Our 3rd day in Amsterdam, Charles and I signed up for a tour via Mike’s Bike Tours that would take us out of the city and into the countryside. This tour came highly recommended by our friend, Tarek, who had traveled to Amsterdam a couple months before. Considering the fact that Amsterdam is pretty much the bike capital of the world, it only made sense to explore the city by its preferred mode of transportation.
While walking over to Mike’s Bike Tour on Kerkstraat for our 11am tour, I was hit with a little bit of performance anxiety. It had been a lonnnnnnng time since I had ridden a bicycle and I was worried about crashing into something during the tour (because I’m a bit of a klutz and have a knack for always getting into some kind of trouble – example a). But Charles promised me that I would remember and know what to do once I got on an actual, “real life” bike.
After we made it to Mike’s bike shop and checked in, we were assigned to a group and then fitted with a bike to ride during the 3.5 hour tour. Our tour guide for the day was an awesome lady who’s name happened to also be Mike. Going a on Mike’s Bike Tour with a tour guide named Mike? Oh yea, I saw that as a sign that our tour was going to be a good one. :)
^^ Our guide, Mike. The entire tour I couldn’t help but stare at her super toned legs in awe. #iwantthoselegstoo
After going through an orientation on how to ride a bike in Amsterdam so that we (the tourists) wouldn’t upset the locals (haha! loved her humor), our group followed Mike through Amsterdam in a single file line. We cruised along the Amstel River out of the city and it wasn’t long before the busy streets and cars disappeared and the scenery evolved into something more calm and green.
Our first stop? One of the last standing original windmills in Amsterdam: The Riekermolen. While we weren’t able to go inside, it was super cool to see the original structure that was built in 1636. All that history… Crazy.
After snapping a few pics in front of the windmill and taking a break for water, we got back on our bikes and made our way further down along the road. About 15 minutes later, we arrived at Rembrandthoeve Farm where the owner showed us around his cheese/clog factory. As we walked through his building, he told us about the cheese process for gouda and showed us how he made clogs out of wood using a traditional clog making machine.
Once the educational part of the farm tour was done, we were led through a door to the attached store that just so happened to be selling the clogs and cheeses the owner made himself . But first, a cheese tasting! The array of cheeses offered during the tasting were all sooo good. (insert dog panting sound here)
Charles and I ended up getting a few windmill keychains and a mini pair of clogs to go. We then headed outside and ate the sandwiches that we had brought along for the ride because bike riding is some hungry business. Our nourishment complete, we hopped on our bikes and circled around through the country to make our way back to the city, riding through Vondel Park along the way.
^^ I didn’t take alot of photos while we riding our bikes because I didn’t feel comfortable riding with one hand. Obviously, Charles didn’t have the same issue haha. :)
Mike’s Bike Tour around Amsterdam’s countryside was just the introduction we needed to get our navigational bearings of the city. It was a great way to learn about Amsterdam’s history and culture which made us fall in love it even more. Also, knowing there was a guide available to help just in case anything happened allowed me to get back in the swing of riding a bike in a new city without the stress. Also, also… Charles was right. You never forget how to ride a bike once you’ve learned, no matter how long its been.
At the completion of our tour, we were given a discount card towards a future tour or bike rental. This made Charles super happy because he was amped to rent some bikes and cruise around the Dam on our own. Which is exactly what we did… More on that to come next week. :)When was the last time you rode a bike?