Bicycles in the Netherlands

To answer a few questions about the actual cycling

Melissa asked about our boat, the Liza Marlen. Melissa, I have failed you. I didn’t take many photos of the actual boat. But, there were several bike and barge tours during the same time as ours.


I should have taken a photo of my bedroom. It was so *teeny* that I walked in and was puzzled trying to figure out where the rest of the room was. Luckily Trena and I didn’t have to share as originally planned because the room could not have held both of our suitcases. But, you were hardly in the room so it barely mattered.

Thanks to Darci and Marie-Christine, I rewashed my clothes a few times with vinegar and borax and am odor free! I’m also tracking down Biz on another commenter’s suggestion.

Toby asked how windy was it. Well, it’s windy! It’s true Holland is relatively flat. But, the wind can make cycling hard.

I managed not to ride on the super windy day (I rode the boat into Amsterdam so I would have time to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum and the Rijksmuseum). But, I got a feel for it biking and I was glad I didn’t have my cape. I could just see myself blowing across the road in to a canal like a sailboat!

Weather: I was cold at night and by the end of the trip wished I had brought an actual coat with a scarf. Brrrr.

Riding: Well, I rode five out of the seven days and did fine. I was only sore on one day. I was in the middle of the pack of riders. And, oddly enough was more comfortable the times I had to ride in the street with cars than I was on the bike path. I guess that’s what I’m used to! I did ride to and from work on Friday and it was the first time I wasn’t wiped out and breathless on my all uphill ride home. So, I guess I did actually get some conditioning in while I was gone.

Now, on to the meat of this post!

I cannot express to you how many bicycles there are in Holland. And, how everyone, and I mean everyone rides one. In fact, there are 16 million bikes in the Netherlands and 16.5 million people. So seriously, everyone has a bike. I asked Sigrid when do children start learning to ride and she said, ‘As soon as they can walk!”

There are barges to carry bicycles and cars across the canals


Here is the bicycle parking lot


What makes the Netherlands an ideal biking country is the intricate bicycle network and infrastructure. Here’s an example

Above, you can see seperate signage pointing bicycles in the right direction and telling you how far something is

There are certain elements to Dutch (Oma) bike that I wanted in my new bike (the Trek Allant). These included fenders, stepthrough frame and an upright position. My actual Gazelle bike in the Netherlands was so heavy I actually could not lift it. But, because of the non hilly terrain you wouldn’t event know.

Prior to my trip I ordered several panniers (one set not pictured) that Sigrid kindly agreed to accept delivery of for me. They were on sale there and with the free shipping ended up being almost half the price as they are here in the US.

These has enclosed clips that allow me to easily attach them to my back rack.

This summer I’ll make some skirt gaurds too.

These prevent your skirt or coat from getting caught in the back wheel

And now, I have got to start working on a dress for the Seersucker Social in DC. Just two weeks away!


  1. Wow, that looks like a great time! Would have been really nice to see some shots of you on your bike trail too!

  2. Where’s the next bike trip – Copenhagen? That’s another one of the places I want to go to bike. I clicked on the Seersucker Social link and watched the lovely video. OMG – how I wish we had something like that here, but I think you need a certain size population of the young and hip to do something like this. What fun!

  3. Thanks for the posts on your trip. Love the photos, your commentary on food and bicycles and meeting up with sewing friends. My husband’s family is from Holland so it’s interesting to see what the place looks like. The Seersucker social looks like a lot of fun also! Looking forward to seeing your dress. And by the way, filming has started on season four of Being Erica. Yeah!

  4. I have been really enjoying your posts about biking in the Netherlands. You pretty much took my dream vacation. I have a dutch bike, outfitted with north american components and I would take it everywhere if I could. Recently, because my kids are old enough to hold on, I have started taking the box off the front and taking them places on the front rack. So very fun!

    Here is a photo…

  5. My friend Wilma was born in the Netherlands. She walks everywhere here, but when she visits home, she gets right back on a bike. We Americans are certainly wasteful, aren’t we? Many Montanans bike, but many don’t. I live too far from things (20 miles) to make biking practical, but wish I lived closer. Montana is sadly lacking in public transportation, too. The bigger towns have basic bus systems, but they don’t cover enough ground yet.

  6. I knew that the Netherlands was good for bike vacations but I did not know about the combinations with the boats.
    Thanks for charing!

  7. Great posts . . . makes me wish I had more time to spend in Amsterdam when I’m there on business next month! Love the panniers . . . I might look for them while I’m there and bring one or two back home with me.

  8. Oh you haven’t let me down at all – that’s a fine barge photo! (and James has since informed me that our Hendrik used to do cycling and hiking trips in addition to kayaking, too)

    And I love those panniers, I’ve never seen such stylish ones! All those in the UK are the basic solid colours and design…

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