If you come to Amsterdam, you should definitely cycle along the Ringvaart canal, the Ringvaart is a true circular canal surrounding the Haarlemmermeer polder. Cycling the Ringvaart is a popular activity for folks living around Amsterdam. I ride the Ringvaart as often as I can, yesterday was no exception, it was a windy day – good thing is that you will face the wind from all directions when you bike a circular canal.
My ride started at the Blaue Boo, on today’s ride I had a full handlebar setup with a Go Pro camera and the Hammerhead Navigation (testing).
The Blue Bow acts as a gateway to Osdorp. The blue loop can also be considered as a framework, which offers new perspectives to the surroundings depending on the position. It was designed by the British artist Cyril Lixenberg who moved to Amsterdam in 1959.
Kilometre 1 to 6
A kilometre from the Blue Bow is Molen Van Sloten & Kuiperij Museum, The Rembrandt Sloten Windmill is a functioning polder and the only publicly accessible daily mill in Amsterdam. It has a museum building that can be visited, outside the windmill is a statue of Rembrandt and his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh.
Molen Van Sloten
From Molen Van Sloten, I crossed over the Ringvaart to Badhoevedorp, and took a right turn to ride the Ringvaart anti-clockwise. For some reason, I prefer that direction when I ride Ringvaart, it doesn’t matter that much as you will come back to the same spot.
Badhoevedorp is part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies next to the Ringvaart around Haarlemmermeer at the side of the polder bordering Amsterdam/Amstelveen.
After Badhoevedorp I came to Lijnden village, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 10 km west of Amsterdam.
Lijnden or ‘de Lijnden’ is called after one of the three pumping stations, who reclaimed the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. In the pumping station, you can visit the restaurant Bij Qunis that serves up Mediterranean cuisine.
Kilometre 7 to 18
I continued my ride towards Zwanenburg, which takes its name from Gemeenlandshuis Zwanenburg, the former headquarters of the Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland, a Water Board that used to have its headquarters in Halfweg, on the other side of the canal known today as the Ringvaart.
Up until the 19th century, Zwanenburg was underwater. When the pumping station at Halfweg had succeeded in making the land ripe for building, the workers who had settled at Halfweg purchased this cheap land below the dike for their homes.
The infrastructure linking Halfweg to Haarlem and Amsterdam was already quite good, so Zwanenburg became a true commuter town. Halfweg was also the site of a large sugar factory, first opened in 1863, that served as an employer for Zwanenburg residents for more than a century.
The next kilometres after Zwanenburg along the Zwanenburgerdijk is very straight, a good place to get some tempo training in. Zwanenburgerdijk turns into Vijfhuizerdijk at the Spaarnwouderweg. There is a bend in the road here so watch out.
Cruising along Vijfhuizerdijk I entered the hamlet of Nieuwebrug, located in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. This is where Vijfhuizerdijk bends towards the south, a great place to do intervals, if you are up for that, I’m. Notable of Nieuwebrug are the houseboats.
The roads straighten out and it is straight down to Vijfhuizen, I have to watch out as I’m passing by a group of houseboats before I reach Vijfhuizen. Vijfhuizen is a town, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 4 km southeast of Haarlem.
Vijfhuizen has a few interesting places to check out if you not on a training ride, you find Fort Vijfhuizen not far from the Ringvaart bike path, Fort Vijfhuizen is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam) and a World Heritage Site. It is currently home to a charitable foundation run by volunteers with 12 art studios and a restaurant.
If you have time to stop you can check out the Expo Haarlemmermmer in Vijfhuizen or you can check out Floriade, it is a hill and at the top, you have a great view of the surroundings. I stop here, when I’m on a brick workout, park my bike at the bottom and run-up to the top and repeat, we do not have many hills around.
Kilometre 19 to 34
After Vijfhuizen the Vijfhuizerdijk turns into Cruquiusdijk, which leads me into the village of Cruquius. Cruquius is a part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 4 km northwest of Hoofddorp. Cruquius gets its name from Nicolaas Kruik (1678–1754), a Dutch land-surveyor and one of many promoters of a plan to pump the Haarlemmermeer (Haarlem lake) dry.
A great place to stop is Theehuis Cruquius, outside the Theehuis is a bike ferry that takes you from Cruquius to Shalkwijk the largest borough of Haarlem, Netherlands.
If you stop for a drink at the Theehuis Cruquius around the corner is Museum De Cruquius that has the largest steam engine in the world.
After Cruquius the road change name from Cruquiusdijk to Bennebroekerdijk which leads me to Zwaanshoek. If you have timed the wind direction correctly, you should get the wind in the back most of the days in the summer, and you can set a nice tempo down to Zwaanshoek. Zwaanshoek is a village, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 4 km west of Hoofddorp.
