Holland 2000 Bike and Boat Tour

On August 19 I began another tour theough the Netherlands run by www.cycletours.com. The tour was set up so we stayed on a boat at night, got off and cycled all day to the next place where the boat was moored, and ate and slept there. It went on for 7 days.This trip provided more exercise than last year, as I took the rebuilt Schwinn Phantom along.

Bike before rebuild

Bike after rebuild

The Phantom weighs 68 lbs., has a Bendix 2-speed hub, and 26" X 2.125" tires. The bike worked perfectly for the 235 miles I rode it. The wide tires did not get caught in any streetcar tracks, which other narrower tires did.

Bikes are as common as lawnmowers in the Netherlands, and the Dutch people did not notice the Phantom. People from other countries where bikes are not so common, did. Salomon (Miss Spain 1989) thought it looked very nice.

Shipping the bike to and from the Netherlands cost $41. This was the cost of 2 shipping boxes. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ships bicycles weighing less than 100 pounds for free. The boxes were available at Atlanta and Schiphol Airports. They were good for 1 trip. It was easy to push the boxed bike to the baggage check-in desks.

Most people think of the Netherlands as being flat. We managed to find hills to go up. The hills were like those on the route from my house to Stone Mountain Park, so I could climb the Dutch hills without trouble. I was even passing some of the other people on their 40 lb., 21 speed hybrids made by Gazelle.

This year's group consisted of 16 people. They were from Germany, Italy, Spain, England, US, and the Netherlands. The ages ranged from 25 to 65. This kept the cruising speed at about 14 MPH, whcich is slightly slower than I normally ride. The Dutch people were on the tour because they liked to ride around without hauling their luggage everywehere. This type of tour is great, as people only have to unpack once.

The weather was excellent, temp range was 60-75 degrees, and no rain. It really felt good to cycle through the forests when the temp was 65 degrees.

The Heart of Holland route went from Amsterdam through Utrecht, Arnhem, Deventer, Kampen, Harderwicke, and return to Amsterdam, with numerous stops in smaller towns.

Best stop- Kroller Muller museum with about 50 Van Gogh paintings on display.

Second best stop-Muiderslot Castle, built about 1350 at the mouth of the Vecht River.

Most surprising stop- Estate of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany who helped start WWI. Holland was neutral then, and granted the Kaiser asylum when he abdicated in November, 1918. He lived in Holland until his death in 1941, chopping trees and maneuvering without success to restore the monarchy in Germany. The house was in perfect condition, not a speck of dust anywhere, nor any wear to any item in the house. It was seized by the Dutch government in 1945, and is a museum.

Funkiest sight- A group of Hare Krishnas in a procession going up Damrak St. in Amsterdam. They were feeling good and feeling right on Saturday night. I was tempted to join them, but decided that owning stock in Texas Instruments and Dell Computer would make my life better than chanting and ringing bells.

I greatly enjoyed this trip, and am ready to go on another next year. Cycletours has 6 different routes, so I can go on 4 more. It is really nice to leave 97 degrees in Atlanta for 72 degrees in Holland.

To look at the pictures I took: