Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

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mjr
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Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 17 Jan 2019, 3:46pm

There's a group of us going on tour and we've a number of options to choose between, all starting and finishing at the Hook of Holland overnight ferry. Four days riding. Mixed group from first-timers to grizzled veterans with years of touring. Easygoing, 60 miles/day the absolute limit, prefer 40. Likely to split up on some days if some people want to see one thing and others another, or some want a different speed, but we should all meet up again at the end of each day. Which basic route would you do? Would you amend any of these routes to go look at something interesting? All routes are mapped on https://cycle.travel/map/group/1236

1. Trains to Barvaux, then ride back via Durbuy, Liege (stop), Maastricht, Eindhoven (stop), Baarle, Breda (stop), Kil and Heinenoord Tunnels, Rotterdam
2. Ride to Groningen (coastal option via Urk if wind permits) and train back or vice-versa
3. Ride to Utrecht (stop) then Heemskerk (stop) then Den Helder to ride around Texel (stop), then train back, or vice-versa
4. Trains to Maastricht, then ride to Aachen (stop), the Vennbahn (stop) and Troisvierges (stop), then train back to near enough to ride back - or if we can't get enough accommodation, train back to near enough to ride back on the last day
5. Ride to Ijsselstein (stop), Arnhem (stop), to Emmerich and back to Arnhem (stop), then train back far enough to ride to the port
6. Ride to Breda (stop), Baarle, Eindhoven (stop), s'Hertogenbosch, Gorinchem (stop), Delft and back to the port
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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foxyrider
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby foxyrider » 17 Jan 2019, 6:30pm

So what do you want to see? Apart from Texel I don't see anything that interesting on any of those.

I did a five day tour south from Europoort (there's a ferry linking Hook with Europoort) a couple of years back and found some great little towns, museums, ferry rides and got down to the Belgian border. Something like that could easily be sorted out to 4 days.

OTOH you could go up to Alkmaar in a couple of days. Plenty of stuff to see, the motor museum north of Den Haag, the windmill museum at Vollendam, you could visit Gouda, Delft, ride the bike road through the Dunes etc, etc.

I'd try to avoid trains on such a short trip - they'll seriously eat into your riding time and even getting a group on them could be a headache.

IME the islands south are quieter than other areas of Holland and are great for mixed ability riders.
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 17 Jan 2019, 7:54pm

foxyrider wrote:So what do you want to see? Apart from Texel I don't see anything that interesting on any of those.

Personally, there's something for me on all of them: Texel on one, Baarle's bonkers borders on two others, the Vennbahn on another, and I've never visited Emmerich (our home town's twin) by bike or Groningen or Liège at all. I'm open to suggestions of detours if there's something near any of the routes, though.

foxyrider wrote:I did a five day tour south from Europoort (there's a ferry linking Hook with Europoort) a couple of years back and found some great little towns, museums, ferry rides and got down to the Belgian border. Something like that could easily be sorted out to 4 days. [...]
IME the islands south are quieter than other areas of Holland and are great for mixed ability riders.

Ah, I probably should have mentioned that we came in from the south two years ago (riding Dunkirk-Bruges-Flushing-Renesse-Futureland) and rode a square Hook-Keukenhof-Soest-Dordrecht-Hook three years ago.

foxyrider wrote:OTOH you could go up to Alkmaar in a couple of days. Plenty of stuff to see, the motor museum north of Den Haag, the windmill museum at Vollendam, you could visit Gouda, Delft, ride the bike road through the Dunes etc, etc.

Good to know about those sights. Thanks.

foxyrider wrote:I'd try to avoid trains on such a short trip - they'll seriously eat into your riding time and even getting a group on them could be a headache.

I'm slightly inclined that way too, but OTOH it does let us get to the Maastricht area that we couldn't otherwise. Most of us never have more than a long weekend to go cycle touring, hence using the overnight boat to stretch it.
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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby Wanlock Dod » 17 Jan 2019, 7:55pm

The Netherlands are great for a tour, but the best of the recreational riding is (in my opinion at least) not in the central bit near Amsterdam, and thus taking a train as far as somewhere like Utrecht (on a tour from the ferry at Ijmuiden) could open up the potential for more fun riding on more of the days that you are there, unless you stick to the seaside Eurovelo.

Don't avoid the city centres (although if you go to Utrecht it might be worth planning how you cross the railway), the best routes usually go radially, there will hardly be any cars in the middle, and you might get to see some cool old stuff.

I have certainly had a most enjoyable ride on a dyke around Rhenen and Wageningen, and the area generally to the North provides some excellent riding in woods, heathland, dunes and all sorts. Equally, whilst Flevoland never seems to sound that attractive actually riding there is great. You could easily spend 3 or 4 days in the area roughly bounded by Utrecht, Leylstad, Zwolle, and Nijmegen, and visit areas like the Utrecht Huvelrug and the Hoog Veluwe.

If you are in Eindhoven then the Van Gough Cyclepath is an absolute must (turn your lights off when you get there).

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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 17 Jan 2019, 7:59pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:If you are in Eindhoven then the Van Gough Cyclepath is an absolute must (turn your lights off when you get there).

http://www.vangoghvillagenuenen.nl/open ... path-.aspx - thanks.
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby IanBH » 21 Jan 2019, 3:23pm

I am planning my first solo expedition in June. Ferry to Hook of Holland then 4-5 days cycling near the west coast zig zag across the estuaries down to Breskens and to Dunkirk and ferry home.
I would welcome any tips or advice particulary places to stay and things to see but would I be better going from Dunkirk up ? I've read the prevailing wind is easier heading north.
Thanks.

