Experience the taste of Trappist beers on this unique cycle route which takes you past four Trappist abbeys in Holland and Belgium. Trappist beer is not a type of beer. It is beer that is brewed by a Trappist order of catholic monks. Trappist abbeys are located in gorgeous pastoral countryside where connecting to the earth and to the divine almost comes naturally. Abbeys open their guest rooms to people in need of a short spiritual retreat. Passing cyclotourists, however, are not permitted to enter the abbeys or the breweries.
In the heart of the Kempen region lies Turnhout, also known as the city of playing cards. In 1826 the world’s first pack of cards to come off a printing press was manufactured here. Printing playing cards became a successful industry. The National Museum of Playing Cards can be found here in Turnhout. If you have time to explore, the Castle of the Dukes of Brabant is worth a visit, as is St. Peter’s Church. You will find accommodation right in the lively centre of town at Best Western Plus Turnhout City.
Your first stop of the day is in Merksplas. From 1822 to 1993 an agricultural labour colony for tramps and beggars was located here. Look around a former “tramp farm”. Continue to Westmalle, where Benedictine monks brew beer within the walls of a Trappist abbey. The “Trappist order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance” originated in the monastery of La Trappe in France - hence the name. Trappist monks and nuns follow the Rule of St. Benedict. They do not go out into the community to serve the poor and the sick. Instead their number one business is continual prayer. But their monasteries must be self-sufficient. So they perform manual labour while they pray and live off the fruits of their labour (bread, cheese, beer, soap, candles etc.) which are sold in abbey shops. The proceeds feed the monks and nuns; go to the upkeep of the abbeys; or to charity. In Westmalle, pop in at the Trappist Café across the road to indulge in a beer and watch an informative documentary.
Antwerp has a long tradition of brewing and drinking beer as you can see by the many beer bars and breweries in the city. The historical centre is beautiful and very popular with shoppers. Your hotel is opposite the central train station. Set off in a north easterly direction past a string of typically Flemish villages until you reach Brecht and the Abbey of Our Lady of Nazareth. All Trappist monasteries are dedicated to St. Mary. These Trappistine nuns don’t brew beer but they do make candles, soap and shampoo, on sale in the abbey shop.
Set off for the Netherlands. Cross the border into Brabant province and make your way to Maria Toevlucht Trappist Abbey (Our Lady of Refuge) where monks brew Zundert Trappist. Have a beer in the village of Zundert. Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast and are said to improve with age. They are considered to be among the finest in the world. Top off your day in Breda. If you feel like a night on the town, join in with the locals and savour the delights of the many quality bars and restaurants in this city loved for its nightlife and hospitality.
Staying in friendly Brabant, enjoy the lovely countryside marked by streams, woods and idyllic villages. Just before you arrive in Tilburg, you will spot the towers of the Koningshoeven Abbey of Our Lady. This is where the famous La Trappe label specialty beers are brewed. A long time ago these grounds belonged to King William II (Koningshoeven means the ‘king’s farms’). An order of Cistercian monks fleeing religious persecution in France made their home here. At first they tried to earn a living by farming the arid heathland to support themselves and their charities. When this proved too hard, they started a brewery. In the abbey shop, today, you can buy products manufactured here by the sixteen remaining monks. Tilburg is a university town, with a mix of historical and modern architecture.
On the last leg of the tour you will cycle from Tilburg back to Turnhout in Belgium, following a Rail Trail called ‘Bels Lijntje’ (Belgian Line). The railway, built in 1867, was 31 km long and was intended to open up the Belgian market to Tilburg industry. It became a cycle path in the 1990s. The 150th anniversary of Bels Lijntje will be celebrated with special events in 2017. On the banks of the Rail Trail a project is underway to save the honey bee by planting fields of bee plants such as buckwheat at intervals along the length of the trail, like stepping stones, to ensure sufficient quantities of pollen throughout the year. The Rail Trail takes you through Baarle, geographically one of the oddest villages in the world. It is divided into thirty enclaves, some in Dutch Baarle Nassau and others in Belgian Baarle Hertog. You can tell in which country you are by looking at the pavement tiles, signs in the road and the flag on the house number tiles. Look up Baarle Nassau on google maps and you’ll see how higgledy piggledy the border is.
After breakfast, your holiday with Belgian Bike Tours will come to an end.
|Saturdays from April 3rd till September 25th.|
|Double room, breakfast||589.00|
|Extra night, breakfast only||70.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 6||18.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 6||36.00|
|Child trailer||€ 20.00 x 6||120.00|
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. A list of the hotels we work with appears below. If a certain accommodation is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a comparable alternative.
