Zephyr Adventures was formed in 1997 as Zephyr Inline Skate Tours, the world’s first inline skating tour company.
In April of that year, I quit my job and traveled to Europe, looking for the best skate tour location I could find. I had two destinations on my list: the Netherlands and the Danube bike path in Austria. I spent a week in The Netherlands, a week in Austria, and then made my decision: The Netherlands would be our very first skate tour location.
We have run dozens of tours in The Netherlands but have not done so recently. Therefore, this past August I packed my carry-on bag, loaded up my inline skates, and flew over to this region I fell in love with 21 years ago.
The Netherlands had and still has a ton of advantages for inline skating:
- It’s flat! This is pretty critical for most inline skaters.
- It is bike crazy, with bike paths running along many of the canals, on the side of roads, and on top of dikes. In the less-populated areas where we skate, they connect practically every village to each other, no matter how small.
- The countryside is beautiful, with huge agricultural fields, networks of canals, dikes, and windmills.
- The Netherlands in general and Friesland in particular, the province in the north of the country where we spend most of our time, has a long history with skating, both ice and roller.
- The area we visit is well set up for tourists but also reasonable in cost.
There are also some challenges, including variable weather and towns that pave their centers with beautiful (yet uneven) bricks. Plus, let’s face it, many of our skate tour participants do not spend as much time in their skates and thus are simply not as proficient at skating as they once were.
So my main jobs over there were to update our Netherlands tour and to make it easier for our current level of participants. I had a number of successes:
- Replaced all three of our hotels with new options, two improvements and one replacing a hotel that no longer existed.
- Shortened routes on two days and replaced one day’s route with an entirely new, shorter option.
- Rerouted some sections to use better pavement, as pavement quality constantly changes, eroding with time and improving with new paving.
The Netherlands, our first-ever skate tour location, is still a prime location for those who love to skate. If you consider yourself an inline skater, please consider The Netherlands for your 2019 vacation option. Our Netherlands Adventure will take place July 8 – 14.