Day 1, 18th May 2011, Schipol to Utrecht

This blog is designed to give some flavour as to how an unsupported bicycle tour of Europe might work.  The use of a GPS  tracker is important, as it provides a good understanding of the actual route used.  I am logging every 30 seconds, so the mileage is slightly different from that acquired from my bicycle computer.  If you are interested in how the bike path system works, you can zoom in on the Google map for detail.

It took around 32 hours from when we closed the front door of our home to when we arrived in Amsterdam.

We got our bikes from the oversize luggage at Schipol Airport, spent around a half hour putting them together, and then left the airport at around 8.30AM.  The bike path starts about 200m from the doors of the Airport, as shown in the photo above. Driving out would have to be a lot more difficult.

The intention for the day was to head first to Utrecht from the Airport, then head east.  We only made Utrecht as it happened, after 85Km of riding on the wonderful Dutch bike path system.  We were on either dedicated bike paths, or farm lanes and very minor roads.  We had a great day.  The weather was perfect, overcast, cool and low winds.

The riding is so comfortable without fighting with traffic.

So we meandered along these paths, a lot of the time beside canals.  We were most impressed with the beautiful houses and gardens that proliferate along these canals apparently owned by wealthy commuters from Amsterdam.

The country looked beautiful, and it was a pleasure to meander our way through it, albeit with a few navigation errors as you can see from the map.

 The Dutch cycle touring system has two aspects.  There are a series of places marked by maps and numbered, and from these there are routes to other such numbered places.  These places are nowhere in particular, they may be in villages or at some point of no particular significance on a path. We had the maps from a previous trip, and you would be well advised to get them in advance of a trip to Holland.

The second associated system is a number of defined routes.  So we followed route 7A which wends its way south to Utrecht.  We have found that signage is usually pretty good, but can be tampered with, hence our error.

At Utrecht we found the information centre who booked a hotel for us, about 2km away.  It is two-star but clean and cost 80E including a map and booking fee.

We had dinner at an alfresco restaurant with good food, one amongst dozens along a canal in the centre of the city.   I find this a highlight of the day, just relaxing and watching life go by.   59E including tip.

View 18 5 2011 Amsterdam Utrecht in a larger map


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