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Netherlands winter 1-month as first tour?

Old 11-14-21, 09:35 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by surlylhtfan View Post
Ha, NL.

djb, why do you say it might be tricky? Covid-lockdown, yes, I can see that then (if that happens I may not go). But I figure if things are not working out weather-wise I can stay at an airbnb in the countryside or smaller town for a week or two, or one of the year-round campgrounds with a kitchen (I'm starting a list going now - would happily take any suggestions).

I've already spent time in Amsterdam and and am not interested in spending much time in cities in general.

I am going for 3 weeks, not 4. I'm going to make sure I'm somewhat 'established' with comfortable camping options for the new years weekend.
I think you're nuts.

I'm all for encouraging people to get out on their bikes and have adventures but you seem to be ignoring the answers to your questions, especially in relation to budget.

I can not see any scope for much enjoyment for a first bike tour in NL at that time of the year. Cold, wet, dark.

And the fact that Covid restrictions are being put in place again. Being on the other side of the world when basic rules like where you can travel and how far can change overnight is no fun.

Expect service providers of all sorts (if open) to discriminate against the solo bike tourist. That lunch palace with limited seating takes one look at you and the family of four for the last available table? You're going to wait!
Lots of AirBnBs won't take reservations for single nights (if open). Shared toilet facilities (and kitchens) in campgrounds will be limited or closed, that's if the campground is open and will accept you. You'll need an electronic Covid Pass.

Will you need a bike box to travel back? Even that just became a whole lot more difficult to source.
You'll need a source of accurate and up to date information for any changes to rules.

Also, look at the terms of your health/travel insurance and be aware of any limitations in coverage. As rules change so too will your coverage.

I was on the road when Covid hit (and still am). There are far better options out there.







​​
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Old 11-14-21, 10:33 AM
  #52  
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You probably can get a refund on your airline tickets due to the Covid restrictions being enacted by the Netherlands.

If you are looking for an "epic" journey you could set up a tour in the Pacific Northwest, especially Oreong and Washington. You would have about the same weather on the west side of the states, but you could add hills or even mountain passes into it. Actually the Pacific Coast Highway would give you a similar ride and would provide some hills. You would already speak the language, your medical insurance might cover you, and if something changes you could always get a bus, train or plane home.

Last edited by Doug64; 11-14-21 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 11-14-21, 12:49 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post

Will you need a bike box to travel back? Even that just became a whole lot more difficult to source.

​​
Thanks!

Last edited by surlylhtfan; 11-14-21 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 11-14-21, 03:03 PM
  #54  
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Low dense cloud cover and/or rain gives you maybe 6 hours of decent light per day. 7.5 hours on a good day. I have toured in cold and wet conditions, it takes a special kind of hard head to do it successfully. Please listen to others, go somewhere else or wait for the tulips to bloom
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Old 11-14-21, 04:38 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post

. . . . . . . Will you need a bike box to travel back? Even that just became a whole lot more difficult to source.
You'll need a source of accurate and up to date information for any changes to rules. . . . . . . .​​
If you land at Schiphol Airport, before you leave the airport, go downstairs and check to see if they have bike boxes. They usually do, but it does not hurt to check. Check with the information kiosk about box location; they cost about 20 Euros. Then plan on finishing you loop back at the airport.

Be sure to have a wrench that fits your pedals, 15mm, and a hex to loosen your bars. Pedals need to come off the bike and you will have to position your handlebars parallel to your top tube. Also get a roll of packing tape before you go to the airport.

Down in the basement at Schiphol Airport-- The idea is to get all this gear, three peoples', into a manageable configuration.


Like this: The bikes are boxed with the empty panniers and empty water bottles on the bike. The pedals are taped inside one of the water bottle cages.The duffle bags have most of the durable gear in them, and are checked. The Ortlieb Rack Packs carry the more fragile gear. It is carried on along with the bar bag.

This is actually at a train station, but it is the exact same setup for flying.


Pack the bike so the box can be carried with the rear wheel down. This will make navigating crowded airports with your cart relatively easy

Last edited by Doug64; 11-15-21 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 11-14-21, 06:11 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by surlylhtfan View Post
...
I am going for 3 weeks, not 4. I'm going to make sure I'm somewhat 'established' with comfortable camping options for the new years weekend.
You have read comments from everyone and I am sure you have given it due consideration.

Remember to bring your helmet rain cover, whichever gloves you prefer for cool and damp weather, shoe covers, rain pants, etc. I probably am the only one that does this, but I like suspenders for rain pants, I do not have to cinch the waist really tight to keep them from slipping down. If you have a pair of clear or yellow tint wrap around glasses, now would be a good time to remember where you stored them.

Have a great time.



And smile when you take a selfie on a foggy rainy day.
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Old 11-15-21, 01:05 AM
  #57  
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I am assuming you're fully vaccinated right?

Here's how to get a QR code you need to be able to enter many places, including restaurants under the New Covid restrictions that were implemented last Saturday. There is a 3 week mini lockdown in place which will be used to implement some new laws needed for some rules after the lockdown ends.