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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby foxyrider » 21 Jan 2019, 4:40pm

IanBH wrote:I am planning my first solo expedition in June. Ferry to Hook of Holland then 4-5 days cycling near the west coast zig zag across the estuaries down to Breskens and to Dunkirk and ferry home.
I would welcome any tips or advice particulary places to stay and things to see but would I be better going from Dunkirk up ? I've read the prevailing wind is easier heading north.
Thanks.


It depends what you like to look at. Nice old towns, museums, windmills - there is plenty to see.

Some suggestions
Brielle
Hellevoetsluis
Zierikzee
Middelburg
Sluis

Railway museum at Goes and nearby a tractor museum
Tram museum on the Grevelingen barrier
Maritime museum at Hellevoetsluis
Many windmills are open to visit free on Sundays
Nature reserve at Breskens

I've used a Nice campsite at Oude Tonge and a more bijou affair at Middelburg.
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 22 Jan 2019, 11:45am

IanBH wrote:I am planning my first solo expedition in June. Ferry to Hook of Holland then 4-5 days cycling near the west coast zig zag across the estuaries down to Breskens and to Dunkirk and ferry home.
I would welcome any tips or advice particulary places to stay and things to see but would I be better going from Dunkirk up ? I've read the prevailing wind is easier heading north.
Thanks.

Good places to see not yet mentioned: Goederede, and Bruges isn't a big detour inland, while riding alongside the coast tram for a bit between Ostend and De Panne is different too.

Good places to stay: on a previous tour (route link on viewtopic.php?f=16&t=124246&start=75#p1311220 ), we stayed at Hotel Renesse (shed for bikes), Vlissingen City Hostel (had to leave the bikes in the bar, which might not always be possible - ask before paying), Snuffel Hostel Bruges (bike store room) and the hostel in Oostduinkerke (bike store room, but we overflowed into a corridor) but another tour we stayed at 't Moerlogie near Adinkerke (shed) which I preferred - but be aware that the gentleman speaks some English, but you may find life much easier with some Flemish or French, which was generally true in that area, but try English before French because argh Flemish nationalists ;-) . Palace Hotel in Poperinge (bikes in ballroom or gated yard) is good if you want to detour for the Ypres Menin Gate 8pm ceremony rather than hug the coast.

I understand that Eurovelo 4 has now been built between Bray Dunes and Loon Plage (and there's a canalside cycleway from Adinkerke to the border, then you're in the built-up areas - and IIRC over a thousand residents of Bray Dunes petitioned for the cycleway to be built sooner, so they should be reasonably friendly) so you don't need to ride the narrow cycle lanes on the D60 or D601 any more unless you want to. Also be aware that the friendliest entry to Dunkerque DFDS terminal is not signposted and a bit fiddly, but it's on my maps or described somewhere on here (search!)

As for which way to ride: we rode south to north in May but most of it was crosswind, occasionally head or tail.
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steady eddy
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby steady eddy » 22 Jan 2019, 12:22pm

Just take the foot ferry south over the river after you arrive and once through the industrial area you are out in to open country in about 20 minutes. After that head south and do the islands - the scenery and the little towns are wonderful. We did a week round there two years ago and booked all the accommodation mainly b and b's before we went, on Hotels.com. They were all excellent. It is all well signposted using numbers at the junctions. There are various maps and a whole of the Netherlands atlas showing the cycle routes and their numbers . If in doubt visit the Stanfords web site or their new London shop for details of available maps.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby Wanlock Dod » 22 Jan 2019, 5:56pm

Perhaps not very helpfully, I've noticed a couple of notable omissions that aren't included in any of your routes.

Firstly, the Eurovelo route between about Den Haag and Bergen makes for some spectacular riding through the dunes. It can be busy in good weather, especially a weekends, and could be fairly exposed if it is inclement.

Secondly, the Houtribdijk (has been closed to bikes lately) is another spectacular bit of riding in good conditions, as the cycle track is the other side of the dyke from the road (the Breezanddijk path is right next to a motorway with no view of the sea), but again would be exposed in poor conditions.

Both well worth consideration and probably not too hard to include in a short tour from the Hook of Holland.

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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 22 Jan 2019, 6:31pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:Firstly, the Eurovelo route between about Den Haag and Bergen makes for some spectacular riding through the dunes. It can be busy in good weather, especially a weekends, and could be fairly exposed if it is inclement.

I think we rode half of that in 2014. https://cycle.travel/map/group/1206 - I'm not opposed to including it if we get time, but it's not top of my list for that reason.

Secondly, the Houtribdijk (has been closed to bikes lately) is another spectacular bit of riding in good conditions, as the cycle track is the other side of the dyke from the road (the Breezanddijk path is right next to a motorway with no view of the sea), but again would be exposed in poor conditions.

Both well worth consideration and probably not too hard to include in a short tour from the Hook of Holland.

Thanks. Details of the Houtribdijk closures and the replacement bicycle shuttle seem to be at https://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/english/ ... px#content
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Re: Choosing a Hook of Holland tour

Postby mjr » 8 Feb 2019, 5:00pm

Thanks for your comments. Our winner is...
4. Trains to Maastricht, then ride over the three country corner (Vaalsberg) to Aachen (stop), the Vennbahn (stop) and Troisvierges and then transfer to Breda (stop) and ride back through the Kil and Heinenoord tunnels and Rotterdam to HvH.
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