4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Escape to Amsterdamse Bos

A biking adventure in Amsterdam.

Into the woods in Amsterdamse Bos, a refuge from the city's array of street traffic.
Into the woods in Amsterdamse Bos, a refuge from the city's array of street traffic.

Bicycles more than double that of the number of cars in Amsterdam, coming in at over half a million. In the city center, the number is probably closer to 5 to 1, as thousands of bicyclists make their way throughout the city.

As a visitor, it's an incredible sight and also an odd sensation to see a bustling city without the noise pollution of honking horns, big rigs and sirens. With the beauty also comes organized chaos. Bicyclists absolutely own the streets, so it's important here to practice what we learned at a young age – look both ways before crossing.

After a few visits to this beautiful city I finally built up the courage to rent a bike. Just around the corner from Leidseplein and close to the apartment I had rented for the week was a bike shop called Het Zwarte Fietsenplan. A very nice woman helped me pick out the perfect two-wheeled accompaniment, gave me a couple of tips and sent me on my way.

Within two minutes I realized that I was completely out of my element, and for the first time since I learned to ride at a very young age, the idea of riding seemed completely foreign to me. The thousands of bikes came at me in all directions, zoomed left, passed right, bells rang, trams zoomed by, pedestrians ran out in front of me, bike lanes with designated stop signs flashed red and green.

I'd chosen a bike with no silly advertisement with the hope of blending in, trying not to stick out like an inexperienced tourist. Fail. There was no doubt that I was a tourist, and it was obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. The organized chaos quickly turned into a swirling mass of confusion. I pulled the bike off to the side and decided that I had to get out of the city center. I chose a destination I had read about – Amsterdamse Bos.

Amsterdamse Bos is the largest park in Amsterdam (bordering on the town of Amstelveen), and sits just a few miles from Amsterdam center. I wasn't sure of its exact location but I knew the general direction, so I began to make my way.

Within a few minutes I had escaped the overwhelming number of bikes and found myself trailing other bicyclists, using them as my guide. If I wanted to go straight and they turned right, I'd just latch on to someone else and follow them for a few blocks.

Soon the chaos and confusion were replaced by absolute bliss. The sun was shining, autumn leaves were crunching below my tires and I was riding like a local in one of my favorite cities. Along the way I'd stop and ask for directions, and was kindly pointed the way. I rode past schools, offices, parks, lakes and beautiful old Dutch homes.

I finally arrived at the entrance to Amsterdamse Bos, and immediately was engulfed by the tranquility of the place. I rode along a trail next to a long, narrow waterway and watched as people practiced speed rowing.

Red and orange foliage draped a colorful blanket across the bike trails, dogs played fetch in one of the many grass meadows, and people strolled throughout the park. Each trail led to another, sending me further into the forest, winding past running streams, lush greenery, lakes, a small cafe and a goat farm. It was amazing to think how close I was to the city center while feeling a million miles removed.

Amsterdam is one of those cities that I already find peaceful, with the quaint canals, bridges and narrow streets, but it's always a thrill to experience something new. I can see how Amsterdamse Bos could be popular in the spring and summertime, and can only imagine its beauty when flowers are blooming, the weather is warm, and people flock here to enjoy the outdoors.

I rode aimlessly throughout the park, stopping occasionally to take a breather and to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Once I made my way back out of the park and onto the streets, I followed the signs pointing to Amsterdam.

As the number of bicyclists increased, and "traffic" began getting heavier, I knew I was getting close to the center. Much like my journey outside of the city, I again latched onto other people and followed the flow of traffic.

Along the way, I stopped at the designated bicycle stoplights and listened as people chatted while waiting for the light to turn. I loved the idea that I was out on a "bike ride," as the rest of the commuters were heading to work, school, and using their bike as their mode of transportation.

I rode through Vondelpark, and by this time I was feeling more confident in my biking skills, so I decided to take a short ride through the center of the city. I made my way up and down the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals, zig-zagging down some of the side streets and admiring the canal homes.

Along the way, I was yelled at for failing to use hand signals while turning, forgetting that there are rules of the road that I must abide by.

After a few hours with my new two-wheeled friend, it was time to turn it back in. I returned with both the bike and myself still in one piece, and pledged to myself that on my next journey to Amsterdam I will again venture out on wheels and explore more of the city and its surroundings.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Becky G’s Dime Optics sponsorship: the new BluBlocker?