I hope you'll have a wonderful experience but I am afraid with the weather, lack of facilities and Covid rules it might be a miserable one. Good luck.
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Old 11-15-21, 07:10 AM
  #58  
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very neighbourly of you Jacco to reference the QR code. We use them here, in fact I use mine every day. In the different Canadian provinces I believe there is a different app, if one uses that system, but I simply have the pdf of my QR code both on my phone and in a printed version.
I'm not sure if Americans have this in place at all.
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Old 11-15-21, 08:44 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
very neighbourly of you Jacco to reference the QR code. We use them here, in fact I use mine every day. In the different Canadian provinces I believe there is a different app, if one uses that system, but I simply have the pdf of my QR code both on my phone and in a printed version.
I'm not sure if Americans have this in place at all.
Everyone is switching to Thru Axle code.
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Old 11-15-21, 08:53 PM
  #60  
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Thanks all!

I'll have some more questions I'm sure.

Got my cardboard bike box and Marathons today.

Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
I am assuming you're fully vaccinated right?
Yep!
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Old 11-15-21, 09:18 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Everyone is switching to Thru Axle code.
that did make me chuckle.
there's been a bunch of times I see enticing used or take off wheelsets and then realize they are thru axle.....dang it.
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Old 11-16-21, 08:04 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Everyone is switching to Thru Axle code.
I had to read that twice to get it. Very good.
​​​

Originally Posted by djb View Post
...
there's been a bunch of times I see enticing used or take off wheelsets and then realize they are thru axle.....dang it.
You can get conversion gizmos for some hubs. I do not know if they are interchangeable or not, I plan to be clueless on all things pertaining to thru axle as long as I can.

Last spring I was building up another dynohub wheel, considered using thru axle and also the quick release conversion parts so that it would be future proofed, but the price convinced me to stick with a conventional skewer type hub.
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Old 11-16-21, 12:38 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
About 8 hours of daylight in midwinter, although there are penguins and polar bears.
He is going to the Netherlands and not so California where 8 hours of daylight would be true. No polar bears or penguins in this country either.

In the USA I often found myself bedding down on private land as there are many areas that lack state or federal parks or BLM land. Cemeteries were the best as it was flat and level and very quiet at night.
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Old 11-16-21, 03:54 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
You can get conversion gizmos for some hubs. I do not know if they are interchangeable or not, I plan to be clueless on all things pertaining to thru axle as long as I can.
Last spring I was building up another dynohub wheel, considered using thru axle and also the quick release conversion parts so that it would be future proofed, but the price convinced me to stick with a conventional skewer type hub.
Ya, I fleetingly saw this mentioned somewhere also, but I too have decided to not spend any energy understanding TA until I need to. I imagine there are some standards, but being in the clueless club, dont take my word for it.
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Old 11-16-21, 04:48 PM
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When you include civil twilight, roughly nine hours per day when you do not need artificial light.
https://weatherspark.com/m/51381/1/A...gures-SolarDay

Mostly cloudy or overcast about two thirds of the time, around one out of three chance of precip each day, But winds look strong. I have traveled in worse, but the wind is what looks worst to me.

If you can find routes that offer some protection from the wind, this could be an enjoyable time. I have not been there, but I am guessing that there is not a lot of shelter from the wind.

But with that small amount of light each day, you will need artificial light more hours per day than I am used to when bike touring.
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Old 11-16-21, 05:14 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

If you can find routes that offer some protection from the wind, this could be an enjoyable time. I have not been there, but I am guessing that there is not a lot of shelter from the wind.
Been there many times. Generally wide open & FLAT (like mid-state-south Indiana or Illinois) with tree-line wind breaks along the edges of fields in many places. Some beautiful areas and nice towns to visit. Good food, great beer. Pre-Euro (when Guilders ruled) you could eat a premium meal for about $8.
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Old 11-17-21, 06:25 AM
  #67  
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Cycling in the dark is not much of a safety issue, but it gets dark around half past 4 until 8 in the morning and often in this time of year it doesn't get really light in between because of the weather. Unless it's bright and then it's often colder, but usually around or just below freezing. It might get slippery but we have all kinds of weather apps with accurate rain monitoring, you might also consider checking the wind prediction before picking your starting point. Often that's the same for many days and if your main direction is opposite to the wind direction, you're in for a treat. 4-6 Beaufort is nothing special. .

Originally Posted by imi View Post
Yes, I have never understood the "common sense" of wild camping being illegal.
I'd agree but there is no 'wild' to get into and camp. Every square meter is spoken for.and has some kind of designate purpose. So a forest, which was planted at any point in time, is owned and kept by the state's forest control, and they have to care for the game and the birds too. They had 'pole campings', a location in a forest where you could camp without disturbing 'nature', just a pole as a marker and often water that has to be boiled before consumption. But that didn't work out, basically because of too much people for too few land. If the USA is a forest, the Netherlands is a little well kept garden, with lots of stone and water. There are some private pole campings left, but I don't know if it's doable to plan around that if they are reliable since covid.
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Old 11-17-21, 07:19 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I'd agree but there is no 'wild' to get into and camp. Every square meter is spoken for.and has some kind of designate purpose.
This makes me sad.

