Gazelle Bicycles Australia is organising, "The Netherlands Bicycle Study/Social Tour 2011". The aim of this trip is to experience how the Dutch have integrated cycling into everyday life and how we in Australia could learn from the '#1 Cycling Nation in the World'. This trip is especially encouraged for people who are involved in implementing cycle policies and infrastructure projects in Australia like councils, government officials and members of cycling clubs and organisations. If you have a passion for all things cycling and want to join us for a trip of learning and fun then you are most welcome to join!
When? 10th - 23nd May 2011 (13 nights, 14 Days)
How many people? Maximum 30
General structure of the trip? The idea of the trip is to learn while enjoying ourselves at the same time. In our opinion, a bicycle trip through The Netherlands is one of the best trips you can have! The bicycle infrastructure is the best in the world and makes even the most novice cyclist feel safe. We will have predetermined accommodation stops for you to stay the night. The stops are chosen in towns famous for bicycle use and for beauty. There will be small villages through to bigger cities and everything in between. Whether you ride with the group, with your partner or by yourself is up to you. At each night stop you can choose to join other members of the group to share trip stories over dinner, spend the night exploring the town or resting...it is up to you! We would like to make the journey as personal as possible and we know that sometimes you will want to explore on your own. We have planned the trip so that routes between towns for the mo st part is also connected by train, so if you are feeling tired or the weather is unfavourable you can catch a train between stops.
Why? Australia has the potential be a great country for using the bike as a means of transport and for social purposes in many urban areas. Australia's bicycle infrastructure needs many improvements to fulfill its potential. The aim of the Dutch Study Tour is to experience and learn how an integrated approach to cycling policy can benefit all members of a community and improve quality of life and sustainability issues of a country. The Netherlands has the World's best bicycling infrastructure and therefore is the best place to learn the fundamentals of great cycling policies. Spending time on a bicycle in The Netherlands strongly reinforces the benefits of such an infrastructure and is a great way of personally experiencing the fantastic benefits Australia could reproduce if cycling was a fundamental element in the future transport and social mix.
How much? You must organise your own flight ticket to Netherlands. You will need to pay for all your own food, drinks and internal transport like train fares. I expect the trip will cost around $2,000, however this could change slightly depending on exchange rates. I don't plan on making any money on this trip so everything will be charged at cost. If you wish to join the group, we ask for a 25% non refundable deposit ($500) on booking and the balance to be paid 4 weeks prior to the trip.
What's included for the price? All accommodation, meetings and talks from Dutch bicycle planners and advocates (Through contacts at the Dutch bicycle union) in various towns and a tour of the Gazelle Factory.
What bicycle do we use? You will have a few options as for your bicycle;
1. You bring your own.
2. You can hire one from us. I plan to organise this through Gazelle and it will likely be a brand new touring style bike that will be picked up from Gazelle at the start of the journey. The bike would be something like this. Once the trip is finished I plan to add these hire bikes to our next container order with Gazelle and ship them back to Australia and sell them second hand. If you decide to purchase the bike while on the ride, I will take the hire charge off the cost of the bike and send it to you once it arrives in Australia. The hire charge will be $350 for the 2 weeks.
3. You can buy one. You can buy a brand new gazelle of your choice at cost price...in other words at a great deal! At the end of the trip we will send it back to Australia on a container and ship it to you once it arrives here. For quotes on a bike please contact Paul.
Tuesday 10th May
11am - We meet at the train station in Dieren, The Netherlands. Once everybody is together, we will walk to Gazelle HQ (500m walk) where we will be given a factory tour and pick our bikes up. We will stay in Eerbeek for the night.
*Please have a look at this website to view train timetables to Dieren - Dutch Train Timetable
Wednesday 11th May
Eerbeek to Zwolle (60km) - Our first day of the cycle tour will take us to Zwolle, a city with high cycle use.
Thursday 12th May
Zwolle to Assen via Giethoorn (70km) - Moving further north, we cycle to Assen, where 41% of journeys are by bike.
Friday 13th May
Assen - We plan to have a guided tour by world renowned bicycle blogger, David Hembrow.
Saturday 14th May
Assen to Groningen (27km) - We cycle to and stay for 2 nights at, "The world's #1 cycle city".
Sunday 15th May
Groningen - A free day for some R & R and to experience beautiful Groningen.
Monday 16th May
Groningen to Sneek (75km) - We cycle through the beautiful region of Friesland to our destination at Sneek (Prounouced 'Snake').
Tuesday 17th May
Sneek to Hindeloopen (28km) - For a taste of a really small authentic Dutch village we travel onwards to Hindeloopen.
Wednesday 18th May
Hindeloopen to Amsterdam (70km Cycle & 25km Ferry) - We travel by bike to catch the ferry for a relaxing lift across the 'IJsselmeer', the main body of water in The Netherlands and then cycle onto the cycling mecca that is Amsterdam.
Thursday 19th May
Amsterdam - A free day for some R & R and to experience Amsterdam.
Friday 20th May
Amsterdam to Utrecht (49km) - We leave Amsterdam to visit Utrecht. The plan is to visit the Fietsberaad, the Dutch centre for cycling policy. The objective of the Fietsberaad is the development, dissemination and exchange of practical knowledge and experience for cycling policy. We will be getting a talk from a representative from the organisation.
Saturday 21st May
Utrecht - We visit Houten, famous for being a model of sustainability and bicycle transport planning.
Sunday 22st May
Utrecht to Otterlo (55km) - We ride to the beautiful National Park, 'De Hoge Veluwe' and stay in the peaceful village of Otterlo.
Monday 23nd May
Otterlo to Dieren (30km) - Return to Gazelle at Dieren to pick up luggage and officially end the tour.