- New Zealand
- The Queen Charlotte TrackMountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds
- History on the Heaphy
- Suppressing the Competitive UrgeMountain biking in Malborough
- Northern ExposureMountian biking the Coromandel
- Hurunui Hot SpringsWinter mountain biking to Hurunui Hut in the Lake Sumner Forest Park.
- Craigieburn Conservation ParkMountain Biking Craigieburn
- The Brevet ClubGuy and Laurence recount the suffering and intrigue of the inaugural Kiwi Brevet... a 1100km mountain bike race around the top half of the South Island over six days. Informal with self-enforced rules, no entry fee, unsupported, and... well, hard.
- Wharfedale TrackThis is arguably the best and longest stretch of single track in Canterbury
- Double FencelineThis classic trip snakes along the summit ridge of Banks Peninsula.
- One Night StandsOvernight mountain biking trips in the South Island
- Fool's GoldMountain biking in Central Otago
- All that Glistens... the Croesus and Moonlight Gold TrailsMountain biking on the South Island's West Coast
- Otago GoldMountain biking - Bannockburn, Central Otago
- Loop de LoopGreat mountain biking can be found in most corners of this flat earth and New Zealand boasts its fair share of classics.
- Magnetic WestMulti-day mountain biking, Kaikoura to the Tasman sea
- Romping Round the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough
- Rambling Around the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough, Arapawa and D'Urville Islands
- Off the Beaten Track An off road traverse of the South Island on mountain bikes
- At Peace with PureoraMountain biking around the Pureora Forest in the Central North Island
- Taranaki for NeophytesMountain biking in Taranaki
- South Pacific
- West meets EastAfter riding all morning through the tail of a typhoon, we didn't want to slosh into a Japanese restaurant in that state. I tried drying out by standing under the vent outside the kitchen. I got no drier, but now I smelled of noodles...
- Tien Shan TraverseWhat do you do in the middle of the mountains when two large, thuggish Chinese men get out of a car and stride purposefully towards you? You smile and say thank you for the stale bread and peaches they are offering you!
- One Gear, One Continent, One Hero.Hero Cycles is the world's largest manufacturer of bikes, spitting out a whopping six million a year. You're unlikely to find one at your local bike shop but as any seasoned traveller can attest, they are the 'people's car' of India.
- Laid-back LaosMountain bike touring in Laos
- The Road to MandalayCycle touring in Myanmar
- Vietnam on Thirty Dollars a DayCycle touring in Vietnam
- A Short Ride in the Hindu Kush Cycle touring in Pakistan
- On a Wheel and a Prayer FlagCycle touring in Tibet
- Shanti Shanti - Across the Himalaya by BikeCycling across the Himalayas
- Biking the Hidden HimalayaCycle touring in North West India
- Pedalling Patagonia"Wow! Amazing! You're cycling to the bottom of South America. Is it all downhill?" Alan and I looked at each other in amusement and suggested that we expected a few uphill sections.
- Cycling Cuba with Fidel and Ché
- Dirt Roading in Colombia'The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay', promises Colombia's latest tourist advertising slogan, printed over glossy photos of idyllic Caribbean coastlines, perfectly preserved colonial towns, rolling, lush coffee plantations and a Latin couple dancing hot cumbia.
- Famous Potato Recipes from Idaho
- My Private Idaho
- Donde Estan Los Pollos
- Alaska - the Last Frontier The Alaskan Iditasport Human Powered Ultramarathon
- In Search of Maple Syrup and a Decent National Anthem Mountain biking in Canada
- All You Can EatMountain Biking in Northern California
- Caffeine and Singletrack in the USA Mountain biking in South West Colorado
- Bici Dolomiti Cycle touring around Italy and the Dolomites
- A Slice of Swiss CheeseMountain biking in Switzerland
- London Calling The London Cycle Show
- Stairway to Heaven - biking Spain's Camino de SantiagoCycle touring in Spain
- Albania for BeginnersIn the summer of 2009, our route from Greece to Germany crossed the small country of Albania...
- Fat Tyre Touring in ItalyCycle touring through Italy.
- Corsica- touring the scented isleCycling in the Mediterranean
- A Scottish Coast to CoastCycle touring in Scotland
- Crouching Tiger - Cycling Ireland's South West Coast Cycling Ireland's South West Coast
- The Italian Job Mountain biking around Lake Garda
- Double DutchA cycle tour of the Netherlands.
- A Rather Big Swedish RaceMountain bike racing in Sweden
- French ConnectionCircumnavigating Mont Blanc on the "Sentier Pedestre" hiking trail.
- A Month in Provence Cycle touring in the South of France
- A French PilgrimageTouring with the Tour de France
- End to End, the Long WayCycle touring in Great Britain
- Steve's SabbaticalCycle touring in France
Steve van Dorsser, UnderGround Issue Issue 23 June 2000
Updated 29 June 2011Xmas promises should never be taken too seriously, so I was somewhat surprised when my parents followed up on my bleary eyed suggestion of a cycle tour of the Netherlands. The idea was to embark on a pilgrimage to the haunts of Dad's youth - the more mature party members as tour guides and us youth as packhorses. Giddy-up!
