Lincolnshire 2000
Brighton HPV world championships 2001
Cyclevision 2002 / 2003
Netherlands 2003
Velorama 2005
Land's End to John O'Groats 2006
Netherlands 2010





Also see:

The Dutch Bike Bits blog includes comparisons and reviews of cycling components.

The Hembrow Cycling Holidays blog has stories about cycle routes in Drenthe.

We organize Study Tours to show off the best cycling infrastructure in the world.

Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velorama, Nijmegen

Fietsmuseum Velorama in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, is the largest cycling museum in the country where people cycle more than in any other.

We visited the museum in August 2005 when a friend of ours in the Netherlands took us there to see their collection of bikes.

The photos will give a taste of what's at the museum, but I recommend a visit. There are many more bikes than you'll see here, and you'll get a much better view of them. Also, there is a nice cafe in the museum and when we were there they were playing a very amusing video demonstrating such things as the better safety of the "safety bicycle" by showing a guy repeatedly falling off penny farthings (or ordinaries if you prefer).

A link to the museum's own website is below.

Two walking machines ("loopmachine" in Dutch).

The smaller one to the front is a child's size machine ("kinder loopmachine") made in Germany in 1820. The larger of the two is labelled "Dandyhorse used by the first earl of Durham about 1810".

Hanging on the wall was a willow bike case. A huge thing, which no doubt worked pretty well for avoiding damage to bikes when travelling. I've yet to be asked to make one of these, but if you think you might like one, get in touch.

It shows that damage to bikes from airlines and shipping companies is not only a recent problem.

Another willow item. A willow saddle. I've not made one of these, either, but again... If the idea of this appeals to you, get in touch.

Every so often the idea of making a wooden or bamboo bicycle frame comes to light again. These bikes, built by different people in different places over many years, all have wooden or bamboo frames.

Bamboo and wood have some advantages as a frame material, but I'd be most worried about splintering. Steel bends, but bamboo snaps leaving some very sharp edges. In the event of the frame breaking this could perhaps cause worse injuries than a steel frame.

I was particularly taken by the detailed decoration of the frame of this bike, an Alpha made by the Crypto Cycle Company Ltd. in London and dating from 1899.

It appears also to have a chain operated variant on a spoon brake, which looks less than effective.

This bike looks very similar to the more traditional style of practical bicycle that you find so many of in the Netherlands.

However, it's not Dutch. This one was built in the USA in 1904.

This machine initially looked like a fairly ordinary "ordinary", but look at that tyre !

An early attempt at suspension.

There were several other odd attempts at suspension for bikes, unsurprisingly given the solid tyres.

Yet another form of suspension, apparently without any damping in the spring.

There were many early ideas about bicycle suspension.
Two early Mochet Velocar recumbents from the 1930s.

The one to the left is the well known fast model which threatened various records set on conventional bikes, but that to the right has a sitting position similar to the more modern Riese und Müller Equinox and Giant Revive semi-recumbent.

Triumph in the UK made licensed copies of the Mochet bikes in the 1930s and I got to try one of these while on a visit to Liverpool shortly after taking this photo. The steering wheel with a universal joint added some slack to the steering which made handling a little tricky, but overall it was a very similar ride to the Equinox and Revive.

A couple of different shaft drive bikes. Again, this is one of those ideas for improving bikes which is re-invented regularly, but it can never be as efficient as a chain.

A collection of folding or disassembling bikes. There are a couple of Moultons in the background on the left, and a folding Pederson near the camera.

These sorts of stunts on a penny are somewhat beyond most of us.

I was struck by how similar some of this is to flatland BMX riding these days.

There are many photos to see.

I hope I've given you a flavour of what the museum offers. It is probably too much to ask that the bikes should be ridden, but there are a great number of static machines of many types and from all periods. My photos represent only a small number of these displays.

The Netherlands is a splendid place to ride a bike and has very much to offer cyclists beyond a museum. For me it's easily the best place to go for a cycling holiday. Perhaps the reason there is only one museum is that they are too busy riding their bikes to make more museums !

Click here for the museum's own website.

As it turned out, Nijmegen had more to offer on our visit than just the museum.

You wouldn't know it from my photo of the town centre, but Nijmegen was swarming with bikes. We had unknowingly arrived during the Internationale Fietsvierdaagse Nijmegen.

This is a four day cycling event held annually in which thousands of cyclists go for various organised rides. It's not a race. Lots of people of all ages take part, mostly dressed in quite normal clothing. As you'll see from the posters, rides vary in length so that there is something to suit everyone. Perhaps the closest event to this that I've experienced in the UK is the type of holiday held by the Company of Cyclists, but a fietsvierdaagse can attract thousands of people.

Tuesday had rides to the Betuwe, a nearby province of the Netherlands, Wednesday involved riding to Germany etc.

Lots of these four day events are held in many places in the Netherlands (search for fietsvierdaagse and note that not all events are four day, or named in this way, so those won't appear) and it's just yet another of those things for cyclists that happen all the time in the Netherlands but which don't have an equivalent in the UK.

Since relocating to the Netherlands, we've taken part in the largest Fietsvierdaagse, that in Drenthe.

We're now organising our own series of cycling holidays in the Netherlands which are aimed at English speaking people.

Another thing that impressed us in Nijmegen had absolutely nothing to do with cycling:

There was a giant sand sculpture in the town. I was assured that this was made only of sand, yet that it had stood in this position for months with an amazing degree of detail on the figures and buildings.

I've a number of other cycling articles including tour stories and bike reviews including the following:

Description of a trip to the Netherlands to a racing event.
A family holiday in the Netherlands.
A cycle tour of Lincolnshire.
Pictures of old English Tradesmans's bikes.

You may also be interested in photos of some of my customer's bikes, which include restorations of old bikes with replica baskets. Or perhaps you're interested in the range of standard bicycle baskets that I offer.

Netherlands Cycling Holiday

Link back to my home page