Travels Without my Bike

Oh blast blast blast. There I was happily planning my trip to the Netherlands (I know, I really know how to live it up on holiday – first chicken sitting, now infrastructure study tours). One can’t really go to the Netherlands and not cycle, so obviously the bike was going to go too. And fortunately, the trip would be an easy one. There’s a train that goes direct to Newcastle from Bigtown that doesn’t require booking for bikes and has space for up to 12 bikes on it, so the chances of there not being any room are pretty slim. And then from Newcastle to Amsterdam the ferry only charges a fiver each way for my bike and I can book a place online. And once in Amsterdam, well surely by now the Dutch have installed magic carpets or automatic bike-lane tailwind generators (or maybe just efficient trains you can take your bike on) to get us both to Assen without a problem. So it was all good.

Well, it was until I checked the trains to Newcastle, anyway. And saw that the dreaded bus-replacement-service-of-doom was operating every Sunday until the end of the summer or possibly the end of time. No space for bikes (or wheelchairs or bulky luggage for that matter). All my lovely plans scuppered. Bikeless in Holland* – oh the frustration.

Fortunately, I can rent one for the actual study tour, so I won’t be completely bikeless. And a sneaky thought – quickly suppressed – did occur to me. After all, there are plenty of bikes, proper actual Dutch bikes, in the Netherlands, they’re all around and probably available cheaply secondhand. The cost of renting by the day would soon add up making buying one almost sensible and there’d be no problem getting a bike back on the train…

Of course, we’ve been here before (and we’ve not got that one back from France yet either). And I don’t need another bike, let alone a heavy single-geared coaster-brake model designed for a country with rather fewer hills than we have. And I can’t really afford just to go buying bikes for the hell of it, even cheaply secondhand. So I won’t definitely won’t be buying myself a bike out there. Well, almost definitely.

Watch, as they say, this space.

*I know, I know, it’s the Netherlands, calling it Holland is like saying I live in England. Tell that to their own tourist board, that’s all I’m saying

7 Responses to Travels Without my Bike

  1. Jo says:

    But if it’s cheaper than renting…….. and you could always bring it back, posh it up and sell it on, thereby recouping your costs?

  2. disgruntled says:

    Unlikely to be actually cheaper, unfortunately.

  3. Amsterdamize says:

    what if I get you a bike that will work for your entire trip, for say 50-75 euros, you give it back to me & I’ll sell it again?

  4. Kim says:

    Weren’t saying something back, about how a bakfiets would be really useful? 😉

  5. Andy in Germany says:

    I was just thinking the same as Kim, but I fear a bak would be a tad heavy for your Scottish hills.

    Mind you, what if you hire one, just for a day? Bakfietsen are really built for segregated infrastructure, even if I do use the size of mine to ‘take the lane’ at times, so it would be an interesting case study how infrastructure not only helps people ride a regular bike but also how it helps people use bigger load carrying bikes to do things they’d otherwise have to use cars for.

  6. disgruntled says:

    Amsterdamize – tempting, the only difficulty might be I won’t want to give it back! Hmmm.
    Kim/Andy – I think a Bak would be distracting as the main purpose will be looking at the infrastructure and I gather they’ve got a bit of a learning curve. I’m actually looking forward to trying out a proper Dutch bike.

  7. […] Embassy of Great Britain Infrastructure-safari-to-end-all-infrastructure-safaris and it turns out I can take my bike after all.* This saves me renting a bike when I’m over there and, while I’m a little disappointed […]

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