16 Mar 23 | By pp-admin
Are you planning to go cycling overseas this Australian Winter, maybe to catch the European Summer?
There are, of course, lots of places to choose from, with lots of different conditions, but you like some easy riding, with easy-going people who know what cycling is, then The Netherlands should be part of your journey!
It’s mostly flat, apart from a few low hills around the centre-east of the country, and the biggest mountain in the far south (333 meters high!). “But flat also can have its charm, at least in my eyes” Says Els Wynen who recently visited the area “however, wind can sometimes be a problem … or a bonus depending on its direction!”.
If you are considering a trip around the ‘Low Lands’, Els has some great tips to find cheap accommodation complete with an opportunity to get to know the locals and gather local cycling tips.
“There is a Dutch cycling organisation that aims to make cycle-touring easier for ‘friends on the bike’ (Vrienden op de Fiets).” Explains Els “This organisation’s aim is to connect local cyclists who have surplus accommodation with people cycling around the country who are looking for accommodation for a night or two. Both parties need to be a member of the Vrienden op de Fiets organisation which costs €10 per year”.
Members of Vrienden op de Fiets receive a booklet with information about how the organisation works, and with address and information about each particular address, such as how many rooms are rented out in the house; whether there is a shower in the room; whether the room is part of the house or perhaps is a ‘garden house’.
The cost of an overnight stay in 2023 is fixed at €25 per person per night, with special rates for children under 12 years old at €14.
“The stay includes a Dutch breakfast,” say Els “not what Australians call a ‘Continental’ breakfast, but an extensive Dutch one – with possibly even a boiled egg! Plus there’s the option of other services such as dinner or a packed lunch, for additional payment.
“The quality of the accommodation can vary from basic to quite luxurious – my experiences have been mainly very good. Of course, another of the advantages is that you can see how the Dutch live and eat, and the hosts are often quite happy to make you a cup of tea on arrival, have a chat, and answer all kinds of questions you may have”.
Most of the addresses in the information booklet are in The Netherlands – grouped in geographic order, in provinces and towns; 4000 addresses for the whole of the country plus around 800 for Belgium and 200 each for France and Germany. A detailed map of the Netherlands with all bike paths is also included.