Hello! Two of us are planning a 2 week trip to Belgium and The Netherlands in mid-October. We're from Oregon, USA, and are regular bike commuters, so we are not afraid of rain. We would like to do some traveling by bike during our trip. We have never done overnight biking here in the US. Couple questions:
1. Any recommended 2-3 day itineraries? We love beer, farms, great views, and are curious about WWI centennial events in Flanders and elsewhere that may be happening around this time. Any recommendations for short trips?
2. Do we need to be concerned about renting a bike? We are flying in/out of Brussels and could rent a bike for the entire trip there, though I think we will travel both by bike and by train. Is this cost effective? I have seen rates around 120 euros for 2 week bike rental. Is this reasonable, and will it be easy to find? Is it easy to bring bike on trains in the Low Countries or should we plan to rent bike in each city?
3. How to pack for such a trip? Since we will not be 100% on bikes, we are reluctant to bring "bike luggage" i.e. panniers. Has anyone else done a hybrid biking trip like this in Europe and what are your recommendations? I am inclined to pack my normal rolling suitcase and adapt to bike travel as needed. We have panniers we could also bring from the USA, but maybe something else would be easier? Will Ortlieb rear panniers work with any bike we rent? We will certainly come equipped with raincoats and rain pants. We're used to that in Oregon. Other suggestions for luggage and packing for a trip with multiple modes of transit?
Thanks in advance for ideas/feedback!