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Also see:
A view from the cycle path - blog about cycling in the Netherlands
Hembrow Cycling Holidays - Quiet cycling tours in beautiful Drenthe. H.G.Wells - Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia

The Winter Warmer

Cycling in a northern climate in winter can be a challenge. Rumour has it that it rains, snows and can be quite unpleasant. What better time for a short cycling break ?

As any cyclist knows, winter can actually be a fabulous time to cycle. You keep warm, vary your speed and distance according to conditions and visit warm cafes and restaurants.

We are running a "Winter Warmer" in Drenthe, the Netherlands over the long weekend of Friday 9th January to Monday 12th January 2009. Drenthe is the Cycling Province of the Netherlands, and the ideal location for such a ride because it is always a pleasure to cycle here. We will also cross the border to the neighbouring provinces of Groningen and Friesland.

We'll be riding to cosy cafes and visiting all you can eat restaurants.

Our rides will be along bike paths and through woods. Along dikes and across bridges. To farms and monuments.

Because this tour is aimed at keen cyclists who have an interest in the environment for cycling, there will also be a short form of the Study Tour presentation, and some discussion of infrastructure design will be a part of this tour.

We will have a fixed base for the weekend, so the bikes will be lightly loaded.

The rides

This holiday is aimed at cyclists who would like to do something a little different over winter, who would like to get a bit of exercise in pleasant surroundings. Perhaps you've holidays that need using up. We'll cover daily distances of up to around 65 km / 40 miles a day at a steady but not fast pace. It is not a race and we won't be leaving anyone behind.

Exactly which destinations we visit and how far we go will depend on the people who come along and on the weather. Possible destinations include:

  • The city of Groningen
  • Kamp Westerbork
  • Hunebedden
  • A distillery
  • Pancake house
  • Poffertjeskraam (poffertjes are small pancakes served by the plateful with sweet and sometimes alcoholic toppings)
  • Cafes, cafes, cafes, and restaurants too

We will expect to ride on every day, but of course it is also possible to take a day off if you prefer.

Why here at this time of year ?

We can't offer the best January weather in the world, but we can offer the best conditions for cyclists at any time in the year. Cyclists are really taken care of in the Netherlands. Facilities are excellent for cycling, and they're very well maintained. Look out for vehicles de-icing the cycle paths.

Cafes which cater for cyclists remain open through winter and are very welcoming to cyclists who want to warm up.

Winter in 2007/2008 was spectacularly pleasant. All the photos on this page (excluding that at the top) were taken during the winter of 2007/2008. The photo of me cycling alongside the canal was taken during a 60 km ride on the 13th of January 2008. There was enough of a chill to need a wooly hat, but the conditions for cycling were wonderful.


Bicycles

If you bring you own bicycle, in order that that the holiday goes without any snags we ask that you please make sure in advance that it is well maintained, possibly by asking a bike shop to service the bike. Also, we ask that you carry with you any required spare parts and that you consider how you will carry your day luggage on the bike.

We expect experienced cyclists to be most likely to bring their own bikes. However, we can also help with hire bicycles, which will have 3 -7 gears, a rack and mudguards, and an upright position. These will be fine for the distances and speeds that we will be cycling.

Any style of bike is welcome but we recommend having some means of carrying luggage and having mudguards - as much to keep muck off those you're riding with as to keep it off yourself !

We're not mountain bike style "off road" riders and prefer to ride on concrete and tarmac road surfaces. Touring tyres are most suitable for comfortable and efficient riding in these conditions. However, if you wish to ride a mountain bike, that's up to you.

About us

Judith and David Hembrow are both experienced British cycle tourists who have toured extensively in both the UK and the Netherlands (Links to webpages about some of our previous tours are at the end of this page).

We previously lived in Cambridge in the UK. We were charmed by the people of the Netherlands on several holidays and delighted by the ease of cycling in this country. That's why we moved here.

Background to Assen

The rate of cycling in Assen is nearly 40% of all journeys.

Click for photos of cycling conditions in Assen.

Assen is the capital of Drenthe, the "cycling province" of the Netherlands. It's a great place for cycling. It is never necessary to ride on a busy road and the bike paths are of such high quality that you never feel you're being palmed off as a second rate citizen.

Anything Else ?

We won't be in an horrendous hurry. We will start each day after leaving plenty of time for breakfast, we'll stop somewhere nice for coffee & lunch and return to the hotel in plenty of time for an evening meal.

If you have special dietary needs, such as being a vegetarian or vegan, we can help. Just let us know.

How to book

Please book with us before booking your transport. When you book your transport you will need to travel to Assen on Thursday 8th of January and travel back on Monday 12th of January. The holiday includes accommodation for four nights (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

The Winter Warmer costs per participant to include four nights of accomodation in Bed and Breakfast accommodation. This doesn't include bicycle hire or an evening meal. A deposit of is required on booking and full payment one month in advance of the tour. You will need to arrange your own transport to and from Assen and will need to pay for lunch, evening meals, bicycle hire, and any other small expenses.

Please contact us directly by email, or click on ONE of the paypal buttons below:

Winter Warmer deposit of .
You will be asked for the remainder of the payment by a month before the tour.

Winter Warmer advance payment of saving .
There is nothing more to pay.

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Please contact us directly by email.



Links to information about some of our previous cycle tours:

John o'Groats to Land's End - 2006.

Holiday in Lincolnshire - 2000.

Netherlands holiday with children - 2003.

Netherlands cycle racing holiday - 2002 & 2003.

Netherlands Cycling Study Tour - 2006

Click for information on our other tours...