wife was keen with cycling in amsterdam so she did a bit of research.
the waterland cycling route looked quite exciting, covering about 51km return starting out from amsterdam, going along the dike by kinselmeer to marken & back by holysloot & ransdorp. and we were even thinking of taking the ferry to volendam….there is a very good guide in holland-cycling (marken cycle route) here.
regrettably in the end we did not manage that. the temperature was sub 10 degC & with windchill factor was colder than what we had planned for, and 1 of us repacked the bags & forgot & left out the gloves. we were quite ok though with the cold after cycling for a while, but the wind was too strong on the dike route (uitdammerdijk along kinselmeer) & it was substantial effort & slow progress & not really so fun for the 3 of us who were infrequent cyclist (like few times a year!). i knew i would get to enjoy this more in due course now that i finally got down to buying a dahon mu n360 foldable bike just before this trip. :-).
the cycling started quite well. we got our bikes from macbikes which was located on the eastern end of amsterdam central station, & the guy walked us through the double locks – one to lock the wheels, the other to chain the bicycle to a immovable object. 🙂 shortly we were on the bikes cycling to the ferry point to take the free ferry (for vehicles, bikes & passengers) to cross over to ij.
amsterdam is very flat country and quite easy to cycle. there were mostly dedicated cycle paths so very safe. we were confused with the signs on several stretch of roads. they showed a mo-ped & a bike with a diagonal bar cutting across them. a no-bike sign?? some dutch guy stopped to give us some help. he explained that paths w/o the sign was for bikes only, and the sign only meant that the road was used by bikes & other vehicles (& not for bikes only). 🙂
he commented it was a cold day & though unspoken obviously kind of thought we were rather ambitious when we mentioned that we were planning to go to marken & volendam! …so he knew better. haha. 🙂
the initial cold was manageable. but as we passed durgerdam & rode on to the dike on uitdammerdijk alongside kinselmeer, the wind was just too strong and the progress was so slow & of course it was very cold & over a very long stretch. it was very tiring and taking the fun out of a casual ride & enjoying the meadows & countryside. we decided to turn back on reaching 79 (see the holland-cycling marken cycle route map), and rode in the direction of holysloot to 78, and then towards 44, ransdorp.
without the wind impeding our progress, the ride was very pleasant & enjoyable past meadows & farms & windmills. 🙂
initially we thought of stopping at ij-kanteen for lunch (ij-kanteen is supposed to be a casual, modern, cheerful brasserie on a spacious ground previously a canteen for the shipyard…sounded hip & cool but not strictly a must for us..). but once we got back to the area, we wanted to have a quick bite so we stopped at a nice cosy cafe rather than to go looking for directions to ij-kanteen. guess we were just hungry. it was still cold outside so we chained our bikes to the railings and sat inside the cafe. we must be hungry as the burger tasted really good & the carrot coconut soup was super tasty. this soup was even better than the carrot soup at zazas & the movies restaurant (we must be real, really hungry! haha..), and perhaps not better but a different touch (more robust) c/w beulings. (i plan to do this at home after sourcing some internet recipes). 🙂
we were back to ij jetty to catch the ferry to cross back to amsterdam central. we decided to take a quick look at the Eye. a huge cruise ship passed by. it was quite a sight 10 storeys high.
we took the ferry & returned the bikes to macbike. i estimated we cycled 25km or more & we took just over 3 hrs in total so we had to pay the 24hr hire rates. with 10% discount from holland pass, macbikes 24hr rental include insurance for 3pax was 48euros. hmmm.. very expensive!