Amsterdam, July 01, 2011
First Published: 17:30 IST(1/7/2011)
Last Updated: 17:30 IST(1/7/2011)
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'Cycling to work'
It is nothing less than a myth especially in the crazy concrete jungles of our metropolitan cities, where all you see and hear is cars honking at everything that comes in their way. So for an enthusiastic biker, Delhi streets are not going to be anything even close to a cake
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But there's one extremely biker-friendly nation that not only will encourage you taking on the non-toxic two-wheel ride, but will also insist on you touring it by peddling your way through. Welcome to Amsterdam, yes it's not just known for its red light area.
If reports are to be believed, Amsterdam is one of the most cycle-friendly nations in all of Europe, a concept much alien to us Indians. So, here we try to get you up and ready to take Tour De Amsterdam once you read this article.
First things first, remember you are going to enter a city which eats, sleeps and breeds bikers because the historic city roads are not really suited for driving a car, giving bikers and pedestrians an upper hand making cycling a more practical option too, not to mention it being environmentally friendly too. Most of the locals swear by their only mode of travel at times. And with more than 400 kms of cycling tracks that take you through the entire city, what more could you really ask for.
Things you ought to know
Road Safety: Now unlike the almost law-less traffic scenarios in our metro cities, roads in Amsterdam have been made safe for the bikers as there are separate bike lanes and traffic signals created for cyclists making cycle travel a safe and an easy way to navigate your way around the city. Keep an eye out for the trams tracks as you cross the road as the bike tires can get caught in them.
Parking is no longer a concern: Usually there's dedicated parking allotted for bicycles, however, in case you do not find one simply lock them to the metal fencing on either side of the city canals. Lock your bikes carefully because bike thefts are very common in Amsterdam.
Carrying your ride: You can carry your bike on the trains at the cost of an extra ticket, however, you carrying bikes on the trams is not allowed.
Crossing crowed roads: You will have a bit of traffic in the main city squares and it is suggested to get of the bike and cross the streets. It is easier getting through like this.
Type of Bikes: Rent bikes with Hand brakes and not peddle brakes.
Rules to follow: Switch the bike lights on after dark.
So now that you have the rules engrained in your memory, here are a couple of suggested routes that you should undertake while on the sojourn journey in Amsterdam.
Historic City Tour
This three-hour city tour is considered to be the most apt way to explore the city. You can always hire a local guide to help you with the facts and of course to accompany you on the journey. He/she will enrich you with the history and the rich culture of this dynamic city.
On this tour, you will visit the huge canal-district, Chinese area, red light district and a major land mark Anne Frank's house, and who knows, you may just literally step into her book! Apart from these, this route is planned to take you through the recently restored Vondelpark.
Countryside bike tour
This 35 kilometer bike ride is designed to give you a taste of Amsterdam's. When you think of the countryside, it is but natural to expect plenty of scenic beauty as you peddle along on the nature reserve.
The tour takes you through the century old picturesque villages, waterways and the numerous green pastures. This tour is meant for people who yearn to learn about a country's culture through the rustic ways and enjoy their time in the lap of nature. The guide will give you a lesson in history and folklore of this district with its dikes and land reclaimed from the sea which is so characteristic of Holland.
So, whatever you do, make sure you don't forget to pack in those running shoes because you are going to need them, we promise.
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