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By Bike and Boat Through Holland & Belgium

20 Oct 2022

William Ness

A cycling friend had taken this trip in 2019 and recommended it highly so we thought we would try it. Our trip over 6 days would take us from Amsterdam to Bruges. We landed at Schiphol in Amsterdam and thanks to the excellent directions had no problem taking the local train to where the boat was moored. While we were originally to have started our cycle trip in Amsterdam but due to a mooring space conflict with one of the other Magnifique boats we travelled down river overnight and started our bike trip a little farther south than anticipated. However, this was compensated by being able to cycle around Bruges on the last day. There is so much to see and enjoy everywhere that the minor route change wasn’t a problem for us. We chose the Magnifique III, one of Boat Bike’s premium boats, and were very glad that we did. The accommodations were excellent and the food was outstanding. Great full breakfasts were provided every day. Guests would package their own lunches from the selection along with drinks in Tetra packs and candy/granola type bars. We were treated to exceptional gourmet dinners nightly. And when we came back from our day’s cycling there were always edible treats galore plus perpetual fresh coffee, tea and juice. Our two tour leaders, Tom and Esther, were great. They knew the routes by heart and the pace of about 15 km/hour was relaxed. Comfort stops were appropriately provided every hour to hour and a half. Lunch was either at a local park or café. The obliging café owners allowed us to sit and use their facilities in exchange for a coffee or beer. Everyone on the tour felt well looked after. We were perpetually impressed by the courtesy and competence of staff and how effectively all of them worked together to care for guests needs and keep things running smoothly. Even ship owner Walter pitched in. It was a most impressive display of personal commitment and teamwork. The bikes provided are the typical step-through steeds the locals commute and shop with daily. They’re heavy at around 50 lb, but very functional. At first sitting high on a bike with a very substantial weight over the handlebars and seat feels weird, but people quickly adjusted to the feel. Just don’t expect the performance you may be used to with your own road bike. This tour through Holland and Belgium is on very flat terrain, but you will certainly notice the effort necessary to push these heavy bikes up the occasional hills. Many participants who were older or more occasional cyclists rented the e-bikes and everyone we talked to about their choice was very happy with them. (We’re both 73 and managed fine on the regular bikes. We regularly cycle about 50-60 km one or two times a week, so were quite comfortable with the daily mileage.) Anticipate the daily cycling journey will be from about 9:00 to between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon and cover around 40 to 55 km. Daily we travelled through picturesque countryside and little towns, immersing ourselves in the scenery. For us North Americans, it was a journey through another world. Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience immensely. Most, but not all our compatriots came equipped with full cycling rain gear. While we were fortunate in that we experienced only 3 days of rain, we would strongly recommend bringing a good cycling rain jacket and pants. A jacket with a hood that fits over a helmet is valuable. Those that didn’t have this ended up putting their shower rain caps on their helmets, a cunning improvisation but not that effective. Knowing that we would likely be often cycling in the rain, before we left, we invested in Gore-Tex lined waterproof light hiking shoes and were always glad we did. Soggy running shoes take forever to dry and putting them on each morning isn’t our idea of fun. Oh, and do take your bathing suit. Soaking in the hot tub at the end of the day is wonderful. Our trip was in late September. We chose that time specifically to avoid having to cycle in the summer heat. The weather was pleasantly cool most of the time but do take a jacket or vest as it’s chilly when you start the day. Overall, it was an outstanding experience that we highly recommend for any cyclist. We hope to take another trip with Boat Bike Tours again.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 26 Oct 2022

Thank you, William Ness, I am very proud that we were able to meet your high expectations! Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely experience and advice with us. We are very pleased to have customers like you. We will do our best to make your future experience with us even better. Best, Romy

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