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Advice for mid-April Netherlands tulip bike tour

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Oct 15th, 2015, 03:59 PM
  #1
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Advice for mid-April Netherlands tulip bike tour

I am thinking about putting together a five to seven day bike trip through various tulip regions for April 2016. I'm fat and out of shape, but it's flat and we won't be doing many miles every day. We'll probably be arriving by ferry, so I can start in either The Hague or Leiden. My thinking is that we will start in Leiden and buy used bicycles.

I have an idea of what we might do for our first few days, namely start in Leiden, buy used bicycles, bike to Keukenhof and spend the night. Be at Keukenhof at rope drop the next morning, then on to Haarlem for the night. Two nights in Amsterdam. (or maybe skip the night in Haarlem).

Okay, now I'm a little lost. I want to go through Flevoland and think I want to end up in a community called Emmeloord. I really don't know much about the Netherlands in general, but this is just an area about which I know nothing. Also, is the area around Emmeloord more heavily planted with tulips than the rest of Flevoland? I've seen a tulip route maps that just criss-crosses the region, and if so, would I be better off just taking a train to Emmeloord and spending all our time there rather than biking from Amsterdam? Any towns we ought to stay in on the way?

One final question. Is is safe to bike from Haarlem to Amsterdam, and likewise to bike out of Amsterdam to the east? Or should we take a train until we get out of the city? I know a lot of people bike, but I just don't want to get caught in a traffic snarl.

Any advice is solicited, and I do hope PalenQ sees this!
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Oct 15th, 2015, 09:03 PM
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Here is my photolog of a bike trip from Haarlem to Keukenhof some years back. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/travelog/Keukenhof2008.htm. You'll see this in reverse with your plans. That much bike riding when you are out of shape can bring on muscle aches. There is a good little "coffee shop" at the Botermarkt in Haarlem where you can get a joint to ease the pain.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 01:07 AM
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I was born in Emmeloord. And I around there two years ago from Sneek i Friesland, through the Noordoostpolder to Lelystad. I also biked from Rotterdam to Dronten in Flevoland, adjacent to Noordoostpolder.

I'm a fairly well trained long distance cyclist, and I have a bike especially for that purpose. Which is why I'll state that while biking around Leiden and the Keukenhof, Haarlem and such is perfectly feasible, your plan of biking to Noordoostpolder to see the tulips there is really ill advised.

I can tell you from experience that biking through Flevoland is pretty boring and it's almost impossible if the wind is against you. To give an idea, on my tour through Flevoland, I had the wind dead against me from Ketelbrug to Lelystad, which is about 20 km. Took me 3 hours and I was exhausted afterwards. No fun at all. Cycling into headwinds for a long time is psychologically draining, far more than doing hills, because against the wind there never is the reward of going down hill.

Your best bet is to take public transport to Emmeloord and rent bikes there. This is a bit involved as you take a train to Lelystad and a bus from there to Emmeloord. I love that landscape, having grown up there, but it's straight lines on a grand scale.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 01:33 AM
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There are some secondhand bicycle shops here in Leiden. Budget Bike is a popular one.
From Leiden to Haarlem is the classical bulb region. Stay in Haarlem. It's so much nicer than Amsterdam.
Flevoland is, as commented above, not the most exciting part of the Netherlands.
Why not continue from Haarlem to Alkmaar? Around there you find another bulb region. I don't know anything about it, but this might give you a hint:
http://english.bloeiendzijpe.nl/pg-2...gina/home.html
While you're around there, you should end your trip in Hoorn. Lovely historical town, and the route from Alkmaar gets you through a most Dutch landscape.
It's good to know that you can always transport your bicycle on the train. You must buy a »bicycle ticket» at some EUR 6.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 01:52 AM
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This bicycle route planner en.routeplanner.fietsersbond.nl/#?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_term=Fietsrouteplanner&utm_campaign=Grants&gclid=CN_o4ajNxsgCFaIIwwodzGkFdQ might come in handy. It shows the roads with a separate bicycle path and ferries for the occasional waterway you've to cross.
A few kilometres north of Haarlem you've got the village of Spaarndam, famous for the story of Hans Brinkers. It's a good stop for coffee or whatever you want.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 01:52 AM
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That link doesn't seem to work: http://en.routeplanner.fietsersbond....FaIIwwodzGkFdQ
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Oct 16th, 2015, 02:38 AM
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You could take your bikes on the train and cycle from Lelystad. Many of the bulbfields are on the way to Emmeloord, but that is quite a ride still.