Iíll still find my spots to lay my sleeping bag down on and sleep under the stars.

Maybe humanity will cause its own extinction leaving the Earth and the Wild to rejuvinate.

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Old 11-17-21, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I'd agree but there is no 'wild' to get into and camp. Every square meter is spoken for.and has some kind of designate purpose.
Yes. When I first visited (my work had plants in Mijdrecht & Heerenveen) I was surprised that they cut and bale hay on the open areas of expressway interchanges. Though it makes perfect sense as interchanges consume a huge footprint with large grassy areas surrounding the roads.
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Old 11-17-21, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
This makes me sad.

Iíll still find my spots to lay my sleeping bag down on and sleep under the stars.

Maybe humanity will cause its own extinction leaving the Earth and the Wild to rejuvinate.
That's not entirely fair. If you want a wild Netherlands one third would be a swamp where you couln't lay your sleeping bag down and another third would be North Sea. It's not really a country, it's an engineering project. Even the rivers don't run their natural course but are rerouted and cut up and connected many times. Within that framework of a country that has to be kept like a garden to exist in the first place, there's quite a lot of well protected nature. There's even created out of nothing for the sake of nature.
There's actually a lot of biodiversity and diversity in landscapes that are very rare around the world, I don't mean the flat farmland. But it all has to be managed and controlled otherwise it disappears. In general there's hardly any real nature in Europe as in old growth forests. The pine woods in Scandinavia and a little piece of Poland. But the Netherlands is on another level.

A friend of mine was simply taking a sunday stroll through a forest and suddenly he ran into a traffic sign, for the recreational forest strollers. "That's it" he said and decided to move to Germany. I'm not really much of a nature guy but when sailing in the tidal area here I also get tired of all the engineer around, like 'traffic' lights in the water even. But that's close to islands but even when I went out into the North Sea there was always something engineered in sight. The boat was much too small for the North Sea so I didn't go any further, but still.

Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Yes. When I first visited (my work had plants in Mijdrecht & Heerenveen) I was surprised that they cut and bale hay on the open areas of expressway interchanges. Though it makes perfect sense as interchanges consume a huge footprint with large grassy areas surrounding the roads.
Every area has a 'purpose plan', housing, industry but also recreation, nature, protected nature whatever, it's all protected in that way in the sense that you can't just build a house in the living area of some rare bird. Being efficient with space has been self evident for a very long time, but also regarding nature. Many villages have small 'deer camps' with a few bambi's and peacocks and some other animals, there ar flocks of sheep on the banks of roads and recently farm fields often have a one feet wide strip of flowers and plants on the edge for bees and other insects and therefore biodiversity. Another old custom that has become a trend is facade gardens, basically just people removing a strip of the (public) pavement before their house and put some plants in, and if it's done neatly it's fine with city hall.

Still, with so much density in about everything, many bike tourers still manage to cycle through endless farmland that all looks the same.
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Old 11-17-21, 10:25 AM
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Its a unique place and a great location for a bicycle tour.
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Old 11-17-21, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Yes. When I first visited (my work had plants in Mijdrecht & Heerenveen) I was surprised that they cut and bale hay on the open areas of expressway interchanges. Though it makes perfect sense as interchanges consume a huge footprint with large grassy areas surrounding the roads.
There are also sheep pastures on the dikes, good utilization. I also suspect that it reduces the amount of mowing. I think the Netherlands is high on the list of high population density countries in the world. They have more people per square km than India.

I agree with Skookum, It is a wonderful place to cycle. The people are friendly, and there is a lot going on.

Last edited by Doug64; 11-17-21 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 11-18-21, 05:54 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
There are also sheep pastures on the dikes..
I remember seeing them. Made perfect sense. One of my most vivid memories was flying into Schiphol (4:20pm KLM flight out of OHare would arrive in NL at around 8am) and flying over the tulip fields as we adjusted our course and came in for a landing. Bright green countryside in the morning light with a patchwork of red, yellow, orange... tulip fields in bloom. Even after a long flight, I didn't want to land. Quite a sight.
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Old 11-18-21, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
There are also sheep pastures on the dikes, good utilization. I also suspect that it reduces the amount of mowing. I think the Netherlands is high on the list of high population density countries in the world. They have more people per square km than India.

I agree with Skookum, It is a wonderful place to cycle. The people are friendly, and there is a lot going on.
The sheep were there first, about the only cattle that can be kept in a swamp. But their feet and grazing frim up the dikes, nothing beats them for dike maintenance. These days they are used for maintenance of parks and green strips too, because they have to get there it does happen that you find yourself in traffic jam with the sheep walking between cars and cyclists. To be in the middle of that in a city centre is a bit surreal in a nice way. I'm sure the wool is sold, but maintenance is their primary job.
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Old 11-18-21, 04:14 PM
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In 2019 I saw rent-a-goats clearing foliage along the GAP just south of Pittsburgh. It was cute. There were even sun shelters set up for them.
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