AMSTEL LOOP RIDE – 44 km of pleasure mingled with pain

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The Amstel Gold race, perhaps the Netherlands’ most important cycling event, is on TV today. My modest ride along the Amstel River wouldn’t qualify as ‘gold’; it was more ‘aluminium alloy’ class.

But it wasn’t raining, the sun was making an effort to break through, and I needed to get some serious kilometres in before the Classico Boretti cycling event exactly three weeks from now.

Either my Brooks saddle or my rear end has changed shape since they were last in contact seven months ago. They’re no longer a perfect match. My loop was hard work, and that gave me an excuse to stop and admire the scenery along the way.

Amstelveen is almost an outer suburb of Amsterdam, now a business and residential centre where many people prefer to live, getting better value for their real estate euros than in Amsterdam itself. The ‘veen’ in the name means ‘peat bog’ and it was good to see some of it still there on the the outskirts of the town.

Amstelveen is not known for its nature, but the area around the Amstelveense Poel has its charm.

Amstelveen is not known for its nature, but the area around the Amstelveense Poel has its charm.

From Amstelveen I turned right to reach Uitdam, on the Amstel River.

Labour and capital are surprisingly friendly in this Uitdam sculpture.

Labour and capital are surprisingly friendly in this Uitdam sculpture.

Although helmets and lycra are not the normal fashion among Dutch cyclists, there were plenty of them in evidence on the road by the river. The path is flat and smooth and free of cross streets, so you can get up some good speed with the wind at your back.

The outdoor gym.

The outdoor gym.

At the Amstelpark I took a break to visit the monthly ‘Pure Market’. I was intrigued to see a stall selling ‘traditional Australian honey coated nuts’. I don’t remember such a tradition in Australia. Maybe it’s become a tradition in the week I’ve been out of the country.

And despite the excellent array of biological, politically correct food available, most popular was the ‘pulled pork cheese burger’ going on the barbeque.

I assume the pork is purely pulled.

I assume the pork is purely pulled.

Tired but satisfied I rolled back into Amsterdam. It is great to be back in a cycling land. I’d ridden just over 44 kilometres, all but a kilometre of which was on designated cycle paths or lanes separated from motor traffic.

Overview of today's ride.

Overview of today’s ride.

For inzoomable map click here.

All photos taken with the iPhone 4.

6 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

6 responses to “AMSTEL LOOP RIDE – 44 km of pleasure mingled with pain

  1. What’s that zig-zag section bottom right? Surely not a hill?

  2. Jenny Thompson

    Richard – glad to hear you are back in the saddle (even though not fitting so well). Sorry we could only spend such a short time at the party and not to say goodbye but you were deep in conversation and didn’t want to interrupt. Bombers doing it all for Hirdy – go the Swans over Geelong tomorrow.
    Love to you both
    Jennyxxx

  3. ‘traditional Australian honey coated nuts’
    Maybe they were just confused and really meant AUSTRIAN honey coated nuts.

    • Well, they were macadamias, Neil. Anyway, It’s good to know that calling something ‘traditional Australian’ supposedly makes it more marketable.

      From now on I’m a ‘traditional Australian adventure travel blogger, trained to New Zealand standards’.

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