Can't think of a better way to see Holland
We did this tour in late August, 2018. We are reasonably fit early 70 year olds from California. Neither of us had been on a bicycle in years. We loved it. Some observations:
-Probably the best, unique thing was the route. We were given a little GPS thing that told us where to go, turn by turn. It didn't just go from A to B. It took us through charming town centers, on farm roads through the polders, along rivers and canals, by windmills, through North Sea dunes, through tiny villages and suburbs. Even through an industrial park (think bulb and flower industries).
-The hotels ranged from very charming to just fine, and all were within a stroll of the heart of town.
-The bicycles were top notch, like new, lovingly maintained.
-The distances were just right. At the end of each day, we felt exercised but hardly exhausted, and deeply appreciated a cold beer.
-The weather was good. Pleasantly warm, some sun and some overcast. It started to rain just once, and around the next bend was an appealing hotel with a good lunch.
-We liked Peter-the-bike-guy very much. He has a stringy tour de France look, speaks excellent Euro-English, gave us clear, concise instruction on how to do things, and was amusing. Also, he was quite gracious when we told him about the bike falling into the canal.
-If we were doing the trip again (or knew beforehand what we know now), we would have made one change. We would have arranged to stay two nights in Gouda and Delft, and would have arrived a day earlier in Utrecht (we did stay an extra day in Leiden). This would have allowed us to spend time with the museums and other charms of these wonderful cities.
-Finally, we loved being immersed in Dutch bike culture. Everybody bikes, bikes are everywhere, isolated bike lanes go most places, cars respect bike rights, and oh-by-the-way people looked conspicuously leaner than in the rest of Europe, let alone in America.
Fantastic family trip!
Our family of 4 (2 parents, 2 teenagers) had an absolutely wonderful time exploring Holland on bike. This trip was our first trial of a family biking trip, and we’re hooked! The routes took us through incredibly picturesque fields and towns, riding along canals while seeing windmills and farms and cottages galore! Each night we’d arrive in a different enchanting town. Peter of Tulip Tours was terrific - he was waiting for us at our first hotel and made sure we were comfortable on our bicycles (which were quite nice) and understood the GPS and had all of the information we’d need to manage our self-guided tour. We highly recommend this trip!
Our trip was fantastic! Our local tour provider at Tulip Cycling, Peter Vos, couldn’t have been better. The bikes were brand new, the Garmin GPS worked perfectly and the routes and hotels he selected were awesome. The Belvedere Hotel in Schoonhoven was especially memorable. This was truly a trip of a lifetime that we hope is repeated soon! Thanks to Bike Tours for making it happen! We will be booking with you again!
Everything was perfect
This was a well thought out route. The hotels were all all interesting and unique. We loved the cities we visited and the sites were amazing.
Pedaling in the Polders
Peter of Tulip Cycling met us on the morning of our first cycling day. He was on time, the bikes were well prepared and Peter, a very personable host, was very patient and thorough in explaining everything to us.
Cycling was as described: flat, mostly trails or roads that see very little if any vehicle traffic.
Hotels were mostly fine. The Mastrichter Dom in Gouda was a disappointment: the room was clean and the attendant friendly enough but the room was small, awkward and noisy. Peter explained later that there have not been any appealing in-town hotels in Gouda but that the situation was being remedied with the opening of a new hotel presently.
The Hotel de Plataan in Delft was charmingly decorated and nicely equipped but the elevator didn’t go to the top floor (You’ve heard if such things?) and our rooms were on the top floor. Emergency egress wasn’t up to US standards but we otherwise enjoyed the stay.
The use of GPS for route tracking was nearly a winner. Peter has carefully prepared the GPS routes with many waypoints so that it’s generally very easy to know where to go. A couple practical limitations with the GPS displays caused some consternation: the displays are small and not bright enough for the brightest daylight conditions. We often had trouble discriminating between the colored line for the travelled route and those for streets in general. This necessitated frequent stops to peer at the display while shading it or stooping to get close to it.
As a route tracking strategy I think it is a great innovation (I have done half a dozen trips following the map and narrative system). With a better display this would be an obvious choice.
The cycling is not strenuous. The paths, roads and terrain were friendly. By the fourth day we had seen enough of the polders! They are charming and scenic enough but a bit repetitive after a while! The towns and cities were very interesting. We wished we had had more time to spend exploring those.
Our last day did not go according to plan as Tulip Cycling required the return of the bikes at 4:00 PM. We asked for an extension but it was not allowed. We could not complete the route in the available time so we hopped on a train for the last several miles. This was not a major disappointment for us but it certainly might be for some travelers. This detail should be clear at booking time.
A wonderful way to discover old Holland
This tour focused on the historic cities of Utrecht, Schoonhoven, Gouda, Delft and Leiden. Mr. Vos from Tulip Cycling met us at our hotel in Utrecht with the bicycles, maps, GPS and lots of helpful information. It was my first time using a GPS to navigate a bicycle ride and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In fact, I'm not certain we would have been able to do the trip as comfortably without it.
The hotels chosen by Tulip Cycling were located close to or in the old parts of the cities making it easy for us to walk around, visit museums and just enjoy the streets and canals of these old towns. The routes between the cities took us past interesting sites and through beautiful nature areas. I was happy that we had planned an extra day in Utrecht and in Leiden - and I was sorry the tour was so short.