Cyclists tour Europe

A group of Comox Valley cyclists was touring along the Mosel River though Germany and France earlier this month.

A group of Comox Valley cyclists was touring along the Mosel River though Germany and France earlier this month.

With about 40 to 50 kilometres a day, they cycled in one direction to meet up with their comfortable barge at a different location each afternoon.

A similar tour is organized for August next year, leaving Amsterdam and cycling easy special bike lanes that are so common in Europe to the historic town of Bruges in Belgium.

It is hard to find a better way to travel the countryside. While you are calmly pedalling along, exploring new areas every day and having your luggage and meals on a barge, your floating hotel follows you. This means no lugging of luggage and while you make your own packed lunch, a hearty breakfast and a delicious dinner are prepared for you each day.

Most barges have around 12 spacious cabins, each with private shower and toilet. The upper deck has a large area for casually taking in the scenery and the large comfortable salon and bar area is where your breakfast and three-course evening meal is served.

After dinner there is a briefing about next day’s tour which is always a carefully selected route that will lead you along the most beautiful spots of the country. The average daily distance is around 45 kilometres, taking you through many picturesque villages and towns in Holland and beautiful medieval and gothic towns in Belgium. Overnight stops will be in the renowned towns of Gouda; Dordrecht, the oldest town in Holland with city-rights; Zierikzee, like an open-air museum; Vlissingen, an historic marine centre; the beautiful town of Ghent in Belgium; and last but not least, medieval Bruges, a town straight out of a storybook.

Every day combines cycling with a special visit of some sort but Day Four is very special, as the tour will visit the Delta Works, a large sluice/lock and dike system that is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

As most of this part of Holland is below sea-level, they developed the Delta-plan to avoid a repeat of the tragic 1953 flooding. The  tour will be escorted by Marianne and Leo Buijs who have with their Dutch roots a long bicycling history and are fully bilingual.

They look forward escorting the group and explaining the interesting Belgian and Dutch culinary and other traditions.

Leo has a passion for travel and has explored many pubs and breweries in B.C. and abroad. He has published a few books of which his latest was on beer which means that you can expect some great advice on that subject and to visit some interesting pubs on the way.

For more information on this eight-day seven-night cycling tour Willy van Kemenade will have an info night Oct. 23 in Comox. Call 250-334-6556 for location.

— Marianne and Leo Buijs

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