There is a cycle route set out every year around the Noordoost Polder. Mid April may be a bit early to see the bulbs at that best, certainly this year they were not yet in bloom at the start of the festival when we went, but the route is set out from 15 April to 8 May next year.
You can get a copy of the route online, or at the VVV in Emmeloord nearer the time.

www.vvvnoordoostpolder.nl

http://www.stepnop.nl/TULPENFESTIVAL
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Oct 16th, 2015, 02:40 AM
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If you decide to cycle it consider taking the Oostvaardersdijk route through Flevoland - at least you will have something to look at on the way, but the wind may not be much fun!
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Oct 16th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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Thank you all for the advice. It looks like I will be avoiding the route through Flevoland, although we might just take our bikes to Emmeloord by train and bike around there a bit.

I'm still in the early planning stages and haven't even bought my plane ticket (although I may today). I think I'm going to push back a week to later April. This won't be too late for the south bulbs, and will give the north tulips a chance to bloom.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 09:25 AM
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Emmeloord isn't on a railway line and you can't take your bike on the bus.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 11:00 AM
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A good ride would go between Haarlem and Leiden - right by the Keukenhof and thru miles of undulating flowers not just tulips.

and yes there are bike paths between Amsterdam and Haarlem but they follow busy roads at times and winds can be tough along the water - not the best biking IMO.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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bike to Keukenhof and spend the night>

Lisse is a sweet small regional town just a few kms from the Keukenhof - Sassenheim is not too far either. and yes riding north or west is always a better idea as the winds tend to blow that way off the North Sea.

as for biking east out of Amsterdam - again bike paths everywhere - getting out of Amsterdam itself can be a bit of a problem as bike routes are often on urban streets that can be quite busy but safe if not the most pleasant. Putting bikes on trains costs about $10 I think for a Fiets Card - unlimited trains for the bike per day.

I am not familiar with your other region biking.

Haarlem is a neat town and biking into it from the south is fine.

Some bike shops may offer a sell and buy back program for used bikes.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 11:26 AM
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and keep your biking days flexible - after leading bike trips there for years (long ago) the weather in spring especially can be very fickle - rain and or wind or mist is not unusual - bring very good rain gear. It could be sunny and somewhat warm but more often cool and damp - note the green moss growing on trees!
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Oct 16th, 2015, 05:25 PM
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I have booked my flights. We're actually going to fly into Copenhagen, as I was able to get a MEM-CPH business-class fare for $1,600. I figure we'll give Copenhagen a day or two and then fly down to Amsterdam and go straight to Leiden.

I do think we'll follow up on the advice to explore the area north of Haarlem, by biking on to Alkmaar. At least that will be the tentative plan. Our trip is for April 22-May 1, so based on prior years we should be able to see a good variety of flowers in bloom even if they are late or early. And if we need to change our plans due to weather or otherwise, we will.
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Oct 19th, 2015, 10:27 AM
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Haarlem to Alkmaar is exceedingly nice through the dunes: the only boring stretch is getting out of Beverwijk, but after that it's plain sailing again. It's also convenient because your route meanders north along the trainline from Beverwijk to Alkmaar, so if you've had enough it's easy to get back to Haarlem and Leiden. If you turn east a little bit after Castricum, you reach Alkmaardermeer, an inland lake. The De Woude island is a very special place to explore.

https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Alk...8d1e7470?hl=en

http://www.dewoude.net/
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