Vrienden Op De Fiets
The network was started in Arnhem in 1984 by Nel de Blécourt. She posted an ad in her local paper, asking people to reply if they were willing to rent spare rooms out to touring cyclists. The network has grown to over 6000 host addresses, with lodging houses as far abroad as New Zealand. Hosts can charge €19 pp for b&b lodging with rates for optional extras like lunch and dinner agreed via the official network guest handbook.
We decided to use Vrienden op de Fiets for our trip as we explicitly wanted to meet local people in the towns we were passing through. All of our lodging addresses have been memorable and our hosts supremely generous.
Astrid, testing the tandem.
Pieter told us about his 30km commute, racing the e-bikes and his plans for a family cycling holiday following the arrival of baby Marit, only 4 weeks earlier. Astrid couldn't wait to try our tandem and her partner Gus, told us she was one of the reasons he'd started cycling for pleasure, rather than as the most convenient means of getting from A to B.
Our hosts in Arnhem are away (cycling in France!), but interestingly we are about 4 miles from the centre of Arnhem and close to the motorway skirting the city; about the same distance we lived from central Croydon when we were growing up, close to the A23 on its way out of London.
Pieter, after giving Amy a traditional Dutch backie into Utrecht to collect the tandem.