55-Plus Club bikers enjoy barge tour


SCOTSBURN — The Scotsburn 55-Plus Club bikers celebrated their 10th year of biking with a bike and barge tour in Southern Holland.

The barge was 35 metres long and was a former river vessel converted with cabins below deck. There were 14 passengers and four in the crew — the captain, mate, cook and guide.

“The bikes had 25 speeds and were comfort bikes,” said Joan Clark, one of the local bikers who joined the tour.

The cook prepared breakfast and supper and bikers made their own sandwich for lunch on the ride.

“The meals were gourmet style and we never came away hungry,” Clark said.

Afternoon tea and coffee were available after the ride.

Each day the ride was through a village or town and through farmland or sand dunes. The biking was easy with few hills often riding along the top of dykes. The bikers visited churches, museums, windmills, the Delft blue and white pottery plant, art galleries and farm cheese fair.

“Over the week we biked 250 kilometres led by an experienced guide,” Clark said. “Several times we used ferries to cross the rivers and canals. One of these ferries was self-propelled so we took turns moving the handle on the winch. We passed many fields of flowers — some of these had grown tulips in the spring.”

There were many dairy and beef farms, sheep, goat and horse farms.

Bikers get preference in Holland, Clark noted.

“On the back roads there is one lane for cars and two lanes for bikes on either side,” she said.”All bike paths are paved and all intersections have lights for cars, walkers and bikes. Each day we biked 35 to 50 kilometres. We found it strange that helmets are not compulsory there but everyone in our group wore them.”

The trip began and ended in Amsterdam. The circuit included biking from Spaardam to Haarlem on the first day, to Leiden on the second day,to Delft on the third day, to Rotterdam on the fourth day, to Gouda on the fifth day and to Kudelstaart on the sixth day and back to Amsterdam on the seventh day.

There was also a side trip to The Hague.

From left are Scotsburn 55-Plus Club members who took part in the bike and barge tour in southern Holland: Susan Ross, Joan Clark, Sandra Malenfant, Janet Shively MacConnell, Karen MacDonald, Gayle MacKenzie, Gail Peckham, Carolyn MacKenzie, Betty Spence and Larry Alexander. (Submitted photo)