Holland is the perfect place to explore by bike. The country has many cycle paths and sign posted cycle routes, the landscape is flat, distances are short and there are lots to see and do along the way. So come visit the Netherlands and get on a bike!
Nearly every road has a cycle path called a ‘Fietspad’ which links most villages and towns. These ‘Fietspads’ are mostly separate and away from the road itself (unlike most of our cycle paths in Britain which are a miserly bit of the road marked off with a white line, if we’re lucky!). One of the curious facts of the Holland: nearly 85 percent of the population own at least one bicycle. They use it regularly, often daily. There are about 16 million bicycles in Holland, slightly more than one for every inhabitant. About 1.3 million new bicycles are sold every year.
To make cycling safer and more inviting the Dutch have built a vast network of cycle paths. These are clearly marked, have smooth surfaces, separate signs and lights for those on two wheels, and wide enough to allow side-by-side cycling and overtaking. In many cities the paths are completely segregated from motorised traffic. Sometimes, where space is scant and both must share, you can see signs showing an image of a cyclist with a car behind accompanied by the words ‘Bike Street: Cars are guests’.
A good overview map is the Sterkste Fietskaart Van Nederland. It’s made of a laminated paper that holds up in the rain and 2 maps cover the entire country, one for the north of the Holland and one for the south of the Holland. Countless regional maps are also available, many produced by Falk.
Below routes represent the different types of cycle experiences you can have in Holland.
With paths either dedicated to walking, cycling or horse riding, the Amsterdam Forest (Amsterdamse Bos) is probably the best park for cycling in the world. The routes take you through a mosaic of wooded areas, grassland, reed lands and open water. With a high density of things to see and do, it is the perfect playground for youngsters getting used to explore by bike!
More cycling pleasure awaits along the North Sea, where the LF1 bike route traces the coastline for nearly 300km. The paved bike paths in this part of the Netherlands take you on a rolling ride, over the crests of the endless sand dunes. None of the hills are particularly big but this is a good ride to challenge the notion that Holland is entirely flat.
The photogenic flatness of the Dutch landscape comes alive in Zeeland, the most south-westerly province where the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers meet the sea. Its 400-mile coastline has cycle paths through towns such as Cadzand, Oostkapelle and Westkapelle.
When you want to cycle just for a day or a couple of days the routes of the Dutch Railways are excellent. Main advantages: it is easy to hire a bicycle at the railway station. These routes make a nice day of cycling. An overview of these 18 routes you’ll find on the Dutch Railway website, where you can download the route description.
Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food
Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com