Can you imagine cycling several hundred kilometers through Holland on a late 19th century model high wheel bicycle? Well, that's exactly what Phil Fertey from British Columbia is doing right now!
In September, Phil contacted me. He's a teacher on a sabbatical year, owning a replica of a Victoria bicycle, a so-called penny-farthing high wheel.
He was planning on taking it to Europe for a long tour, and checking out possibilities. No surprise he considered the Netherlands - cycling infrastructure and flatness.
Such a high bike being rather risky in busy traffic, I proposed global routes in the countryside, away from the densely populated center of Holland.
The day after Phil's arrival in the Netherlands we made an Amsterdam walk of a couple of hours. General backgrounds, talking over his plans, buying good maps. The next day a reconnaissance tour on a regular bike. Dutch signposting and bicycle infrastructure, traffic rules. Followed by a couple of short rides around Weesp on his high-bike.
Then Phil felt fully ready for a week-long tour into the countryside north of Amsterdam, along the lovely old Zuiderzee ports Hoorn and Enkhuizen, over the mighty Enclosure Dam to Friesland, and then back to Weesp.
He enjoyed it so much he immediately decided on a second tour. This time north-east through the new made land Flevoland to medieval town Kampen. Now continuing into direction Groningen, and perhaps beyond, all the way to the Wadden Sea.
The weather so far has been lovely, really late summer. With virtually always tail wind - an important reason why I suggested this direction.
The plan is that Phil just goes on travelling as long as he enjoys it. Finding accommodation en route being no problem, for example affordable places with Vrienden op de Fiets (private homes) - three cheers for the internet! And when he feels it has been enough he'll just take the train back to Weesp, with his bicycle. Simple and very flexible.
A great way to travel! Although only within reach for us, common mortal souls, on a regular bike. Of course.
To read the full report Phil wrote & pictures: