Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Netherlands' national Cycling Holiday Fair

When using my guidebook about cycling in Amsterdam and The Netherlands you'll find out that Dutch people love cycling. From 8 to 80; cycling is for everyone and many people long for cycling adventures beyond their own familiar cycling streets. Every year more than 20,000 people pay a visit to the nation's National Cycling and Rambling Fair.

What are they after? Lots of information and reassurance that their cycling holiday of this summer is going to be a good one! They want to talk with the people who create their cycle routes abroad and find out about tours that spark their imagination. A genuinely interested audience at an event run by genuinely keen cyclists is the greatest charm of this fair, unparallelled anywhere else in the world.

For five years, we attended with our own EOS Cycling Holidays, explaining about the thrilling Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route and how you can visit Stonehenge by bike with our Ancient South England Tour. "Cycling to the Olympics" was the main theme for 2012, as our London-Land's End Cycle Route took Dutch cyclists all the way from Hook of Holland to within a couple of miles from the London Olympic Park.

The "star of the show" every year though is Mr Frank van Rijn. If there is one person who deserves the name "Cycling Dutchman" it must be him. He started sabbatical journeys around the world before the word "sabbatical" was even invented and wrote 11 Dutch language books about his epic journeys up to 2012. Van Rijn is pictured here after being overtaken by other Dutch tourists in Uganda (courtesy of Visitors of the fair will crowd as always to listen to the man's latest humorous travel tales. A favourite quote of his is: Flying is not about making journeys, flying is skipping journeys.

There are more colourful characters on this fair. Cyclists Theo Jorna and Bert Sitters set up the well established platform of Dutch "world cyclists" to share their individual world cycling experiences years ago and have run the Cycling and Rambling Fair from its inception. Jorna and Sitters have seen this event grow ever since. From 2012 onwards, they also organise a similar fair in Belgium! Another intriguing regular is Eric Schuijt. He has cycled in more than 80 countries and runs his own specialised outdoor bike shop in Amsterdam. Naturally his stand gets visited by large crowds.

The main reason for people to visit though is the presence of the many small tour operators who specialise in cycling and walking holidays. National tourism organisations also make impressive displays, with countries as Germany and Switzerland occupying vast spaces of exhibition floor, Every year, a different country is in the spotlight of attention. In 2011 it was the turn for Norway. “By being the theme country, we were able to position Norway in a fantastic way as a brand. I think that a lot more people from the Netherlands will visit Norway in 2012 than in previous years" said Sofia Runn, marketing co-ordinator for Innovation at Norway Tourism (see picture).

We made numerous attempts to explain to various British tourism organisations the potential of this fair, as have the organisers of the fair themselves; all without success. My own EOS Cycling Holidays was the only representative for Britain on this fair for five consecutive years. A stand of 2 meters wide is all we could afford and every year, we had people literally queueing at our desk, hungry for cycling adventures in the UKVisit Yorkshire was present for a couple of years afterwards, but today, Britain remains unrepresented at this fantastic event; how this wonderful country keeps missing out! 

What about going for a traffic-calmed cycling holiday with one of my "Cycling Dutchman" guidebooks?

Cycling in  Amsterdam and The Netherlands - The very best routes in the cyclist's paradise makes you travel beyond Dutch cliches like clogs, windmills and the Amsterdam red light district, allowing you to truly explore the lowlands. The book features 1064 kms of routes and has special chapters explaining the unique Dutch cycling-minded traffic rules and its cycle route signage systems; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.

Buy it now and also receive GPS-tracks of all routes!

The London - Land's End Cycle Route Book is designed for those who LOVE cycling, but don't like traffic. The book takes you onto the most beautiful cycle routes of southern England, including the Camel Trail, Devon Coast to Coast Route, Bristol and Bath Railway path, Thames Valley route and many more! What makes the book unique is that the route is completely continuous, including detailed directions and local knowledge all the way. Get inspired; choose your favourite route sections or go for a full summer holiday adventure; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.

Buy it now and also receive GPS-tracks of all routes!

The Devon Coast to Coast is southern England's best developed cycle route. Traffic-free paths on former railway lines, such as the Tarka TrailGranite WayDrake's Trail and Plym Valley Way, allow you to explore Devon's stunning countryside at an easy pace. Whether you are young or old, fast or slow, the limited mileage and stunning countryside makes the Devon Coast to Coast an adventure suitable for all! If you love sightseeing from your bike, you can't go wrong with my latest guidebook; 40 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.