Tag Archives: Holland

AMSTEL LOOP RIDE – 44 km of pleasure mingled with pain

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The Amstel Gold race, perhaps the Netherlands’ most important cycling event, is on TV today. My modest ride along the Amstel River wouldn’t qualify as ‘gold'; it was more ‘aluminium alloy’ class.

But it wasn’t raining, the sun was making an effort to break through, and I needed to get some serious kilometres in before the Classico Boretti cycling event exactly three weeks from now.

Either my Brooks saddle or my rear end has changed shape since they were last in contact seven months ago. They’re no longer a perfect match. My loop was hard work, and that gave me an excuse to stop and admire the scenery along the way. Continue reading

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A KINGDOM FOR A BICYCLE

Richard Tulloch:

I’m an avowed republican in Australia. Nothing personal, your majesty Queen Liz, though you and your family don’t interest me all that much. I just think we should have an Australian as head of state and get rid of that anomalous Union Jack in the corner of our outmoded flag.

I have less problem with the Dutch having a royal family to reign over them. At least they’re Dutch and people rather like them. Okay, they may be one of the richest royal houses of Europe, but they’re not above going for rides on the bike, at least for photo ops. That prejudices them in my favour.

Well reigned, Queen Bea, and good luck and happy riding King Willem-Alexander.

And thanks, Mark Wagenbuur of Bicycle Dutch, for another post on your excellent blog.

Originally posted on BICYCLE DUTCH:

It is a historic day in the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced she will abdicate in favour of her son after a 33 year reign. This is in line with Dutch tradition, the Netherlands does not have a tradition that the monarch rules until death. So on April 30th 2013, the Netherlands will have a new head of state: King Willem-Alexander.

Queen Beatrix

Queen Beatrix on a bicycle

It was also announced that Queen’s Day, so far celebrated on April 30th, the birthday of the mother of Queen Beatrix, will from 2014 on be celebrated on the new King’s actual birthday, April 27th, and from then on be called King’s day. This was very unexpected and that will take some getting used to! No more Queen’s Day Cycling!

Dutch Royal Family 2012

The Dutch Royal Family in 2012. Prince, to be King Willem-Alexander, Princess, to be Queen Máxima and their three daughters, Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: THANKFUL – spring in Holland

The Keukenhof Gardens – tulips by the million

Few people celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but it coincided with us taking advantage of the cheaper Earlybird flights to Europe.

We booked our tickets back to Amsterdam this week, and will arrive there with the spring 2013. That’s something to be thankful for, and to celebrate with a few shots in this Weekly Photo Challenge.

We’re gratefully looking forward to… Continue reading

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WORLD’S WORST HOTEL – and proud of it

Part of Hans Brinker’s advertising campaign.

Bragging about your luxurious stay in a six-star hotel won’t make people jealous; they’ll think you’re crass, unimaginative and richer than you deserve to be.

Brag about your worst hotel experiences and you establish yourself as an intrepid traveller, a courageous citizen of the world.

Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Budget Hotel is playing up its credentials as the world’s worst accommodation, hoping to attract the brave, the curious and those looking for an impressive traveller’s tale.

Could it really be as bad as the website suggests? Continue reading

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MIND THE GAP (and watch your head)

Anecdotal evidence: If I hadn’t been wearing my helmet, my hair may have been messed up too.

The most divisive topic in Australian cycling circles is no longer ‘Did Lance dope?’ Now that one’s been so sadly settled we can get back to our favourite controversy – ‘Should helmets be compulsory?

Here I go, head first over the handlebars into the hornets’ nest…

If you wear a helmet in Holland you’re a show-off. If you don’t wear one in Australia you’re a bloody idiot – possibly literally. Continue reading

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HOLLAND BY BIKE AND BARGE

The barge, ‘Holland’, and its intrepid crew getting ready for a great day’s riding.



As I’m going to be chained to a desk and a computer for the next few weeks, I’ll take the chance to look back on some of the highlights of the travel year to date.

Our time in Holland started with a great little trip by barge and bike though the classic Dutch countryside…

For forty years, the grimy little barge Germa carried sand around Dutch canals. Then someone decided that carrying tourists would be more fun, and perhaps more lucrative too. So in the 1960s Germa was given a total makeover, with guest cabins built inside and a coat of cheerful paint outside. They changed Germa’s name too, to the more appealing Holland.

Now proud skipper John and cycling guide Marcel lead people on leisurely canal cruises, along the way taking their guests on bikes, to pedal round those Dutch icons – tulips, clogs, windmills and cheese. Continue reading

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SCHIPHOL AIRPORT–the art of being the best

IMG_4616If there’s a better airport than Schiphol for pre-flight culture anywhere in the world, I’d be very interested in seeing it.

At most of the world’s airports, time before or between flights is spent aimlessly browsing the duty free shops, converting currencies in your head and trying to calculate how much you could save by buying a bottle of whisky or an iPad case you don’t need.

The rule about using up local currency before you fly out is that whatever takes your fancy, be it a camera or a cup of coffee, it will always cost 5 cents more than the amount you still have jingling in your pocket. Continue reading

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