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Perfect Adventure for Solo Cyclists- Amsterdam And Beyond: a Guest Post by Jane Roberts
Amsterdam boasts 400km of cycle paths, and it’s estimated that half of all journeys in the city are taken by bike. The majority of locals use bikes on a regular basis, and there are numerous hiring options within a short distance of Central Station. This makes Amsterdam the perfect center point for a cycling vacation, and calls to the solo traveler, who can hire a cycle for the day and decide which destination takes their fancy without having to worry about anyone else’s plans.
Perfect Adventure for Solo Cyclists:
Explore The City Like A Local
From increased stamina to improved heart function to muscle strength, cycling has a wealth of health advantages, and became an integral part of Amsterdam’s infrastructure in the 1970s following a surge in car-related accidents. A solid network of cycle paths was introduced, and today, 38% of trips in the city are made by bike. Exploring Amsterdam as a solo traveler is consequently best done by bike if you really want to get a feel of the area.
Most bike rental services and hotels have bike maps of the area, which are handy to pick up even if you’d prefer not to follow a specific route. The cycle lanes will take you along the canals, lined with stunning architecture and beautiful barges, and you can explore the city’s maze of roads at your leisure. Cycle past Anne Frank’s House, where you’ll find space to lock your bike up while you take a tour (expect to queue for this); ride through the heart of the city to the Jordaan District; and visit Rembrandt’s house and the Rijksmuseum. Weave your way through the Red Light District and China Town to get a real feel of life in the city. Exploring Amsterdam will easily fill a day, even on two wheels, so make sure you plan to spend a good amount of time in the city.
A Waterland Trail
For a quieter contrast to the cycle paths of the city, cycle out to the fishing village of Marken. It can be accessed only by its long causeway, as it’s entirely surrounded by the sea. Riding out from Amsterdam will take you through Noord-Holland’s hinterlands and through Broek in Waterland, a small farming village. Start by taking your bike on the free ferry across the Buiten-I-J, ready to join quieter cycle paths after the crossing. The route will take you past the dockland area and east into open space.
Your journey will also take you over the Ultdammerdijk, where you’ll see the historic sea defences of the Waterland. Once you reach Marken’s causeway, you’ll enjoy clear views across the water, but the route is quite exposed, so prepare to battle the wind. Once you reach Marken, visit the Marker Museum in an old fisherman’s smokehouse, which will tell you the history of the village and teach you about local customs. The trail is easy to navigate, but as you’re traveling solo, be sure to keep a map of the area close to hand in case you lose your way before you return to Amsterdam.
Perfect Adventure for Solo Cyclists:
Take It Day By Day
One of the perks of traveling solo is that you can make your plans as you go along. Marken is just one of the many unique places you can comfortably cycle to, and none of them require much advance planning. Peruse the maps available at the cycle hire shops to see what takes your fancy: you can easily explore Utrecht, Naarden or Zaanse Schans by bike, discovering history, markets and windmills along the way.
Cycling is at the heart of life in Amsterdam, and the tapestry of cycle networks allows you to explore all the surrounding places easily. Get to know the city like a local, keep a cycle map in your pocket, and pedal out to discover the wealth of history and culture that the Netherlands has to offer.
For more information on the health benefits of cycling, see this detailed overview by Wheelie Great!