Our hybrid bikes are aluminum bikes and have 27-gears
Assembly: Shimano Deore
Brakes: Shimano V Brakes (hand brakes)
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon
Saddle: Selle Royal Freedom
Pedals: flat pedals (XLC)
Weight: circa 16,5 kilo
The e-bikes are Freebike Harlem or similar. The bikes have a small electric engine and battery, which can be charged at the hotels. You still have to pedal: it just makes pedaling much easier. Some experience with e-bikes is recommended, as the bikes accelerate faster and are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric engine.
Assembly: Shimano Nexus 8 gears
Brakes: Shimano hydraulic discbrakes
Handlebars are adjustable without any tools
Pedals: Flat pedals
Saddle: Velo Comfort
Range battery: ca. 100 km (with normal use)
Weight: ca. 25 kilo.
For children who are at least 125 cm, we can also arrange bikes (these are 24”or 26” for children that are bigger than 140 cm). The bikes are Oxford Kick-Off bikes or similar, we also use child mountainbikes as child bike.
Assembly: Shimano 7 gears
Brakes: Shimano V-Brakes (hand brakes)
Pedals: flat pedals
Weight: 13,3 kg (24 inch) or 13,9 kg (26 inch)
The maximum body height for a child’s bike is 155 cm.
All our rental bikes come with a bell.
All our adult bikes come with hand brakes.
For children up to 30 months old (max. 15 KG) it is possible to rent a front child seat. This is not possible with e-bikes, due to the display.
For children older than 30 months (max. 22KG) it is possible to rent a rear child seat. This is also possible with e-bikes.
Helmets are not mandatory in Belgium, but can be rented for €15,- per piece.|
Available sizes: Adult: 54-61cm, Child: 50-55cm.
All our bikes come with both front- and rear lights. You need to push the button on the lamp and it will flash three times. This means that the lights will automatically start working when it gets dark.
When you push again, the lamp will flash one time and the lights will be turned off.
Our bikes come with a defender lock with plug in chain (cable lock that is attached to the regular lock, see picture).
You need to turn the key a bit, take out the pin from the cable lock and attach it to a pole/other bike/fence etc.
When you push the pin back into the regular lock, you need to lock the regular lock as you always do, and both locks will be secured.
1 pannier is included at the 'standard' bikes and the e-bikes.
Height: 42 cm
Depth front to the side: 17 cm
Wide top: 32 cm
Wide down: 23 cm
Volume: 20 liters
It has an easy click-on/click-off system. The panniers are water resistant, so everything will stay dry.
The rental bikes come with regular pedals, so no click-in/SPD pedals.
All our bikes come with a quick release system, which makes it very easy to adjust the height of the saddle and the handle bars.
There is one small puncture kit included, which can be found in the pannier. In case a rental bike has another problem, we always advise you to go to a bike repair shop or call the bike breakdown emergency number which is provided in the travel documents when you book this extra service.
Saddles can be adjusted in height without using any tools, see ‘Quick Release’.
Our saddles don’t come with a gel cover.
Dutch Biketours does not provide water bottles. We can also not guarantee that there are bottle holders on the bikes. You will always receive 1x pannier, so you can always store your water bottle in your pannier.
We have a limited amount of tandem bikes available on request. The tandem bikes are steel Victoria Special 8.7 or similar. Tandem bikes are suitable for two adults only.
Assembly: Shimano Acera 24 gears
Brakes: Magura HS11 (hand brakes)
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Saddle: Selle Royal Rio Plus SR 8020
Weight: ca. 28 kg
The tandem bikes have a frame size of 48 cm.
The height of the handle bars on a tandem bike cannot be adjusted.
We have limited family tandem bikes available on request. The family tandems are made of aluminium and can be used for one adult and one child with a minimum body height of 125 cm.
Assembly: Shimano (8 gears)
Brakes: V-Brakes (hand brakes)
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon plus
Saddle: Selle Royal Rio
Pedals: Flat pedals
A tag-along bike is a good option for children between approx. 100 cm and 125 cm, as they can pedal themselves and on their own pace but don’t have to worry about other traffic.
Child trailers can be rented for a maximum of two children who are up to 100 cm (max. 35 KG in total).
We mostly use the XLC Duo 2 child trailer.
Child trailers are not possible in combination with e-bikes.
