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Friese Elfsteden Rijwieltocht - sedert 1912
Friese Elfsteden Rijwieltocht - sedert 1912
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The Frisian Eleven Cities Cycle Tour
The tour has been organised since 1912. Since 1947 this is a yearly event, with exception of 2001. In this year, the tour had to be cancelled because of the foot and mouth disease in Holland.
The cityfarmer Corry de Groot from Bolsward cycled the tour for the fiftieth time on Whit Monday 27 May 1996. Unfortunately he could not participate in the following years because of a knee injury.
Up till now  there are 20 cyclists who completed the tour for the 50th time. On Whit Monday 2013 there was 1 participant who completed the tour for the 60th time.
In the Thirties and from 1947 to 1958, the tour was also a competing match. There was a match for racing cyclists and a match for participants on normal bicycles, the so-called proficiency tour. The high costs of the matches were the reason for the board at that time to stop with the competing matches and to organise the tour as a pleasure ride only from that time on.
The interest to cycle the tour was not very big in those years. Until 1964, there were about 300 participants who cycled the tour. In 1965 there were 498 participants. But in 1966, a period of growth started. In 1971, 942 participants cycled the long tour of 240 km and in 1972 there were 1568 participants registered. Only then the real growth of the number of amateurs started. In 1974, 2584 participants registered, in 1975 this number was 4050, in 1976 6857 and for the tour in 1977 9366 cyclists registered. In 1978, the 10.000 limit was passed.
Since 1979, the tour knew a maximum number of participants of 12.000. Since then, the interest for the tour has always been bigger than the number of available starting cards. Yearly, the organisation had to decline the interest of about 6000 amateurs. In 1986 the number of amateurs suddenly increased and the organisation had to disappoint about 13.000 amateurs. This extra interest has partially been caused by the 11-Cities Race, (skating marathon), which took place in 1985 and 1986.
Over the following years, the number of interested people stabilised around 20.000. After the 11-Cities Race (skating marathon) of 4 January 1997, the interest suddenly increased. About 23.000 amateurs registered. This number has slowly decreased to about 20.000 and over the last years the number has been stable around 16.000 registered amateurs. The tour of Whit Monday 4 June 2001 had to be cancelled because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Holland and Fryslân.
Because of the number of amateurs which yearly had to be disappointed, there were clearly all kinds of proposals to give more people the opportunity to cycle the tour. But the organisation of a mass event like the 11-Cities Cycle Tour requires such an amount of effort of the organisation, co-workers, police, Red Cross, first aid, traffic control and other persons and authorities involved, that the possibilities which can be organised on one day have been reached. This is the reason that it will remain to be one tour on Whit Monday from Bolsward in one starting direction. However, in order to try to fulfil the wishes of many and to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the organisation allowed a maximum number of participants of 15.000 on Whit Monday 8 June 1987. This maximum number is still valid nowadays.
The participants have to start in Bolsward in groups of 625 cyclists. The first group leaves at 05h00 a.m. Hereafter, each next group will start every 8 minutes. The last group (group 23) starts at 07h56 a.m. At the start, cooperation is given by three bands, the city barrel organ Omke Romke and the Boalserter Skotsploech. They accompany the cyclists to the first check points, were they can begin the long tour of 240 km along the Eleven Frisian Cities. Participants have the opportunity to finish in Bolsward and to report to the finish check until 24h00.
It goes without saying that there are thousands of spectators along the route to encourage the cyclists. These are images which we might all recognize of the 11-Cities Race (skating marathon) in 1985, 1986 and of Saturday 4 January 1997 when thousands of skaters were cheered to the finish of the 11-Cities Race on the Bonkevaart in Leeuwarden.
Rules and regulations 11 Cities Cycling Tour
The 11 Cities tour is cycling tour of 235 km.
Each participant is to be well prepared and has to have decent material.
Because of safety reasons, it is obligatory to carry a safety helmet.


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