Arranging Our Holland Bike Tour Trip
When I was planning my tour of Europe I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to go south in Europe because of the heat, so I choose to go north where it would be cool – the Netherlands.
I spent three months emailing companies that are based in Holland and this one company kept the conversation going with me. He always answered my questions as silly as they were sometimes. He always had an answer and he responded within a day of my inquiry. I knew I wanted to take a bike tour or a bike and barge tour, but I didn’t know where or with what company. I started debating whether I should just do this on my own rather than a group?
I was just about to book a bike and barge tour when I spook to my new-found internet travel buddy in Holland, by the way his name is Edwin Groeneweg and his company is “The Dutch Travel Advisor”. I had a map laid out with my internet on the tour and I was ready to look at where I was going to bike and barge. Edwin said that after taking to me for the last three months and knowing a little about my travel habits he said I would not like it and shouldn’t book it. He said I would like his tour better. “Oh gee,” I said to myself “now what do I do? Trust a travel guy I meet on the Internet that has been talking to me for months? Yes!” And that’s exactly what I did. He required full payment before I left the USA and this too made me worry but I had to go with my gut feeling. I trusted him and it felt right. So this is our story about the most amazing private bike tour of the Netherlands with a wonderful tour guide who I will always call my friend.
The Journey to Holland
I had to go to Amsterdam on business and this is where our tour started. It was great to just relax and let Edwin take over the stress of arranging and executing the itinerary. He had us stay at the Park Plaza Hotel in the hub of the city. Perfect location since it gave us central access to just about anything we could imagine wanting or needing. We welcomed the opportunity to tour this city on our own. My husband and daughter left after a few days to go back to the USA and my son and I continued on.
I had never met Edwin before until he came into the hotel to pick us up to take us to where our bike tour would start. He is what I call a true Dutchman – tall and handsome. We went to the Hague where we would stay for five nights. He booked us at the The Boulevard Hotel right on the beach resort called Scheveningen. We had an amazing view of the North Sea, which is surely a haven for wind and sail surfers. The “strand” or the boardwalk as we know it had forty plus restaurants to eat at. These restaurants had huge areas with pillows and fire pits to relax and look out at the beautiful blue ocean. Each restaurant was colorful and exciting.
The day we arrived we went with Edwin to pick up our bikes. These bikes were the best bikes we have ever ridden and we loved them – they made the trip a lot easier. They were better than the bikes we had at home. We rode them around and we were looking forward to our bike tour. I was a little worried that I’d gotten myself into a situation since I’m a 56-year-old, in good health, but definitely not a bike rider or an exercise nut. I started second guessing what I’d gotten myself into. Luckily Edwin reassured me and said we could stop whenever I got tired. The trip though was so stunning and so refreshing that I never once felt tired.
Our Holland Bike Tour Begins
We woke up and had a fabulous breakfast over looking the North Sea. It was freezing and extremely windy. Edwin arrived on time and Michael, my 15-year-old and I were bundled up and freezing. When he arrived it started to rain and with the wind it was awful. But the bike tour went on. I was riding in the wind and I was cold and was complaining for … 10 minutes. Then the weather changed and it was beyond beautiful and I never complained again.
Taking a bike tour through the Netherlands is seeing something different everywhere we rode. It was all “off the beaten path” We just followed him and we never had to think where we were going, stress out of routes and destinations…it was effortless. During the bike tour we explored the countryside as you can’t imagine. This is what you would be doing if you took this tour and it’s completely different from any other kind of vacation.
A bike ride from The Hague, the Royal city to the Keringhuis (Storm Surge Locks) is a beautiful ride that takes you through the spacious sand dunes to Hoek van Holland (Corner of Holland). At Hoek van Holland all ships are going through large locks, Maas River in the direction of Rotterdam.
Here you will find one of the largest locks in the world, the Keringhuis. Two large arms are able to close when the water level is too high or when there is a storm. There is a possibility to see the Keringhuis inside. We took a tour to understand this interesting marvel.
From the Keringhuis we return back to The Hague, but this time not through the spacious sand dunes but through the “Glass City Area Westland”.
Westland is known for the many green houses where mostly vegetables are grown. It is an interesting area with small villages, little bridges and of course many Green Houses. Each day we rode we had a lovely lunch in a small town.
Another day ride we went to Gouda and Utrecht – the cherries route! We ate fresh picked cherries from a local farmer. They were so good!
Gouda, pronounced, “howdah” the city that is known for the cheese is the start point.
From here we followed Edwin through historical scenic villages of Stolwijk, Haastrecht, Oudewater, Woerden and Utrecht.
A bike ride from Ridderkerk in the direction of Kinderdijk and Rotterdam was beautiful. Ridderkerk, just south of Rotterdam is a historic town with a very nice city centre. It is surrounded by the Lek River. The bike ride is so nice because you need to use many small ferries to get to another place.
One of the areas is the famous Kinderdijk with the most windmills per square KM. Enjoy the views and learn everything about the windmills. From Kinderdijk we rode the canals and took a ferry to get in the direction of Rotterdam. Rotterdam, a modern city along the Maas River.
Going over the Erasmus Bridge you have a spectacular view over the Maas River, the corner of South, Hotel New York and much more.
Edwin wanted to show us as much as possible. We took the train out of town and rode back to avoid too much biking. Taking a train in the Netherlands is fun!
The Green Heart of the Netherlands is near to The Hague. A nice bike ride takes us through many smaller villages such as medieval Delft.
The Netherlands is known for the many canals, rivers and lakes. Water is all over. It’s nice to see how the Dutch protect their country by having Dikes. During the biking you will see plenty of Dikes.
Delft is known for Delftware, Vermeer and the Dutch Royal House. A must to see! The Hague has a lot to offer. We really liked staying here but to really live like a Dutchman you need to have a bike and Edwin as your guide. We loved seeing how the wooden shoe is made and how they use the wind in a windmill to make flour. I purchased fresh mustard out of windmill that grounded the seeds.
Arranging Your Holland Bike Tour
Biking needs to be comfortable and Edwin made sure that we had the very best hybrid bikes with a minimum of 24 gears.
There are no mountains in the Netherlands but wind can be your biggest competitor. That is also the reason why you find so many trees along the routes. The Dutch call them wind blockers.
I compared tour groups and I compared bus trips. I will never go on a bus – how awful this would have been! Edwin’s tour was by far the most reasonable. When my son and I were riding next to each other we were so happy we had Edwin as our guide. We never had to wonder where we were or where we were going. WE JUST WENT! 145 MILES IN FOUR DAYS! We were not tired at the end of each day. We went out at night walked the strand and had fun. This was a great tour and I recommend it to anyone. Happy Trails, Penny and Michael Fleming