28 June 2010

Bicycling to the Beach

path through the grasses

Yesterday we went on an adventure. A 60 km long adventure. We biked from Amsterdam to Bloemendaal aan Zee for the day. We left at 10 in the morning, arrived at the beach around noon, enjoyed the sun, sand, and sea until 5, then biked home, arriving at around 7:30. We spent pretty much exactly the same amount of time cycling as at the beach. Overall, it was a really lovely outing, though the ride back was ... painful. My legs were soooo sore by the time we got home that I just lay on the sofa the rest of the evening. I thought for sure they'd still hurt today, but it turns out not really. I have a funny squiggly sunburn on one arm where I missed applying sunscreen properly, but we otherwise slathered ourselves sufficiently and kept our sunhats on.

the beach!

I have never been particularly sporty, so a 30km cycling trip each way was definitely ambitious. But I wanted to visit the ocean and the weather was forecast to be absolutely glorious, so with a bike route mapped on Damian's android phone, we ventured forth. We marvelled at the lovely bike paths which are kept well away from the roads. Once we were out of the city, it felt like we were just biking through the countryside, with wildflowers, trees, birdsong, and pretty views. While scenic, the route is not uselessly twiddly; it largely followed along the route of the N200. There are also lots of little signposts along the bike route, at each intersection, making it relatively easy to follow (and clear that there are many other routes to follow for future adventures).

pony by the bike path

We packed ourselves 2 bottles of water and some frozen apple juice boxes and a picnic. The fruit salad (strawberries, mango, and cucumber) was perfect to eat when we first arrived at the beach, tired and thirsty! We had some other classic picnic food like peanut-butter-honey-cinnamon sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and bananas.

me biking under the trees

The beach was very busy and quite different from the kind of beach I grew up with. I am used to beaches with more rocks and driftwood, and little crabs and things. This was sand, with bits of shells of course, as far as you could see. The North Sea was chilly, though pleasant to paddle our feet in and let the waves splash our legs. We took advantage of the tractor-pulled food carts on the beach and tried a shrimp sandwich, some deep-fried calamari, and some ice cream bars.

little bridge

When we arrived a noon, there were already lots of people on towels and loungers, but by mid-afternoon, there was a whole new row of towels in front of ours and tons of people playing on the sand. A paddle ball kind of game seemed extremely popular, as was kicking a soccerball, though surprisingly we only saw a couple frisbees. By 5:00, the tide was coming in, and we were ready to head home. I'm not sure if I'd go to this particular beach again as I prefer more rocky bits for exploring and fewer people, but it was a fun adventure, and we only got a little lost on the way back to Amsterdam. (We actually think it made one stretch of the route shorter, though less scenic).

D biking by farmland

Photographs by Allison Gryski. © All rights reserved.


Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like an amazing way to spend the day ... minus the sore muscles!

scjody said... Best Blogger Tips

That's a great ride! I've ridden from Amsterdam to the beach (actually Zandvoort) before, but in early May when it was too cold for beaching. I ate lunch then continued south to Den Haag...

Chantelle said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm very jealous of the bike paths there. Here in Waterloo the city planners are coming to understand just how important it is to provide bike paths but there are no such luxuries around the countryside.