Cycling around the city is great fun. But I thought it would be nice to get outside the city and see some of the famous Dutch countryside. Here is the tour that I took:
Leave the bustle of the city behind on a 4-hour countryside bike tour from Amsterdam. Your 13.5- to 15-mile (22- to 25-kilometer) ride will take you the outskirts of the city and the countryside beyond, stopping along the way so your guide can share interesting anecdotes and background. Your tour begins in central Amsterdam in the late morning, when your informative guide provides a brief introduction to Amsterdam’s history.
Then, cycle through the bike-friendly city of Amsterdam, pedaling along narrow streets and canals and over beautiful bridges. Slowly, your cityscape changes to tranquil pastures and peaceful waterways. Keep watch for colorful houseboats, as well as people fishing and rowing in the water. At a local farmhouse, meet a farmer and enjoy some Dutch traditions: sample farm-produced cheese and watch a demonstration of how clogs are made.
As far as the stops, yes on the cheese, but no on the clogs. I knew a guy in graduate school at U.C. Berkeley who wore clogs with his suit! He is the Dean of the UCLA School of Medicine, whoda thought?
Alas, bicycles are a way of life here, to the point where they are strongly considering banning gas combustion vehicles within the city limits. I vote for that, since the city is compact and almost flat. Much like New Zealand has more sheep than people, Amsterdam has more bicycles than cars. That is a good thing.
Observing, the bicycles are quite the common variety, built for comfort, not speed. Cyclists routinely talk or text on their cell phones while pedaling. Some also smoke when they pedal. They are dressed in ordinary clothes, no spandex or bike cleats. No speed demons either, save for the occasional 9 year old who escapes his parent’s watch. And most remarkably compared to home, many gray hairs or no hairs. This means these folks are in pretty good shape!
I will tell you more after my ride on Sunday. It was fairly easy despite my lack of sleep. The visit to the dairy was a hoot, as the farmer has an eye for the pretty girls. But I got some exercise, bought some 100% natural smoked Gouda cheese, and refrained from buying wooden shoes. More after I nap.
And I did learn much about the history of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, the Dutch, cheese, dykes, and windmills.