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.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Mexico flashback edition: Bicitekas

Prepare for takeoff: by the Angel, Mexico City
Bicitekas is a Mexican cycling advocacy organization with the formidable task of promoting two-wheel transport in a country that is almost as car-obsessed as its northern neighbor. Lately they've seen some positive developments with the installation of temporary cycling infrastructure as biking is encouraged as an alternative to overcrowded public transport amid the current pandemic.

Back when I lived in Mexico City in the early 2000s, I joined Bicitekas on several of their Critical Mass-style demonstrations, which gathered Wednesday evenings at the Ángel de la Independencia monument. What follows are accounts of two different Critical Mass events which I recorded in my journal.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


A roll through the polderland. Starting at Purmerend, north of Amsterdam, this loop traces the former triangular island known as the Zeevang, land of ancient pastures laced with a filigree of slender canals. The west side follows the bank of the Markermeer south along a high dike that takes in broad swaths of the stark, serene landscape, ending up at the storybook town of Edam. From there it's smooth sailing along a broad canal, the Purmeringvaart, back to the start point.

  Route: Purmerend - Kwadijk - Oosthuizen -Beets - Schardam - Etersheim - Warder - Edam (via LF-21) - Purmerend 
  Distance: 32km
  Train access: Purmerend, Hoorn

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


This woodsy jaunt starts at Rheden, east of Arnhem, then heads north through the heath and forest of the Veluwe National Park almost all the way to Apeldoorn. The open spaces of the Rozendaalse Veld and the deep woods of the brook-laced Imbosch make for a serene ride. For an attraction there's the architectural oddity of the Posbank pavilion with adjacent sun-drenched terrace café.

  Route: Rheden - De Steeg - Rozendaalse Veld (via LF-4) - Imbos - Loenermark - Apeldoorn
  Distance: 35km
  Train access: Arnhem, Velp, Rheden, Apeldoorn

Friday, January 17, 2020

Haavikerwaard route, Gelderland


This route strikes northeast of Arnhem along the IJssel river (which continues on to Zutphen) and crosses a lake, the Giesplas, via two ferries and several splendidly remote peninsulas. It continues to skirt the river as far as the storybook village of Doesburg, then follows a beautifully serene curve of the river to the town of Dieren via yet another ferry. This puts you at the edge of the Veluwezoom national park, but instead of climbing into the vast forest, I skirted the railroad west back to Arnhem in time to catch a massive celebration on the anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem. 

  • Route: Arnhem-Velp-Giesbeek-Doesburg-Dieren(along LF-3)-Rheden-Velp-Arnhem
  • Distance: 48 km
  • Train access: Arnhem, Velp, Rheden, Dieren

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Nieuw Landroute

Natuurpark Lelystad

Hardly a tourist destination, the young city of Lelystad nevertheless proves a brilliant case of urban planning, surrounded on three sides by parklands and nature reserves, with a few genuine attractions by its harbor. After an on-foot wander through the province's famed avian reserve and a harborside jaunt, this route follows a serene green circuit of Flevoland's second city. 

  Route: Lelystad - Oostvardersplassen - Lelystad Harbor - Natuurpark Lelystad

  Distance: 40km
  Train access: Lelystad