Mile after wonderful mile of untroubled cycling is what we would wish our clients. However there is a minimal chance of breakdown along the way. If this thought is a nagging worry to you, a Bicycle Breakdown Assistance insurance policy may ease your mind. If you buy this insurance from our partner FietsNED in advance, their service is as follows. If your bike breaks down by the roadside a FietsNED bicycle repair man will drive to you in his repair van and fix your bike so you can continue your tour.You won’t have to pay him repair costs. If you are cycling on your own bicycle you will be charged for any new spare parts your bike may require. If you are renting a bicycle through Dutch Bike Tours any new parts are at our expense. If it turns out the bicycle cannot be repaired on the spot, or if you don’t wish to continue cycling, the repairman can drop you off somewhere in his van. One companion plus bikes may join you in the van.
The Bike Breakdown Pass is €2,75 per day per bike and can only be booked for every participant in a booking.
Do you wish to insure your bike against theft? The cost is € 3,- per day per standard hybrid bicycle.
For an electric bicycle, premium bike or racing bike: € 6,00 per day per bicycle.
Please see the General Terms and Conditions for Bicycle Hire and Insurance.
If a rental bike gets stolen or damaged, we will hold the client responsible.
If your insurance does not cover this event, you will have to pay the costs yourself.
Article 1 Bike Rental Price
The bike rental price is determined by the rates mentioned on the Dutch Bike Tours website at the time of the booking; or as subsequently agreed.
Article 2 Payment
a. The rental price and any other due sums regarding the rental agreement must be paid before the bike is handed over to you.
b. If, for whatever reason, you cannot make use of the bike(s) you have rented, Dutch Bike Tours will not be held responsible for any resulting expenses or damage.
c. In the case of the article 2b, the client remains obliged to pay the full rental price and any other amounts mentioned in the invoice, in accordance with our General Terms and Conditions of Booking, unless the client can prove that his not being able to use the bike was the consequence of a defect that was already present at the beginning of the rental period.
Article 3 Rental Period
a. The rental period runs from the morning of the first cycling day (day 2) to the end of the holiday (the departure day), as stated in the booking confirmation.
b. Extension of the rental period is possible only after approval by us and according to the (extension) rates as mentioned in article 1.
c. No refunds are possible after the rental period begins. If you return the bike(s) to us before the end of your holiday, the rental agreement will automatically be terminated and you will not get any of your money back.
d. At the end of the last cycling day of your holiday, the bike(s) must be returned to the hotel from where it was/they were issued, no later than the time stated in the booking confirmation.
If you book a one way tour tour you can leave the bike at the last hotel of the trip.
e. If the bike(s) is /are not returned by the return time stated in the booking confirmation, we will continue to charge you rent until such time as the bike(s) is/are returned to us or is/are received by us. In the event of late return, the rates as mentioned in article 1 will continue to apply, plus a fine of €25 per day. We also reserve the right to demand payment for any costs and/or damages suffered by us due to late return of our rental bike(s).
f. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in the event of late return of our rental bikes, we reserve the right to dissolve the rental agreement without judicial intervention and immediately claim back our bicycles where ever they may be and from whomever has them. Dutch Bike Tours also holds this right in the event that the client does not comply with any of the other conditions stated in this rental agreement.
Article 4 Improper Use
a. The bicycle(s) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the rental agreement.
b. The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean!) state in which you received it/them.
c. You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s), as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.
d. The bicycle may not be used on the beach; or on sandy paths in the dunes unless a paved path is unavailable.
Article 5 Damage, Loss and Theft
The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.
Article 6 Theft Insurance
It is possible to purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance. Covered are: damages arising out of the theft of the bicycle; and damages to the bicycle as a consequence of the theft. Not covered are: theft of bicycle parts; and damages arising out of attempted theft.
Article 7 Theft Insurance Premium
a. The premium for Bicycle Theft Insurance is € 3,00 per day per standard hybrid bicycle. For an electric bicycle € 6,00 per day as well for a Premium bike and racing bike.
The number of insurance days is the same as the number of cycling days as stated in our booking confirmation.
Article 8 Liability in the Event of Theft
a. If you did not purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us before the start of the holiday, you will be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
b. If you did purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us, but you failed to lock the wheel lock and failed to produce the original wheel lock key and failed to produce an official theft report drawn up by the police, you will still be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
Article 9 Costs During the Rental Period
Any charges and taxes regarding the rental bicycle(s), such as fines and ferry tickets, are to be paid by you. You will also be required to pay all costs ensuing from the use of the bicycle(s) such as parking fees, maintenance and repairs.
6 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included