Bikes on Dykes

My first full day in Amsterdam was an epic 40km ride in the country north of Amsterdam. However before bikes my first thought in the morning was coffee. I didn’t really think that would be an issue, I had a 20min walk to the meeting point for the bike tour so left the hotel assuming I’d pick one up from the multitude of cafes along the way.

I was unfortunately completely wrong. Even though I was out at 9am on a Tuesday, the area of Amsterdam I was in felt like 6am Sunday, there was literally nothing open. I did manage to find one place just near the Bike store, however the coffee was terrible, molten hot (thus burnt) and not enough milk. Photos below from my walk to the bike meeting point, and the cafe where I won’t be getting coffee tomorrow.

Some bikes in the Bike Shop ready to be used, and a bike bell I was very tempted to buy

I meet the guide Pete, and find out I’m the only one on the Tour. Pete mentions we might go further than normal since its only me and we can cover more distance. I’m not complaining !

A few minutes after leaving we put the bikes on a special “Bike Ferry” It only takes pedestrians and Bicycles to the other side of the river. It runs every 15 minutes and is completely free. There is talk of it being replaced in the near future with a bike bridge.

Once off the ferry and a few minutes ride, I get the opportunity for the quintessential Dutch cycling photo.

We stop to examine one of the pumping stations that keep this part of North Holland (the part of the Netherlands we are in) dry. The level indicator is interesting as it notes how far below sea level we are, which is about 4 metres.

This pole indicates how far down the land here has sunk since the locals have been pumping water out over the past few hundred years. There is also a neat map of the area. All cycle paths and intersections are numbered so it would be easy to navigate even without GPS.

Along the way we see an honesty box style setup where you can get vegetables and eggs. Given its 30c and in the sun I think it would be a good idea to skip the eggs. Its an honesty system, but I note there is a camera to ensure honesty is kept.

One of the Dykes protecting Amsterdam. You can cycle on top of it. In other sections is large and wide enough that houses are built on them.

We stop for lunch in Ransdorp and climb the tower there for a wonderful view over the area. Its about 160 odd steps.

The village is beautiful.

For lunch we have a traditional “Bar Gehakt met Brood” which is basically a large beef & pork meatball severed on two slices of white bread with picked onion and cucumber with mustard. The idea is to break up the meatball to make a mince sandwich. More delicious than it sounds. I washed it down with a “Radler” which is basically a shandy.

After lunch we rode back towards another ferry terminal through some beautiful little villages and a small forest. You can see more in the attached video.

This is where we rode north of Amsterdam.

When the tour was over I just had a wander around Amsterdam for a bit, tried a Croquette from a little vending machine where you put your 2 euro in and open the little oven and take the food out. This chain is called Febo and is somewhat of a dutch institution. I had a satay one, delicious !

Various shots around Amsterdam. Too hot to try for a proper coffee so I had cold iced coffee out of a tin.

Anyone for an special cookie ?

The cheese shop was of more interest to me.

Supposed to be the best chips in Amsterdam. The queue was insane.