Cool, almost cold and overcast and the chance of rain, perfect day to ride 70 plus kilometers from Amsterdam back to our home base in Barendretch, just on the south edge of Rotterdam. Long ride so the plan is to take the train up and then ride back. Just not up for 150 kilometers in one day especially since we just did a big ride yesterday.
Time to find the rain jacket just in case and add another slightly heavier layer to beat the cool weather. Not unmanageable cool but not the kind of weather to just stand around. The rail ride up is uneventful, a little confusion at the auto ticket machine when we didn’t collect all our person and bike tickets. Another passenger handing me the 2 tickets we left behind and then we need to ask a fellow traveler which platform to find the train. There is a change in trains at Rotterdam Central to get us the second half of the trip. The train leaving Rotterdam Central starts to head south and Amsterdam is north so I’m a bit concerned but the train makes a huge u turn and then heads north through what look like the tulip growing section that has field after field of green houses some with tulips, others just waiting for growth.
Arrival in Amsterdam, I am already prepared for another visual overload and I’m not disappointed. Huge city, we get off the train at the Central station which opens on an area that is humming with visitors walking and locals riding up right style city bikes. Kids, moms, dads, business dress and casual, all on bikes. Oh, and then there are the scooters. The bike lanes are great but you need to be aware that scooters can drive in them too, up to 20 kph with no helmet and over 20 kph with a helmet.
No Google maps for now, just wandering around and looking at all the sights of a big city in action. We find a quite sidewalk cafe with heaters and it’s now about mid day so it’s time for lunch and a coffee before the long ride back. We have all our bike kit on trying to stay warm with just casual riding around town.
The ride back is great, tail wind from the north to help us, no wonder riders are strong around here with all the wind conditions. Plus, the Dutch are a hardy lot, out and about without a lot of heavy clothes on generally. Google maps works amazing good but there are some times when the routes get dense and it fails. At one point I need to change phones and reestablish the route because one map just can’t figure out how to get us up and over a canal and bridge area. We are generally following a major canal to the south so not a lot of constant route changes but there are adjustments every 2 to 5 kilomegters to keep us on a major bike route. The major routes are labeled SF and then a number and a destination. We are on SF2, you do have to be alert for construction and confusing little changes that happen.
What did we see? Back through big open countryside, past the green houses, lots of dikes and canals, cows grazing right next to the path without fencing, wild turkeys, old unused wind mills, other local cyclists and walkers of all ages, a cycling group ride that we encounter going over a steep bridge with barely enough room for me to pass, yelling at them as I go over, boats and marinas, city areas, I can go on and on.
Closer to Rotterdam, time to look for a dinner stop but we can’t seem to find anything so Google maps to the rescue, “Restaurants close to us” directs us to what looks like one of the fanciest places we have found. A little concerned, we lock the bikes up outside and head in and up the stairs to a bar and restaurant that has great views of a major river with all sorts of barge traffic. The place is a little quite, the staff is super friendly and we are starving. Beers and the specials of the day including starters. No coffees or deserts, we still need to find home which looks to be another 6 to 8 kilometers and it’s close to 8 P.M. Out the door and as well ride away one of the waiters comes out from the second floor and yells at us “Thank you gentlemen, have a safe ride” Amazing!
Back home, time to relax, read some, no Netflix tonight, just sleep. Tomorrow,easy ride around Rotterdam to the markets day.