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Monday, May 24, 2021

Flevodelia, part 2

Just outside Dronten

The tour of Flevoland continues. I had reached Dronten, the easternmost town in Flevopolder (that being the younger, southwestern component of this artificially constructed province). I struck further east, skirting the railroad, to reach the edge of the land mass, location of one of the quirkier works of land art that formed the basis of my tour. From there I jumped over to the adjacent province of Overijssel and had a tour of the ancient rural landscapes around Elburg before proceeding further east through a splendid riverine landscape to the town of Kampen. Now I was poised for the next leg of my journey, the remote Northeast Polder. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Flevodelia, part 1

 

 

Flevoland, the Netherlands' 12th and youngest province, is generally given short shrift in travel guidebooks, as it has few genuine "attractions" other than the former islands of Urk and Schokland, both of which were incorporated into the land mass that became the Noordoostpolder in the mid-20th century. But in fact the flat expanses of Flevoland harbor a unique set of nine "land art" installations that exploit the possibilities of the landscape as a medium, while some reflect on its history. I've already seen the Green Cathedral, now I wanted to see the others. They provided a perfect pretext to explore. So I worked out an itinerary where I could visit one or two per ride, then park my bike at the nearest train station. I started by cycling from Amsterdam to Almere, the province's westernmost city, with a couple of land art pieces within cycling distance, found another amidst the vast polderland, then two more near the town of Lelystad. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

All signs


Plans are afoot to install a new network of fast bikeways for commuters, primarily between cities and suburbs. A few pilot routes have already been installed: Eindhoven-Veldhoven in Noord-Brabant; Deventer-Apeldoorn; and Utrecht-De Bilt. To designate these special routes, a new signage element will be added: the letter 'F' (fast I guess) plus the number of the route in white lettering on a blue background. The website of the Fietsberaad shows what these look like. 

A number of signage systems are already in use throughout the Netherlands. It can be a bit confusing to visitors, and in fact many Netherlanders aren't aware of them either. I've discussed and illustrated the various types of signs in previous posts and how they can be used, but I'd like to break it down here and provide a brief guide to cycling signage in the Netherlands. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Park & Ride, Part 2: Winterlude



Cyclin' large


The autumn days got chillier as I continued my journey in stages through central Netherlands. Having skirted the rivers, I was now poised to plunge into the great forests: to the north, the Veluwe and to the west, Utrechtse Heuvelrug. I traversed the northwest corner of the former, then the northern edge of the latter as far as Hilversum. An icy wind propelled me home from there. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Park & Ride, Part 1: The Great Waal



I've been getting into a new mode of touring, partly due to lockdown rules. Overnight stays with Vrienden op de Fiets are out. So instead of overnighting, I simply leave my bike at a train station at the endpoint of the day's tour. Then return another day to continue the tour. Parking is always available at stations, usually secure, often sheltered from the rain. I tried this approach along the North Sea coast last summer with great success, from Amsterdam going straight west to Zandvoort beach, then heading north in stages: Beverwijk, Castricum, Heiloo, Alkmaar, each station an easy 5-10km ride to a fabulous beach. Then I rode back along an alternate route with different beaches. 

This time I tried the park & tour method in central Netherlands, and again it worked brilliantly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Amsterdam: Oud-Zuid to Zuidoost




Lockdown time but it's ok to take a bike ride. This is one of a series of tours I took in March and April from a guidebook put out by the Commissie voor Welstand en Monumenten (Commission for Well-Being and Monuments). The commission reviews architectural proposals throughout Amsterdam, whether renovations of existing structures or new buildings. They assess each project to determine if it fits into the existing architectural context and also reflects the historical legacy of the neighborhood in some way.