One of the things I pre-planned for this trip was doing local bike tours from Amsterdam. I found them on holland-cycling.com, confirmed them on the cycle planning site hollandcyclingroutes.com, and followed them on the bike using the free Fietsknoop app.
I did a bunch of research in advance on finding inexpensive longer term bike rentals; we were planning to rent the bikes and keep them for at least 3 days. In truth, only about 10% of the places you can rent bikes in Amsterdam have an on-line presence. Cheapest of these was Mike's. After a bit of checking, I still think Mike's were a good deal; we paid €46 for two 7 speed bikes for 3 days.
|Our steeds in the shop at pickup|
|A typical path as you head out of Amsterdam|
The Amstel River is fairly big and slow moving, so full of rowers. There are also a few windmills around. Most are "polder mills" the ones built to pump water out of the polder to keep the land dry.
|On the other side|
|On our side|
As we got further south, we left the Amstel River and, as is the case in this area of the Netherlands, crossed canal after canal. We ended up in this little town...
|Note all the bike direction signs|
|The pretty view of the church from the other side|
|Dude a 'crankin'|
|The boat sails through|
|Lady arrives to unlock the bridge|
|The gates are lowered|
|The bridge is up|
|The boat comes through|
|The bridge goes down|
Not much further, at about the 20 km mark, we found our first fort, though there's little of it left.
|It used to be on that island|
Along the way, we crossed the major shipping canal through this section of the country.
|Not a small boat at all|
|A classic Dutch scene|
|The "main drag"|
|Canal houses here|
|The boat passes|
|You are here|
|Not a bad way to guard your business|
|Does this photo make it look fat?|
|The plan. Circular fort in the centre|
|Bits of remaining bastion wall|
|Looking our the remains of the bastion walls|
|Seen over the bastions|
|I swear they're posing|
|An artistic but accidental shot by KC|
|The backside, as we approached|
|Not a common site|
|Why not, I say.|
|Waiting for the bridge, like everyone else|
On we rode, to the toal highlight of the day: the Muiderslot fortress. At the entrance to a main canal, right on the (then) Zuiderzee, now run by the Rijksmuseum.
|Shades of Monty Python|
|The inner courtyard|
|The sentry walk walls|
|Arrow position details|
|Stairs in a tower|
|Leg irons, anyone?|
|Karen as a damsel|
|Me as a jester|
|Armaments, armour, and all the good stuff|
|From the back side|
|One side flowers, one side veggies|
|Down below is the exhibit|
|Mee shooting on the other side of the water wall|
|The gap is clearly visible|
|'Aint no gap now|
|Karen shooting my predicament|
|That's me, behind the wall of water|
Alas, it was time to walk around the fort and ride home. Muiderslot's expensive to visit, but well worth it.
|From the rampart|
|Also part of the system|
|They liked round forts|
Aside from Karen crashing and injuring herself, it was a spectacular day for a ride, and having the Muiderslot Castle near the end was a real highlight.
Next up: You can pay €50 to go on a tour to Zaans Schans. We rode there in about 90 minutes, for free.