There is no better way to ease yourself out of jetlag and into holiday mode than a few days cruising the fleshpots of Amsterdam. There are more coffee shops, art galleries and museums than pubs on the West Coast. And to make life easier, most Dutch people speak English (some arguably better than we do) making it easy to order a beer or any other sensory indulgence you feel the need for.
The Dutch are to cycling what Nashville is to country music and Amsterdam is a kind of nirvana for urban cyclists... dedicated bike paths crisscross the city and everyone rides a bike. Thousands of singlespeed clunkers line up outside railway stations patiently awaiting the return of their masters, and along suburban streets bikes are shackled to anything that doesn't move. The network of cycle paths covers the whole country and is so extensive that you could easily map out four or five different 500-600km tours without retracing your tracks. Detailed maps and descriptions of cycle routes are (paradoxically) available from the Dutch Automobile Association (ANWB). They also have the good oil on camping - a favourite pastime for the Dutch. Prices are reasonable and the facilities over-the-top. Alternatively you could score a Natuurkamping card (through the ANWB) - and enjoy smaller, more rustic campgrounds.
Amsterdam is the obvious place to start a tour of the flat lands. We did three ten-day trips ... the first through the small fishing villages north of Amsterdam, the traditional cheese market in Alkmaar and then up into Friesland. The second took us into the centre of the country, taking in De Hoge Veluwe National Park and the Kröller-Müller Museum with its amazing collection of 20th Century Art (including 278 Van Goghs). We then headed out into the castle region of the Achterhoek near Germany and back through Utrecht - a University town that rivals Amsterdam for canals, funky back streets and outdoor cafes. Our final tour took us south to the islands of Zeeland and Oude Tonge - homeland for the van Dorsser clan.
Flat land riding is not everyone's glass of Heineken, but with facilities like these it's difficult not to be seduced just a little. Returning to reality, we pedalled south for a few days into Belgium and then east into the Ardenne region for a week or so. Goodbye bike paths and hello hills. The Ardenne is a series of semi-forested plateaus divided by rivers and rising to a high point of about 700m. Belgium is one of the most fought over pieces of dirt in Europe, and because of its topography the Ardenne has seen some pretty ugly battles ... the "Battle of the Bulge" being the most notable. Museums and memorials dot the area giving budding historians ample opportunity to bone up on one of Europe's blackest hours. The cycling is amazing, nice quiet roads and woody scenery. Most villages have cheap hotels. Although campgrounds don't litter every intersection, there are enough around to make camping stress free. Mountain biking is popular - the small town of Houffalize hosted a world cup race last year.
Consumption is never far from one's mind when cycling, and the food in Belgium is fabulous - combining the best of Flemish and French cuisine at reasonable prices. Fortunately a couple of hills a day keeps the battle of the bulge at bay. The Ardenne is famous for game dishes but not a haven for vegetarians. Choose from hare, venison, wild boar, duck or pheasant. Ardenne ham is also world famous and there's plenty of amusement with smoked sausages of all shapes and sizes. And of course there is Belgian beer. We ain't talking Lion Red here, it's the full noise variety available in a multitude of flavours, styles and potencies. Most is brewed by men of the cloth in monasteries dotted around the hills. I can leave the raspberry numbers myself but give me a Trappist and I'm a happy lad.
If none of this spins your whizzer, there's always chocolate. With an annual consumption of around 600,000 tonnes, it's no surprise the Belgians have figured out how to make the good cake. Even if you don't fancy it yourself, sending a box home to mum should keep you on the Xmas card list.
The Nitty Gritty> Fly in and out of Amsterdam's Schipol Airport - bike paths (more-or-less) start at the luggage carousel!
> Unlike other parts of Europe it's no hassle to drag your bike along with you on Dutch trains. Score yourself a Ground Effect Body Bag or Tardis from Ground Effect - it makes these transition moves a breeze.
> Score the cycle route guides for the Netherlands (Landelijke Fietsroutes) from an ANWB (the Dutch AA) store in any town - there's one map for the North and one for the South. Or plan ahead and buy mail order from: Stichting Landel cololijke Fietsplatform, Postbus 846, 3800 AV Amersfoort, Netherlands. Fax: ++31 33 4654377
> The standard and essential resource for Europe is the Michelin 1:200,000 Maps: Netherlands # 210 & 211; Belguim # 213 & 214
> I'm a fan of the Michelin (green) Tourist Guide Book (English edition). One covers the Netherlands and another Belgium. And gastro freaks will need the (red) Hotel and Restaurant guide (Benelux version).
> A useful book is Cycling the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg by Katherine and Jerry Widing.
> Exchange rates. You get around 1.2 Dutch Guilders or 20 Belgian Francs for each kiwi dollar
> Times to visit:
May - if you want to see tulips and the spring flower bloom.
July to Aug. - high summer but a bit congested with other tourists.
Sept. - for more temperate "biking" weather, autumnaurs and fewer crowds.