De Hoge Veluwe National Park was one of the main attractions I wanted to see on this trip because it would have been so cool to ride a bike through a national park! I have been to a few national parks and have always experienced them behind four wheels. And I am not keen to hiking and hiking, as you know, doesn’t cover a lot of ground.
I think a bicycle as a vehicle to traverse any national park is probably the most eco-friendly and efficient mode to do it on. It’s quiet, it doesn’t pollute, covers a good distance with the right amount of speed, and it takes up a little space in a park. I am surprised that parks don’t already have this kind of facilities. Of course, it would only work with flat topography and some stretches of many parks do. Or maybe have electric-assisted bikes for the not so flat topography.
There are three separate entrances (same as exits) to the Park; Schaarsbergen from the south, Otterlo from the west, and Hoenderloo from the east. The entrance fee to the Park is 8.70 euros for adults (4.35 euros for children) and it’s well worth it. All entrances have white bicycles (it’s the same color as the bike shares plan from the Provo movement during the 1960s) with a child seat to rent out for free. The Park is meant to be discovered by two wheels. Pretty awesome, huh?!
Another thing I like about the Park is that you really can’t get lost. When I am in a national park that is so huge, I worry about losing my tracks but not with De Hoge Veluwe. As I mentioned earlier, there are only 3 entrances/exits and a very limited number of bike paths. Stay on the bike paths, and you can rest assured it will lead you back to where you came from. There are signage that are clear but discrete.
As I have been bike-touring between cities, I have seen amazing landscapes and very green scenery, but it’s very different riding through a national park. Many cycle tracks are breathtaking, however, they are not long lasting. De Hoge Veluwe is different. It’s massive with uninterrupted miles of bike paths surrounded by natural beauty and fresh scents. It’s really quiet and the only noise you hear is the sound of your bike chain. To me, it’s actually kind of loud when you are in such a serene place.
I was hoping to spot some wild animals, but I may have gone during the wrong time.
A bonus to the Park is the museums. I only get to go to one which is the Kroller-Muller Museum. It’s a museum of abstract arts, impressionism and contemporary sculptures. The admission here is the same price as the Park’s admission. Besides Van Gogh’s paintings, I really enjoyed eating in the cafe where you have a beautiful view of the nature.
If you are ever in The Netherlands, I highly recommend going to De Hoge Deluwe National Park and ride your heart out. It’s an experience like none other.
So far, I have visited as many as 7 cities in The Netherlands and as I biked through these charming towns, I notice the cycle tracks are beautifully landscaped. They are so attractive that they are almost eye candy to me. To be fair, I am not talking about bike paths that are in parks or tuck away somewhere that you have to look on a map to find it. I am talking about cycle tracks that everyday people on bikes use and riding adjacent to streets within city limits.
Note many cycle tracks are bidirectional, and many times are on both sides of the street. Moreover, many are really wide to accommodate conversational cycling. The ones that are installed in recent times are made of special red asphalt that is really smooth that any weekend road warrior would appreciate. And no flats to worry about!
By the way, did you know that the word “landscape” originates from the Dutch? I am sure because they have to work their land to manage floods since the beginning of time that they have become experts in landscaping and among other things. This expertise can be seen in their bike infrastructure.
As I am half way through my bike travel, I have more cities to discover and will post more eye candy photos of cycle tracks. So stay tuned.