Abcoude is located southeast of Amsterdam and due east of Schiopol, the Amsterdam Airport.
Despite our lack of sleep on the flight, we went to work on assembling the tandem, after checking into our hotel. At 2 pm local time, we were visited by Peter Vos from Tulip Cycling, who has planned our bike ride and luggage transfer for the next 9 days. He briefed us on the use of the Garmin and the 28 pages of maps that correspond to the route.
After a short nap, we met with Marja, a friend of our daughter Sarah. Actually they met 3 years ago randomly in Alexandria at a coffee shop, struck up a conversation, and now stay linked via Facebook. As Marja knows no stranger, she wanted to meet with us and took the train and bus from her office in Amsterdam for dinner and conversation – just delightful, and she played early Santa Claus with several bike-friendly gifts.
Needless to say, we slept soundly overnight and enjoyed the European style breakfast. To check out the tandem-build and loosen up our legs, we decided to try out a Knooppunter route we found on a card at our lunch stop. The cycling infrastructure in Holland is amazing: separate bike trails beside faster roads, signs directly you to routes numbered from town to town, shared roads in residential areas with slower moving traffic, even a dedicated serpentine ramp rising 4 stories to cross a 75-yard wide canal.
The scenery is spectacular: occasional windmills, houseboats with well-kept gardens, castles from the 13th century, beautiful homes everywhere, clean, organized residential areas, lots of canals from one boat wide to 75-100 yards wide.
In the town of Muilen, we enjoyed a pastry and coffee and met Dion and Shannon, Canadians who are spending a week cycling in the Netherlands before heading by bike to Berlin. Dion is a standup comedian who cycles to many of his gigs.
Total riding distance 27 miles, average 11 mph – no rush.
Difficulty with uploading, photos to come.