Bike IV – a trip to Holland

I have now acquired the donor bike.

This is how it happened. Eleanor is returning from Holland where she has been working at this place


where they churn out around 5,000 videos a year.

She had three years of accumulated gubbins so being a dad I said that I would drive the Dad car (Passat estate) to Amsterdam to pick her and all her gear up. It is an hour from here to Harwich, six hours on the ferry and an hour at the other end. The Price is £280 for me and the car.

So on Monday I caught the nine o'clock ferry to the Hook of Holland.

I went from the UK's largest container port of Felixtowe to the worlds largest container port of Rotterdam.

Talk about big engineering. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip

















the crossing was as smooth as a smooth thing










then to Rotterdam and even more impressive big engineering.





off the ferry











After loading Eleanors gear and her two bikes into the car we headed back towards Rotterdam to a place called megabikes - it is a big discount warehouse where they have  thousands of bikes in stock. I was looking for something for a big bloke, sit up style, strong frame, big racks, three gears





the shop spreads across three properties along one street.




the salesman was almost my age, nice man, we walked around until he found a bike that suited my purposes. I told him that I had 400 euros to spend and he got 399 euros out of me.


















We loaded the bike onto the roof of the Dad wagon


this is what I bought.

It is branded Lowland which is a Netherlands sports wear company - there must have been some deal in the past where they bought a lot of bikes and rebadged them

I removed the stickers and revealed that the bike is from  BSP_

which is a big well respected bike maker in Holland.



the bike I bought for 399 euros is the Viking which normally sells for 569 euros




the blokes in the shop were wonderful to deal with. They all think I am crackers to try to convert a bike to lekkie. The reaction from them all was an upwards rolling of the eyes.

We shall see how it goes. Next part is to buy the lekkie bits.




PS - I would rather be sailing in Scotland



This is about Dylan Winter's Blog, Sailing around Britain.

31 Responses to “Bike IV – a trip to Holland”

  1. 7 September, 2017 at 8:18 amStephen Mundane says:

    A fine travelogue Dylan, cheers. Reminded me of the time I took the ferry from Harwich to the Hook in my callow youth when I had a great introduction to life in the liberal Netherlands — good times.As for the highlands, I suppose they can wait as they’re not going anywhere but hopefully the lowland is. I’m very interested to see how the 21st century Vicar turns out. You should take it back to show the hill-dodging Luddites at MegaBike once it’s finished.

  2. 7 September, 2017 at 1:04 pmSteve says:

    I’m fascinated.. but it appears to have no brakes???

  3. 7 September, 2017 at 2:26 pmdylan winter says:

    it has drum brakes on the back wheel – back pedal to engage

    I will fit a hub with a drum brake to the front


  4. 7 September, 2017 at 2:39 pmApplescruffs says:

    That’s a sturdy looking beast to be sure!

    I’ve done the crossing to the Hook many times on the Stenna, never had a rough one yet…also had a ‘guided cruise’ around Rotterdam port…. it’s bigger than a big place, it just goes on forever..

    Had you considered ftting a front brake? Bearing in mind the recent legal action regarding the guy who knocked down and killed a woman as she crossed the road,apparently he had no front brake fitted which was considered to be both illegal and a contributory factor to the accident.

    Might be a good idea anyway due to the extra weight of the batteries etc.

    Good luck with the project


  5. 7 September, 2017 at 2:43 pmApplescruffs says:


    My post must have just missed yours re front brake


  6. 7 September, 2017 at 3:16 pmfinbarr says:

    Seems like a very good deal. solid bike – ‘retro indeed’.
    But there’s no battery is there? You going to fit one later?

  7. 7 September, 2017 at 3:32 pmdylan winter says:

    no motor yet either

  8. 7 September, 2017 at 4:29 pmJes Bates says:

    Nice little front seat for Jill as well

  9. 7 September, 2017 at 5:37 pmMick says:

    I converted a Brompton a few years ago. I got a kit from the electric wheel company. It was pretty easy to do and the bike is still going strong.

  10. 7 September, 2017 at 5:58 pmApplejack Jim says:

    Mick, I’d like a few more details of the Brompton conversion if possible please?

    (Dylan…apologies for butting in)

  11. 7 September, 2017 at 6:05 pmdylan winter says:

    me too

    email me the snaps and I will happily host and post them

    [email protected]

  12. 7 September, 2017 at 7:17 pmRonG says:

    Like that horse-shoe lock thingy.

  13. 7 September, 2017 at 7:47 pmRonG says:

    You say the salesman thought you were crackers, but the lady next to the car is giving you that look of resigned bemusement as well. Ignore them!

  14. 7 September, 2017 at 10:42 pmPaul Mullings says:

    Interesting how you can travel down parallel paths! The only comment I would make is that every ‘expert’ I have talked to says disc brakes are a must due to higher speeds and extra weight…

  15. 7 September, 2017 at 11:53 pmdylan winter says:

    I will have internal drum brakes front and rear

    as for the extra weight…. I have lost more than the weight of the motor and battery with all the rowing

    so will there be an ebike under the christmas tree for Pauly?

