07 PM
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While Hollandis 'flat as a pancake' be prepared for LOTS of wind; same goes for Belgian coastal area.
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Old 10-31-14, 08:51 AM
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We've toured extensively in the low countries. Both great for cycling, can't remember any issues with posts, but EVERYWHERE in Belgium is a secret!
We constantly got lost because of lack of signposting on cyclepaths (it's a great place to get lost in anyway!), not an issue in the Netherlands.

When in Belgium we now make sure we have a compass to help decide on direction at unsignposted junctions
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Old 11-14-14, 03:51 PM
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Tandems are not very popular in Holland but even in cities like Amsterdam you will easily get around. The metal posts that you mention indeed do exist here and there, but don't worry, you can usually pass them entirely on the left or the right. We have many "bakfietsen" for kid transport:

Workcycles Bakfiets | Bicycle Belle

and when these metal posts start blocking mothers with kids, I can assure you they will be gone in no time.
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Old 12-02-14, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
While Hollandis 'flat as a pancake' be prepared for LOTS of wind; same goes for Belgian coastal area.
Again Zonatandem is right, however this should not be exaggerated: indeed absolutely windfree is rather seldom, but i estimate (can't find exact figures) that 90-95% of the time the windpower is LESS or EQUAL than 4 Beaufort. Another thing is about riding on a tandem in Amsterdam. This is absolutely safe: there are million of bicycles and bikers in Amsterdam(so everybody including car drivers are used to them) of which the majority do not ride 100% according to the official traffic rules so if you do you are extra safe. Another thing is that (maybe a stupid law) according to the Dutch law by definition in the case of a collision between a bicycle and a car, the car driver will get the blame (and will have to pay for the biker's damage), even if he/she isn't and the biker is without doubt to blame! Even when the biker made an unforgivable mistake such as 'missing' a red sign for instance. Believe me: car drivers are very keen on bikers!
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Old 12-02-14, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by hortan View Post
Again Zonatandem is right, however this should not be exaggerated: indeed absolutely windfree is rather seldom, but i estimate (can't find exact figures) that 90-95% of the time the windpower is LESS or EQUAL than 4 Beaufort. Another thing is about riding on a tandem in Amsterdam. This is absolutely safe: there are million of bicycles and bikers in Amsterdam(so everybody including car drivers are used to them) of which the majority do not ride 100% according to the official traffic rules so if you do you are extra safe. Another thing is that (maybe a stupid law) according to the Dutch law by definition in the case of a collision between a bicycle and a car, the car driver will get the blame (and will have to pay for the biker's damage), even if he/she isn't and the biker is without doubt to blame! Even when the biker made an unforgivable mistake such as 'missing' a red sign for instance. Believe me: car drivers are very keen on bikers!
As far as we were told that law has changed. If a car can prove it was not at fault. For example if a bike runs a red light. The car is not at fault.

I was told this was due to some recent court challenges.

Even so, very safe to ride there.
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Old 12-03-14, 12:03 PM
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In that case my knowledge of the law is not up to date, excuse me ! It was an insane situation anyway and i remember this law was under discussion (also in court) but i have missed the verdict. Still, however, the biker has the benefit of the doubt.
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Old 03-02-15, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Team Fab View Post
As far as we were told that law has changed. If a car can prove it was not at fault. For example if a bike runs a red light. The car is not at fault.

I was told this was due to some recent court challenges.

Even so, very safe to ride there.
For what it's worth: the law never really changed. This law has always had the intention of protecting the weaker traffic participants like bicyclists and pedestrians. In order to achieve this, the car driver was made automatically accountable for the damages but (let this be clear) he/she was not automatically proclaimed guilty in case of an accident. These two things tend to get mixed up in the discussions. And apart from this rather crucial detail (in my opinion) the car driver has always had the possibility to block the accountability if he/she could prove the cyclist had 'misbehaved' in traffic (running a red light, unexpectedly crossing in front of the car etc.).
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Old 03-02-15, 04:34 PM
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And to add a tandem-related answer: the 2016 International Tandem Rally will be held in the Netherlands from the 28th of May until the 4th of June 2016. So if the OPs are planning to be in Holland in this time of year, they're more than welcome to participate.
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Old 03-02-15, 05:21 PM
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I've been to The Netherlands a few times. In the cities that I biked in(mostly around The Hague);
I don't think the paths will be more difficult for tandem riders. I actually saw a few locals with them:

DSCN0771 by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
DSCN0774 by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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