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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Amsterdam North via the Orange Sluice

I am working on a new northerly route, one which should surely earn a place in my series of local cycling circuits. It centers around my fascination with the Oranje Sluis, an almost unknown link between Oost (East) and Noord (North), yet a convenient one, as it feeds right into Schellingwoude, the picturesque old fishing village at the southeast corner of Noord. I figured out how to approach it from the south.

Nescio bridge

(original date of this entry: Nov 9, 2014)
Turn left here.
So the route goes: Flevopark - Amsterdam Rijnkanaal - Nescio cycling bridge - left turn opposite IJburg, also isolated and peaceful with abundant waterfowl - to Camping Zeeburg and my favorite ship observation slope. Underneath the bridge with amazing graffiti art and proceed out along the canal till the end, then turn right. Here, near the access ramp to the bridge - which I took last time further north - you come to a corner where a sculpture stands, comprised of bicycle handlebars and forks. Turn left here - the trail follows the west edge of Zeeburgereiland, a remote isle of warehouses, till you reach the Oranje Sluis, where this afternoon the ramp was just opening.


Oranjesluis, a sluice gate that controls traffic to and from Amsterdam via the IJ river. The bike path goes right over the gates, and you usually have to wait for ships to go through before proceeding. 
View from the sluice gate
After navigating across three sluice gates, ride up a quiet lane to Schellingwoude. Then left, skirting the line of houses a short distance west you reach Nieuwendammerdijk, the long narrow street that used to face the IJ, usually busy with bicycle traffic. Today I was riding behind a bunch of yellow bikes. You pass a couple of gezellig caf├ęs like 't Sluisje (homemade soups). At the end of the street, you emerge in gritty North Amsterdam and follow Meeuwlaan to the IJ Plein ferry.




Zeeburgereiland bridge 
***

And yet another fine northerly local ride, though rather different in character. Starts the same way, in Flevopark, as the sun goes behind the clouds. Then out of the park and up the thoroughfare (Oost-Watergrafsmeer) canal till it cuts left to kp 54, the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal. Turn right, go under the A10 and right to ascend to the famous Nescio bike bridge over the canal. Like yesterday, I turned left on the north side, but then took a bridge into IJburg. This took me through the modern residential neighborhood to IJburglaan, where I turned left to the bridge back over the A10. Shortly past the highway I follow a sign pointing right (fietsers Oost Zeeburgereiland). Nice remote path past some tall pale green storage tanks. At the waterway (the link between Buiten IJ and Het IJ), the Zuiderdijk, I turn left (a right would take me to the site of the annual Magneetfestival at southeast end of triangular Zeeburgereiland), a lovely waterside ride on a practically deserted route, back underneath the highway (bridge to Schellingwoude -- I had glimpsed this path from the bridge and wondered how to get down there), leading inevitably to the Oranje Sluis, where today once again I had to wait for a brief period for the ships to go through. It isn't clear from which side cyclists should cross the sluice first, a concern because the ramp is too narrow for more than one. Someone has to take the initiative and fortunately it was the fit middle-aged man in front of me.



Amsterdam North via Orange Sluice

At Schellingwoude, I turned right (yesterday I went left), along the attractive line of little old houses facing the water, then around the bend (toward kp 46), then down alongside the dike (Durgerdammerdijk), then around the bend (left), along the very similar waterfront houses/harbor of Durgerdam.

Durgerdam


Beyond Durgerdam, at kp 47 a left, a pretty ride as you approach the tower of Ransdorp, glowing in the magic rays of the lowering sun, much like a painting by old Rembrandt (as noted previously, the tower was an early subject for the Dutch master). Through the village to kp 44, a left turn through utter polder--nothin' but turf and power lines, not even much cattle. At kp 43, it's over an old wooden bridge, then another (at kp 45) to skirt the rear end of Schellingwoude, a lovely community facing the Zwartegouw canal, and back down to bridge to Zeeburgereiland and continuing to Oost (follow signs to Amsterdam-Oost when in doubt). Another great ride!
Ransdorp after Rembrandt





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