“Coming out of what we consider very dark times.”
Next Article

Oceanside gets even more serious about street people

City turning toward Bread of Life to run 50-bed home
Into the woods in Amsterdamse Bos, a refuge from the city's array of street traffic.
Into the woods in Amsterdamse Bos, a refuge from the city's array of street traffic.

Bicycles more than double that of the number of cars in Amsterdam, coming in at over half a million. In the city center, the number is probably closer to 5 to 1, as thousands of bicyclists make their way throughout the city.

As a visitor, it's an incredible sight and also an odd sensation to see a bustling city without the noise pollution of honking horns, big rigs and sirens. With the beauty also comes organized chaos. Bicyclists absolutely own the streets, so it's important here to practice what we learned at a young age – look both ways before crossing.

After a few visits to this beautiful city I finally built up the courage to rent a bike. Just around the corner from Leidseplein and close to the apartment I had rented for the week was a bike shop called Het Zwarte Fietsenplan. A very nice woman helped me pick out the perfect two-wheeled accompaniment, gave me a couple of tips and sent me on my way.

Within two minutes I realized that I was completely out of my element, and for the first time since I learned to ride at a very young age, the idea of riding seemed completely foreign to me. The thousands of bikes came at me in all directions, zoomed left, passed right, bells rang, trams zoomed by, pedestrians ran out in front of me, bike lanes with designated stop signs flashed red and green.

I'd chosen a bike with no silly advertisement with the hope of blending in, trying not to stick out like an inexperienced tourist. Fail. There was no doubt that I was a tourist, and it was obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. The organized chaos quickly turned into a swirling mass of confusion. I pulled the bike off to the side and decided that I had to get out of the city center. I chose a destination I had read about – Amsterdamse Bos.

Amsterdamse Bos is the largest park in Amsterdam (bordering on the town of Amstelveen), and sits just a few miles from Amsterdam center. I wasn't sure of its exact location but I knew the general direction, so I began to make my way.

Within a few minutes I had escaped the overwhelming number of bikes and found myself trailing other bicyclists, using them as my guide. If I wanted to go straight and they turned right, I'd just latch on to someone else and follow them for a few blocks.

Soon the chaos and confusion were replaced by absolute bliss. The sun was shining, autumn leaves were crunching below my tires and I was riding like a local in one of my favorite cities. Along the way I'd stop and ask for directions, and was kindly pointed the way. I rode past schools, offices, parks, lakes and beautiful old Dutch homes.

I finally arrived at the entrance to Amsterdamse Bos, and immediately was engulfed by the tranquility of the place. I rode along a trail next to a long, narrow waterway and watched as people practiced speed rowing.

Red and orange foliage draped a colorful blanket across the bike trails, dogs played fetch in one of the many grass meadows, and people strolled throughout the park. Each trail led to another, sending me further into the forest, winding past running streams, lush greenery, lakes, a small cafe and a goat farm. It was amazing to think how close I was to the city center while feeling a million miles removed.

Amsterdam is one of those cities that I already find peaceful, with the quaint canals, bridges and narrow streets, but it's always a thrill to experience something new. I can see how Amsterdamse Bos could be popular in the spring and summertime, and can only imagine its beauty when flowers are blooming, the weather is warm, and people flock here to enjoy the outdoors.

I rode aimlessly throughout the park, stopping occasionally to take a breather and to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Once I made my way back out of the park and onto the streets, I followed the signs pointing to Amsterdam.

As the number of bicyclists increased, and "traffic" began getting heavier, I knew I was getting close to the center. Much like my journey outside of the city, I again latched onto other people and followed the flow of traffic.

Along the way, I stopped at the designated bicycle stoplights and listened as people chatted while waiting for the light to turn. I loved the idea that I was out on a "bike ride," as the rest of the commuters were heading to work, school, and using their bike as their mode of transportation.

I rode through Vondelpark, and by this time I was feeling more confident in my biking skills, so I decided to take a short ride through the center of the city. I made my way up and down the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals, zig-zagging down some of the side streets and admiring the canal homes.

Along the way, I was yelled at for failing to use hand signals while turning, forgetting that there are rules of the road that I must abide by.

After a few hours with my new two-wheeled friend, it was time to turn it back in. I returned with both the bike and myself still in one piece, and pledged to myself that on my next journey to Amsterdam I will again venture out on wheels and explore more of the city and its surroundings.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Faulconer preps for race against John Cox and Caitlyn Jenner

Union-Tribune employees left out of union organizing
Next Article

Encinitas tries subsidizing granny flats

People were applying for permits and not finishing the units
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close