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Netherlands winter 1-month as first tour?

Old 11-06-21, 06:40 PM
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surlylhtfan
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Netherlands winter 1-month as first tour?

Considering heading to the Netherlands late Dec-late Jan for my first tour. Will there even be anywhere to camp? I'm comfortable with cold weather and snow. Do you think €20/day would be do-able?

Also, it seems the United bike fee is $200 one-way right? (I have a 54cm 26" bike, so probably won't fit in a <62" box).

Thanks!

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Old 11-06-21, 06:49 PM
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I'm sure you've thought about this but the days will be short. I hope you have good lights.

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Old 11-06-21, 08:51 PM
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Someone on another thread recently mentioned that United dropped their oversize fees for bicycles. Looks like that is accurate:
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...equipment.html

But, make sure you are not overweight. A luggage scale is the traveler's best friend.

And there still is an upper limit for size, make sure you meet that.

I have no clue if that is an area of high bike theft rate or not, but a good lock would be a good idea.

If you have not flown with a camp stove before, you may want to look at this.
https://www.msrgear.com/blog/flying-...camping-stove/

Have a good trip.
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Old 11-06-21, 09:56 PM
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Check out Luftansa. They had a roll-on flight we took 5 years ago or so. They only had one flight. Really convenient. Maybe worth a phone call to see if they still do it and if it could work for you.
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Old 11-06-21, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by surlylhtfan View Post
Considering heading to the Netherlands late Dec-late Jan for my first tour. Will there even be anywhere to camp? I'm comfortable with cold weather and snow. Do you think €20/day would be do-able?

Also, it seems the United bike fee is $200 one-way right? (I have a 54cm 26" bike, so probably won't fit in a <62" box).

I'm going to do a couple shakedown overnights near home in the next month but am kinda excited to throw myself out there. I've done quite a bit of international travel/backpacking, just not with a bike.

Thanks!
Twenty Euros a day will not cover food and camping. I don't think it will even cover the camping. My wife and I have ridden through the Netherlands as part of 3 different tours. We like to end our tours at or close to Schiphol Airport. It is the most bike friendly airport we've ever used.

Where do you live? The Netherlands' weather is similar to Oregon's where I live. It is wet and cold in the winter months. It rained a lot all three times when we were there in the fall. What the Netherlands lacks in hills it makes up for with wind. I think touring there in the winter would be great Type II fun This site is a good source of weather information: Weather Spark

Do a search on "Camping in the Netherlands" and "farm" camping ( I can't remember what they are called) Check out this site for winter camping: Winter Camping . I think you can get a good feel for the situation by doing a few searches. Wild Camping is prohibited in the Netherlands.


Good luck!

Last edited by Doug64; 11-06-21 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 11-07-21, 12:14 AM
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What Doug says. Here's another site with 190 campings: winterkamperen-camping-nederland. I'd look into Warmshowers options and vriendenopdefiets (friends on a bike) as well, especially on that tight a budget.
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Old 11-07-21, 06:27 AM
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I’ll bite.

Don’t forget COVID travel rules:


https://www.government.nl/topics/cor...ds-from-abroad
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Old 11-07-21, 06:53 AM
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I've camped & toured in NL in the winter and loved it! But I lived there and they rarely lasted more than a long weekend.

There are campsites open (not many so distance can be a challenge) with some excellent facilities such as kitchens.

€20 per day is possible, most of that taken up with camping. I'd question why travel to such an expensive country with such a low budget at a time of year when there will be minimum human contact unless you can eat out or at least buy a coffee?

Weather can be very variable. I've cycled in -10 C temperatures at that time of year. Snow could be a big problem. Rain and a lack of daylight are always issues. Wildcamping is a no-no, especially in a post Covid world.
​​​​​(By the way, restrictions aren't finished)

Working lights will be essential or expect a fine.

The end of December will be very, very busy ( New Year celebrations) and expensive and will likely impact any warmshowertype options. January, on the other hand will be very, very quiet.

