Some things make you want to scream. I’ll get to one of those in a few moments. In the meantime, there’s a small family of ‘Cycling Europe’ websites out there:
- CyclingEurope.com – the big one, not used but up for sale if you’d like it for many thousands of dollars… (out of curiosity I’ve just filled in the online form; I seem to remember that the last time they wanted around $25,000!)
- CyclingEurope.co.uk – doesn’t seem to exist. Perhaps it’s a Brexit-related thing…
- CyclingEurope.de – the German site – nice picture on the home page
- CyclingEurope.wordpress.com – not a bad personal site but it hasn’t been updated since 2011
- CyclingEurope.nl – the Dutch site
…and this is the one that’s really worth looking at. We all (well, me at least) envy the Dutch when it comes to cycling and the nation’s dedication to all things two-wheeled is evident when browsing CyclingEurope.nl. Go on, have a look! There’s even an English-language version of the site if you click on the union flag in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The site is actually run by a publishing company and it is used to showcase the cycling guide books that they produce but even if you don’t buy the books – some of which are available in English – there’s a fair amount of useful information on the site into which you can sink your teeth. The screenshots from the guides themselves reveal potentially very high-quality material. Here’s an extract from the Eindhoven to Paris guide:
You can even download GPS tracks from the site. Well worth a bit of your time.
As I said, the site is managed by a publishing company. It’s called Benjaminse Publishing and run by a chap called Paul Benjaminse. Earlier this week I exchanged a few emails with Paul. Now this is the bit of the post where I begin to fight the urge to start screaming… You, Paul, me and probably 99% of the population of the world have no problem in differentiating between different members of the ‘Cycling Europe’ family. Alas there is someone who can’t. His name is Marinus Siepel – here’s his Facebook page – and, for the past couple of months I’ve been trying to contact Marinus. He’s Dutch and I’m not sure if he speaks English but he has left the following review on the CyclingEurope.org (that’s this website) Facebook page:
Now my issue is not with the 1-star review. Some people love what you do, others hate what you do. I’ve become used to that over the years with the books. (Yes, it’s true; some people loathe them!). My issue isn’t really that he is the only person ever to have reviewed the Facebook page therefore giving it an average rating of, err… 1 star. No, my issue is that Marinus isn’t reviewing CyclingEurope.org or the CyclingEurope.org Facebook page (otherwise known as the Cycling Europe Podcast Page). He thinks he is reviewing the CyclingEurope.nl website and his dealings with Paul.
An honest mistake to make? Perhaps. But since May 2018 despite numerous attempts to contact Marinus, I have heard nothing in response. The only thing I hear are my own frustrating screams [insert scream here]. My referring of the matter to Facebook has fallen on deaf ears…
Anyway, as Marinus mentions Paul Benjaminse in his erroneous review, I contacted him instead. Paul did respond and had shed some light onto the matter:
“Indeed he is mistaken. [He] is a book seller out of the blue who wanted to order a guide book with maximum discount and delivered as soon as possible. We did not take this order as it costs more than it will ever give us… Sometimes not being on Facebook is a blessing in disguise.”
Yes, that’s certainly true.
I shall send a link of this post to Marinus. Perhaps he will read it. Who knows? There are, however, a few silver linings. The matter has given me reason to revisit the Cycling Europe family out there. If you know of any other ‘Cycling Europe’ websites, I’d love to hear about them. It’s also put me into contact with Paul who finished off his email as follows:
“I have translated some of my guide books in English. Would you like me to send you a copy?”
I would indeed! Thanks Paul. My faith in the Dutch love of cycling is restored and my screams quelled, for the moment…
What do you think?