Dolly's Bike Blog

Musings about fun between my legs

Abcoude, the Netherlands

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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.

 

A shaky start

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Don’s brother Ralph delivered us to Dulles Airport 2 1/2 hours before our flight time.  With the tandem, we know not to be in a rush..

At the ticket counter, the agent Terri was a bit harassed, but we remained calm.  The printer was out of stock and when filled kept jamming, so the process was quite time-consuming.  The tandem case weighed 82 pounds; we just paid the surcharge and proceeded to security.

Our TSA-Pre had no effect there, long serpentine lines.  And the TSA dog took a liking to Don, resulting in a full pat-down (I really wanted to take a picture…) and unpacking of his carry-on backpack.  Again we stayed calm.

We had day passes for the United lounge, which was full.  We walked to a second lounge, snagged some food and headed to our gate.  Overseas flights start boarding an hour before departure.

Once onboard and settled, the plane slowly exited the gate and wandered to the runway – and stopped.  There was a thunderstorm threat in the area and all take-offs and landings were delayed for an hour.  No clouds that we could see, but there we sat.  Final take-off delayed almost an hour and a half.

Flight generally uneventful, though the mild sleeping pill I took did not work, so little sleep for either of us.  We landed in Amsterdam around 9 am local time, retrieved our luggage and the infamous tandem case and were met by Jan, driving a large Ford van, big enough to hold the case and our luggage.

We are staying 2 nights in Abcoude, maybe 20 miles outside of Amsterdam. We will put the tandem together, explore the area, and get “settled” before we embark on our Dutch adventure.

“On the road again”

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Don and I are busily packing our tandem and duffels for another trip across the ocean.  We depart Indy on Tuesday, drive to Fairfax, VA (where Don’s brother lives), then fly from Dulles Airport to Amsterdam, where our latest adventure begins.

With the assistance of Tulip Cycling, we plan to ride solo (can a tandem ride solo?) to several cities and towns in the Netherlands, leisurely pace, flat terrain, hopefully reasonable weather — this for 9 days.  Tulip Cycling has planned the routes and hotels, and will transport our luggage each day, so we just pedal and explore.

Then on September 24th, we meet up with other 14 tandem teams and enjoy Belgium with Pennywise Tandem Tours (we did Barcelona to Toulouse with them 2 years ago.) We will be back in the US on October 9th.  We will end our trip with a visit to New York City for a reunion of Don’s graduate school rugby team.

I hope to write regularly about our adventures and share photos.  Thanks for joining us on the road once again.

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