For a first tour I don't understand why you'd choose NL at that time of the year. The south of Spain would be far more tour friendly. And warmer.

Or head south to México!

And Covid hasn't gone away.
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Old 11-07-21, 07:08 AM
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What everyone else said, I think it would suck in winter, but I will add that a bike box from a bike store will work for size. Yes there are diff size boxes, but I've flown with a 54, 56cm 700 wheeled bike and boxed it easily enough with only front wheel and front rack removal. Rear wheels and rear racks have always remained on bikes, 26in or 700 bikes I've flown with.

in other words, don't worry about the 62 inch thing

I've generally used the smallest box the bike can fit in, as it's better for the bike (held in solidly , fork not moving back and forth, but also because its easier getting into out of a car and moving on the airport trollies within airports and getting through passageways.

somewhere I've written down the dimensions of the best size box for my present tourer.
This photo was a box on the smaller side, with a 26 mtb of about 56cm. Some boxes could be a good 6, 8 inches longer, so compare and note measurements if you go to bike store looking.

Last edited by djb; 11-07-21 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 11-07-21, 12:49 PM
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Woh thanks for all your replies!

I picked NL because I think the bike infrastructure and general bike-friendliness would be a good place to get my bearings bike touring, regardless of season. But yeah, it does sound kind of bleak to be in a rainy tent every night at 5pm. Realistically I don't think I'd be able to follow €20/day. Ample winter camping options for €20-25 but I know I'd want to sit at cafes and whatnot too. Maybe I could only go for 3 weeks. Or pick Spain/Portugal or Thailand instead, I'm going to look into those other countries today.


Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
€20 per day is possible, most of that taken up with camping. I'd question why travel to such an expensive country with such a low budget at a time of year when there will be minimum human contact unless you can eat out or at least buy a coffee?

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Old 11-07-21, 12:55 PM
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Note that areas of Andalucia get snow in the winter. And there are a lot of mountains, including the country’s two highest peaks.
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Old 11-07-21, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by surlylhtfan View Post
Woh thanks for all your replies!

I picked NL because I think the bike infrastructure and general bike-friendliness would be a good place to get my bearings bike touring, regardless of season. But yeah, it does sound kind of bleak to be in a rainy tent every night at 5pm. Realistically I don't think I'd be able to follow €20/day. Ample winter camping options for €20-25 but I know I'd want to sit at cafes and whatnot too. Maybe I could only go for 3 weeks. Or pick Spain/Portugal or Thailand instead, I'm going to look into those other countries today.
Northern Thailand is great in January. It's the dry season in the north, and northern Thailand is far enough from the equator that it has much more comfortable temperatures from December to February than the rest of the year. And you can leave your camping gear and cooking gear at home. Excellent inexpensive accommodations are easy to find, and the food is delicious and cheap. I have no idea idea if there are any Covid restrictions in effect for foreign tourists.
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Old 11-08-21, 11:42 AM
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Another thought about the Netherlands bike infrastructure; while it is excellent, much of it is on dirt or gravel.



A helmet cover is a nice piece of gear when it rains.
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Old 11-08-21, 11:21 PM
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Riding in the cold is bearable, riding in the cold rain absolutely sucks
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Old 11-09-21, 07:21 AM
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Thailand in December is very nice. As previously noted, the food is delicious and most accommodations are relatively inexpensive.
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Old 11-09-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Another thought about the Netherlands bike infrastructure; while it is excellent, much of it is on dirt or gravel.



A helmet cover is a nice piece of gear when it rains.
Much of it is dirt or gravel is a bit of an overstatement.
The vast, vast majority of it is well surfaced. Routes through forests and national parks can be unpaved but generally suitable for all kinds of bikes.
Weather conditions clearly play a part - NL is pretty flat after all and excessive water can take a while to clear.