  16. 8 September, 2017 at 7:33 amdylan winter says:

    that ain’t no lady – that is my daughter.

    dunno if you have a daughter but they are genetically predisposed to regard their fathers as crackers


  17. 8 September, 2017 at 7:43 amTed B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    With all that steel tubing, it looks like the Firth of Forth railway bridge….

    In my youth, I had a Rudge-Whitworth 3-speed bicycle that was a battleship. Though the pre-metric English nuts and bolts were challenge in then SAE-only 1960s America. At an early-age I then-learned about BS Whitworth, British Std. Fine and British Std. Cycle threads and nuts/bolts. It was my favorite, and had “character”.

    Some rat-bastard stole it from our yard one-night.

  18. 8 September, 2017 at 7:51 amdylan winter says:

    I think it will outlive me with any luck.

    It weighs in at 15kg


    not light….when I add the battery and motor it will weigh a bit more.

    It feels very solid and stable though


  19. 8 September, 2017 at 8:42 amdylan winter says:

    splendid bike there Ted

  20. 8 September, 2017 at 9:20 amAndrew Wilkinson says:

    I’m enjoying this. The heavier the bike the the more energy the motor consumes & the more pedalling you do. This project goes against all my instincts. My turning point was when I changed my steel rims for ally, it transformed the bike and the amount of effort to pedal. The speed downhill when not peddling! That was about 1973 when I was a bit fitter and cycled over the Pennines to work. But ever since I have aimed to make my bikes lighter. Dylan the bike you are building would be ideal for a 3rd world country where you carry the family, sacks of spuds or goat etc. Anyway, I’ve got a couple of hours to spare today so I’ll dust off the bike, pump up the tyres and go for a ride, not been using it this year much, away sailing. (I’m proud to say my daughter thinks I’m crackers too).

  21. 8 September, 2017 at 9:27 amdylan winter says:


    light bikes are old hat

    proper bikes are the future


  22. 8 September, 2017 at 9:50 amMick says:

    I have just text you some pics of the Brompton

    Great bike, but just like a conventional Brompton it is no good on rough ground or off road.
    Ive had a few electric bikes.

  23. 8 September, 2017 at 10:44 amMick says:

    This is the video clip that inspired me to do it.

  24. 8 September, 2017 at 1:14 pmdylan winter says:

    I have always ridden heavy bikes – harder to go up hill but on the level or downhill it makes no odds. I need to carry the camera and spare gear with me so I need the racks. The aim is to use it to get to the salt marshes by road and track this coming winter. I will be making a good effort at filming the local birds.

    I think that working through the gears the 250 watt will do fine.

    The dutch blurb always quotes stuff about comfort – and it is that

    A frame design as you saw them 70 years ago, but now put in a modern and contemporary jacket. With this the Viking is a nice and original alternative to the ‘standard’ double top tube transporters. The nice drive features, the nice relaxed sitting position and a lightweight aluminum front mounting make the Viking all the way down.

    The gentlemen’s execution of the grandma Comfort.

    With a man-made geometry, performed with a classic double upper tube.

    Whether you want a crate on the bicycle, to put a bag on the carrier or the tough appearance of a transport model is yours all the way: the BSP transport / utility range is a good carrier that is completely customizable fits!

  25. 8 September, 2017 at 7:33 pmRonG says:

    I have. They do. You’re right. It’s all perfectly clear now.

  26. 8 September, 2017 at 7:44 pmdylan winter says:

    and yet with a snap of their fingers the free freight and transport service appears like an eager puppy

  27. 8 September, 2017 at 11:06 pmPaul Mullings says:

    I’d like to think so, however no bike riding for me for the foreseeable future as I have just had rotator cuff surgery and am now sporting a rather fetching arm sling….can’t drive either:(

  28. 10 September, 2017 at 2:40 amRiley Morgan says:

    Dylan you would look much better if you were a woman. Can see the family resemblance

  29. 11 September, 2017 at 3:34 pmHans Valk says:

    Pity I didn’t know you were coming. Driving about 10 miles further to the SW of Rotterdam would have brought you to Dordrecht, where a hearty wellcome at my humble home would have awaited you!
    Anyhow, Holland is a good place to come for buying a bike..

  30. 11 September, 2017 at 3:37 pmdylan winter says:

    I love the place – we came home with three bikes

    my daughters single speed, another large single speed I bought three years ago for when I visit and for her friends to use plus the Viking.


  31. 11 September, 2017 at 3:58 pmHans Valk says:

    As far as the bike is concerned: the back brake, which you use by back pedaling, used to be the standard brake on Dutch bikes. A few decades ago the majority of Dutch bikes had them and only this one. It needs very little maintenance and it is very reliable. The typical brake for a no-nonsense bike intended for hard use.
    And looking at the bike you bought I see just that.
    May I congratulate you with buying a splendid piece of Dutch workmanship..

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