After Zwaanshoek the road change name from Bennebroekerdijk to Hillegommerdijk that takes me to the village of Beinsdorp. It is a part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 7 km southwest of Hoofddorp. Beinsdorp is named after a former island in the former Haarlemmermeer lake.
On this specific ride I turned at Beinsdorp on to Venneperweg towards Nieuw-Vennep, I did not do the full Ringvaart ride, Benisdorp is a good place to turn to make a half Ringvaart. Venneperweg goes across to Leimuiderdijk on the other side that connects me with Ringvaart.
Venneperweg took me into Nieuw-Vennep, Nieuw-Vennep is a town, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 10 km southwest of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
In the old days of the Haarlemmermeer lake, there was an island Vennip or Vennep, northwest of present-day Nieuw-Vennep, which Nieuw-Vennep owes its name, meaning “New Vennep”.
Nieuw-Vennep is one of two towns officially founded after the lake Haarlemmermeer was made into a dry land polder in 1852. The other town was Hoofddorp, at the time still named Kruisdorp. Until 1868 Nieuw-Vennep was called Venneperdorp, both towns have used their current name since that time.
The first inhabitants were farm labourers living under poor circumstances. As a result of the conditions, the town was nicknamed De Krim, in reference to the Crimea war fought between 1853 and 1856.
The modern Nieuw-Vennep is a great place to stop, if you ride on a weekend there are several bars and restaurants with outdoor patios to stop at and a great place to have lunch, halfway through the ride.
Following along the Venneperweg, I came to t’Kabel – there is nothing much to say then this is over the flight path of planes landing at Schiphol, and if you are interested in airplane viewing, you could stop for a while and look at the planes. If you have good eyes, you can see a plane in the picture below.
Going along Venneperweg after the t’Kabel is an incline over the A4, if you have it in you, step up and hammer it up the incline, this is your last incline on the ride.
A4 is a major highway, part of Rijksweg 4, and is a north-south motorway in the Netherlands, running from Amsterdam southwards through the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam, to the Belgian border near Zandvliet.
I was doing this ride on a Saturday, it was really heavy traffic on A4, what are people doing they could have gone on a bike ride or if they visiting friends or families taken a train – as the train service in the Netherlands is really great.
Kilometre 35 to 40
End of Venneperweg lays Burgerveen, a hamlet about halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague and the place that I reconnected with Ringvaart. The road here is named Leimuiderdijk, Burgerveen is a great place to stop at the Palingrokerij G. Eveleens for some local fast food, by know you have probably burned some calories, so be good to refuel, if you did not stop in Nieuw-Vennep.
Leimuiderdijk takes me into the town of Rijsenhout.
Rijsenhout is a town, part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and lies about 6 km southeast of Hoofddorp. Passing through Rijsenhout the road changes from Leimuiderdijk to Aalsmeerderdijk, in which you pass by Fort at Aalsmeer.
Fort at Aalsmeer
The Fort at Aalsmeer, also known as Fort Rijsenhout is a fort in Haarlemmermeer at Aalsmeer and was part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam.
Near the Fort of Aalsmeer lays the restaurant Eetcafé De Walrus II a popular spot for cyclists to stop to have a drink.
Kilometre 41 to 46
I continue on Aalsmeerderdijk, entering the border area of Schiphol Airport going towards Schiphol-Oost part of the Schiphol Airport. The road name change from Aalsmeerderdijk to Schipholdijk. Here I have to do a detour into the Amsterdamse Bos as you can not go along the Ringvaart for about 500 meters.
Kilometre 47 to 48
I just bike through a small part of The Amsterdamse Bos. The Amsterdamse Bos is an English park or landscape park in the municipalities Amstelveen and Amsterdam. And although most of the park is located in Amstelveen, the owner of the park is the City of Amsterdam.
Kilometre 49 to 52
I’m crossing over Ringvaart from Amsterdamse Bos at the Schipholdraalbrug at Schiphol, which is a swing bridge over the Ringvaart canal between the Nieuwe Meer and Schiphol-Oost. Now I’m on the home stretch cruising along Nieuwemeerdijk towards Badhoevedorp.
On the way, I’m passing through the Nieuwe Meer, the Nieuwe Meer / De Oeverlanden is a recreational area at a small lake just outside the city center of Amsterdam. In summer you can swim in the lake, in the summer there is a bike ferry near Nieuwemeerdijk 332-333 which takes you over to the Amsterdamse Bos. There are great places to stop for a drink along the way, where you can sit on a patio to watch life go by on bikes or people boating in the summer months.
Finishing my ride today, I cruised the last few kilometers along the Nieuwemeerdijk to the bridge that I crossed at the beginning of my ride into Amsterdam.
Back home I did my bike yoga to get the stiffness out of my muscles. I may have not told anyone, I have created a bike yoga app for Android – you can get it from Google Play.