Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Cycling Holiday Fair Amsterdam

When using my guidebook about the cyclist's paradise of The Netherlands you'll find out that Dutch people love cycling. From 8 to 80; cycling is for everyone and many people long for cycling adventures beyond their own familiar cycling streets. Every year more than 20,000 people head to Amsterdam for a visit to the national Cycling and Rambling Fair.

What are they after? Lots of information and reassurance that their cycling holiday of this summer is going to be a good one! They want to talk with the people who create their cycle routes abroad and find out about tours that spark their imagination. A genuinely interested audience at an event run by genuinely keen cyclists is the greatest charm of this fair, unparallelled anywhere else in the world!

For five years in succession I have attended with my own EOS Cycling Holidays, explaining about the thrilling Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route and how you can visit Stonehenge by bike with my Ancient South England Tour. "Cycling to the Olympics" was the main theme for 2012, as my book Hart van Engeland Route 
took Dutch cyclists all the way from Hook of Holland to within a couple of miles from the London Olympic Park.

The "star of the show" every year though is Mr Frank van Rijn. If there is one person who deserves the name "Cycling Dutchman" it must be him. He started sabbatical journeys around the world before the word "sabbatical" was even invented and has written 11 books about his epic journeys to date. His book "Pilgrims and Peppers" is due to be published in English soon. Van Rijn is pictured here after being overtaken by other Dutch tourists in Uganda (courtesy of Visitors of the fair will crowd as always to listen to the man's latest humorous travel tales. My personal favourite quote of his is: "Flying is not about making journeys, flying is skipping journeys."

There are more colourful characters on this fair. Cyclists Theo Jorna and Bert Sitters were involved in the setting up of a well established platform of Dutch "world cyclists" to share their individual experiences years ago. They have also run the Cycling and Rambling Fair from its inception and have seen it grow ever since. In 2012, they also ran a similar fair in Belgium. Another intriguing regular is Eric Schuijt. He has cycled in more than 80 countries and runs his own specialised outdoor bike shop in Amsterdam. Naturally his stand gets visited by large crowds.

The main reason for people to visit though is the presence of the many small tour operators who specialise in cycling and walking holidays. National tourism organisations also make impressive displays. Every year, a different country is in the spotlight of attention. In 2011 it was the turn for Norway. “By being the theme country, we were able to position Norway in a fantastic way as a brand. I think that a lot more people from the Netherlands will visit Norway in 2012 than in previous years" said Sofia Runn, marketing co-ordinator for Innovation at Norway Tourism (pictured on left) on the Cycling and Rambling Fair's website.

And here is the thing I am building up to with this story. Year after year my EOS Cycling Holidays has been the only representative for Britain on this fair. A stand of 2 meters wide is all I can afford and every year I have people literally queueing at my desk hungry for cycling adventures in the UK. It makes a poor impression, especially if you know that tourism organisations of countries like Germany and Switzerland occupy vast spaces of exhibition floor.

I've made numerous attempts to explain to various British tourism organisations the potential of this fair, as have the organisers of the fair themselves; all without success. Therefore one more plea to tourism and cycling organisations in the UK; let's work together to present a full size United Kingdom stand at this exciting fair in the future! Feel free to me to exchange ideas and views.

(Note from the author: there is still no presence on this annual fair from the United Kingdom as a country. Myself, I have stopped attending as I have developed other ways to stay in touch with my Dutch customer-base.)

What about going for a traffic-calmed cycling holiday with one of my "Cycling Dutchman" guidebooks?

Cycling in  Amsterdam and The Netherlands - The very best routes in the cyclist's paradise makes you travel beyond Dutch cliches like clogs, windmills and the Amsterdam red light district, allowing you to truly explore the lowlands. The book features 1064 kms of routes and has special chapters explaining the unique Dutch cycling-minded traffic rules and its cycle route signage systems; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag, see also

The London - Land's End Cycle Route Book is designed for those who LOVE cycling, but don't like traffic. The book takes you onto the most beautiful cycle routes of southern England, including the Camel Trail, Devon Coast to Coast Route, Bristol and Bath Railway path, Thames Valley route and many more! What makes the book unique is that the route is completely continuous, including detailed directions and local knowledge all the way. Get inspired; choose your favourite route sections or go for a full summer holiday adventure; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag, see

Other popular Cycling Dutchman blog articles:

Explaining Dutch cycling infrastructure:

Dutch bike rides and Dutch cycling culture:

The 12 best bike rides of The Netherlands

Dutch style bike rides in the United Kingdom:
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