Getting Started

While spending our Saturday in Portland’s lovely international terminal was thrilling for Rachael and me, losing the day of preparation and sightseeing we had planned in Amsterdam threw a wrench in the spokes of our carefully tuned schedule. So instead of a relaxing Sunday spent sleeping off our jet lag, walking the canals and mixing up cafés with coffee shops, we had to assemble and clip into our bicycles almost at once.

After many months of deliberation, we had decided to bring our own bikes rather than try to rent or buy bikes in Amsterdam. While bringing our own bikes certainly offered advantages (a familiar seat, a comfortable geometry, a passing knowledge of its foibles), international baggage charges on bicycles complicate the calculus. At $150.00 per bike, each way, it’s not hard to spend more getting a bike to Holland than the 10-year-old steel frame is worth. But while it felt a little like bringing sand to a beach party, having our own bikes turned out to be a good decision for us. Fresh off our flight, we knew we’d be able to be up and rolling in no more that an hour.

We were greeted at the airport by Rachael’s uncle Paul, who, despite living an hour away in Den Hague, drove up to meet our plane and bring us into the city. We couldn’t have been more grateful; without his help, we would have been assembling our bikes next to the baggage carousal. As it was, he drove us into the heart of the city, bought us pancakes and coffee, (pannekoeken is my favorite Dutch word of the day) and found a quiet canal on which to reconstruct our bikes.

And so, wheels on, brakes tuned, and panniers fully loaded, we struck out for Utrecht.  Fourteen days of riding through Holland lie ahead; we couldn’t be more excited.


4 Responses to “Getting Started”

  1. what a cool video!! getting excited to see you!

  2. Kate Shaw Says:

    Add this link to my morning internet routine before getting to work. Great video! Can’t wait for the next post!

    Travel safe kids!

  3. Michele Radcliffe Says:

    I loved seeing the video, and I’ve read three of your wonderful postings. Thanks so much for taking the time to keep us involved. Have a wonderful ride!!

  4. My wife and I are enjoying your “journal”. 34 years ago (!) we embarked from Eugene with our bicycles as luggage in cardboard boxes just like yours. We put together our bikes in Schipohl Airport, (no Uncle Paul) then rode out onto the bike paths and Holland was ours! We rode around western and southern Netherlands, then over to England where we did a big circle and then returned to Holland. Two months on the road. You have inspired us to reopen our journal, get out the ancient slides (old technology…) and start planning next year’s bike journey, which may include Denmark as well as Holland. Perhaps we’ll look you up in Portland to talk about what’s changed and what hasn’t.
    Hugh and Sue Prichard

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