Fietsparadijs Limburg 2020

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
We're heading to Limburg! This is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the numbered junction (knooppunt/points-nœuds) network (fietsnet) which cyclists across Belgium, the Netherlands and now nearby parts of France and Germany (knotenpunten) have come to know and I'm going with a group of friends to ride through where it started, Fietsparadijs Limburg. https://www.visitlimburg.be/en/cycling

Our basic plan is ferry-ride-train to Antwerp (central station, het Steen, Parkbrug), then ride to Hasselt (Jenever Museum, Cycling through Water), Eksel (Cycling through Trees), Eindhoven (Silly Walks Tunnel, Flying Pins, Van Gogh Path, Hovenring), Baarle (borders!), Breda (Valkenberg fountains), Dordrecht, Rotterdam, HvH and ferry to Harwich!

As you see from that, we've some ideas for things to see, but I'd welcome any tips from those who have been there before - stuff to see or places to eat, especially. Even if we don't use them (life will surely happen during the tour - it usually does - so I won't be prebooking sightseeing or restaurants), riders with more time might add them to their tours in future.

We've started booking accommodation (including the tedious contacting and checking that there's somewhere to keep bikes safe) and travel and hopefully will finish this week. This is really happening! Wish us luck! :hyper: :bicycle:
 
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mjr

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
We're now only waiting for an answer about bike parking from one overnight stop and then everything that should be booked ahead will be booked. We have another choice in that area but I like the look of this one better. How long to wait for an answer though? I gave up on a place in another town after a week or two and two contact attempts by different routes. I think I might give up on this one after three days because it's the last one.

I know some people don't like to book ahead when touring but there are ten of us and it's in summer so looking on arrival seems unlikely to work well often. That's part of why the daily distances are kept shortish, around 40 miles. Anyone feeling like they want more miles can add distance but it's often difficult to shorten the shortest decent route! We've also had some good deals sometimes so it's not all bad.

Speaking of deals, ferry offers posted on https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/found-a-bargain-do-tell.16260/post-5844736
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
Mod Note:
@mjr I've moved this to travelogues, it's promising to be a long one ... lovely, looking forward to read all about your trip ^_^
 
OP
mjr

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Mod Note:
@mjr I've moved this to travelogues, it's promising to be a long one ... lovely, looking forward to read all about your trip ^_^
Thanks. Why isn't Travelogues a subforum of Touring & Adventure? I forget about it often, stuck out on its own.

The potential last accommodation replied: they have no bike parking and suggested covered public racks nearby. Er, no thanks, not with a load of touring bikes in a Dutch city centre! My Dutchie might not stand out but some of the others probably would. So I booked a nearby bike-friendly hotel we'd identified as an option... or I booked it eventually. As often, I complicated stuff :smile:

I was going to book it starting from a link from cycle.travel in the hope it throws a few sovs to that excellent site... but before clicking buy, I checked the hotel's own site and it had an offer of free breakfast if booked direct. Great. We usually want to get going in the mornings and stopping before we leave town and sitting in a cafe or queuing up at a bakery to order 10 breakfasts is usually slower. Sometimes hotel breakfasts are overpriced (€18 for a basic buffet or similar) but free isn't!

I used the "book" link and got a page saying the code was not valid. So I phone the hotel. Break out my broken Dutch then switch to English. Told to try again and send them email if not. Emailed. Told it won't be repaired quickly so I can book by email. Sent details. Got reply with rates. Sent agreement. Got confirmation. Somehow it is a bit lower than I thought. The details all seem correct and everyone (me, the hotel, other tourists) seems happy with that so I'll not look too deeply.

Now I think all that can be booked is booked. Next task is to update the trip summary, email it round the group and see if anyone spots a problem - hopefully not! - or something to add or remove.
 
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mjr

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
"Oh my god! The quarterback is toast!"

Due to the pandemic, our late-spring 10-rider tour group is now choosing between:
1. postpone until autumn and pray;
2. postpone to next spring;
3. cancel entirely and attempt to rebook next year, taking the risk of small town hotels (2) being unavailable or prices changing.

We can currently postpone or cancel transport easily, and accommodation should become the same in the next few weeks as lockdowns are lengthened. At the moment, one hostel is somewhat incredibly claiming it will still honour our booking a few days after lockdown so we may not amend it without fee! But that will almost surely change.

What would you do and why?
 
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mjr

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
At the moment, one hostel is somewhat incredibly claiming it will still honour our booking a few days after lockdown so we may not amend it without fee! But that will almost surely change.
They've now emailed to say we can postpone up to 18 months or have a refund :smile:
 
Location
Brussels
Sorry to hear about the postponement, who knows when it will be possible/convenient to do these sort of multiple border crossing trips in the future. But whenever it takes place it sounds like a splendid trip:okay:.

The knooppunt system is great. It is easy to use, on my last ride I literally jotted down the numbers on the back of an envelope and it gives some pretty alternatives to the usual routes you work out for yourself or are given by GPS. Certainly in Flanders some of the unpaved sections, especially through wooded areas , can be a bit rough and in the wet slippery but nothing too worrying for a touring bike

My one issue and this is me more than the system, is that I have the bad habit of sometimes missing a marker. It is difficult to do but I am gifted like that :rolleyes:. Often I realise quickly because there is usually a confirmatory sign a few metres down the correct route, but some times I find myself a fair distance beyond the wrong way. There is of course an app which you can download but it seems that Mio cycle GPS's have a specific knooppunt function, (at least the ones sold in Benelux do, I am not sure about elsewhere). Probably not worthwhile getting one specifically for this trip but if someone in the group is in any case looking for a new GPS it might be an idea.
 
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