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.
From Amstelveen I turned right to reach Uitdam, on the Amstel River.
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.
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.
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.
For inzoomable map click here.
All photos taken with the iPhone 4.