The photos presented aren't really representative of the Dutch cycling experience even if they are representative of yours.
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Old 11-09-21, 12:29 PM
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[QUOTE=HobbesOnTour;22301106]
The photos presented aren't really representative of the Dutch cycling experience even if they are representative of yours.[/QUOTE

Having lived there, you have a more realistic perspective. My perspective comes from three fall tours all covering a large portion of the country.

edit: I went back through my pictures and only came up with 5 days out of 15 riding days that we were on dirt or gravel in the Netherlands, so you may be right about not being representative. I blame my comment on age and memory. However, it did rain 10 of those days.

It rained a lot and many of the trails that we rode on were not paved. I have more pictures of unpaved trails than paved ones. Maybe it is that the unpaved trails are more memorable or make for better pictures

Those pictures where taken during a 3- month tour where we had 35 days of rain. I don't have the breakdown for just the Netherlands, but during that time most of the rain occurred toward the end of our ride in France ,Germany Belgium and and the Netherlands. That ride was done in 2011. A women we talked to in the Netherlands told us, " this is the wettest year I can remember since I was pregnant with my daughter in 1974."

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Old 11-10-21, 05:46 AM
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Wild camping is free.
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Old 11-10-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Wild Camping is prohibited in the Netherlands.
Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Wild camping is free.
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Old 11-10-21, 07:55 AM
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Many things are prohibited. Practice leave no trace camping and you never did it.
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Old 11-10-21, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Many things are prohibited. Practice leave no trace camping and you never did it.
If you want to propose illegal activities, I suggest you do that elsewhere.
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Old 11-10-21, 08:21 AM
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Who appointed you officer in residence? I suggest you learn about wild camping and respecting the environment. And I will be watching for you next time you park your car illegally to nip into a shop.
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Old 11-10-21, 11:14 AM
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Probably not a great idea to suggest illegal activities to somebody who will be a guest in the country.

In my experience the Dutch are friendly and accommodating. Maybe just ask if you want to camp.
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Old 11-10-21, 11:14 AM
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For what it is worth. My experience on touring the Netherlands or otherwise visiting:
= The country is not large, e.g. ~300kmx200km. I took a trip in June where I traveled 1440km and went through all 12 provinces. From Schiermonnikoog in the north to Maastricht in the south. From Zeeland on the south west. This was 18 days of total. I stayed with family about two thirds of those nights and in hotel on other nights. I didn't camp. It rained multiple of those days. Gravel was rare on my route. I think I might have seen it in the Veluwe and on Schiermonikoog but otherwise everything was paved.
= I visited and stayed with relatives for ~six weeks once in second half of December and entire month of January. I wasn't bicycle touring and mostly in one place (Zwolle) with occasional train trips visiting family elsewhere in the country. I would agree with sentiment of short days (52 degrees north latitude approximately Alberta). Wet days can be a bit of a challenge.
= A large share of the population is more towards the west central part of the country. Cycling through large cities like Rotterdam, Delft, Amsterdam, etc. is a different experience in more rural areas like Overijsel or Friesland, though cycle infrastructure is good throughout. My grandmothers both cycled into their 80s, and one into her 90s. Not fast, but basic utility cycling to the market, etc. I found cycle paths along most larger roads, as well as more network of small roads in the countryside. Small towns also had reasonable infrastructure. My uncle in Amsterdam had a tale of a succession of basic bicycles he would purchase and then have stolen some months later. He would lock them, but not secure enough.

Based on that, I would second opinion that nice place to kick off a cycle tour - though winter is not the best timing. Depending on where you otherwise go, you might also find your tour crossing the country fairly quickly. As an example, I started an Amsterdam to Vladivostok trip - and within two days riding crossed the border to Germany, having crossed the country from east to west. Similarly on my June trip, it was 4 days riding from Schiermonikoog off the coast in the north to Maastricht in far south.
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Old 11-10-21, 12:38 PM
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Ah cool! Thanks everyone!

Last edited by surlylhtfan; 11-10-21 at 02:17 PM.
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