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Old July 31st, 2007, 01:21 AM   #1
Ken Roberts
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Default Netherlands visit with photos

I had fun skating last month in several places in the Netherlands -- see selected photos.
  • Rotterdam: I joined the informal Wednesday night skate (thanks much to janneman's suggestion). Pleasant flexible group. Modern city with modern asphalt -- best bridge-skating I've ever done.
  • Kinderdijk: Skating in farmland among classic old-style windmills by canals (more thanks to janneman).
  • Friesland: Quiet roads with cows + horses + farmhouses + canals + modern-style windmills. Enchanting.
  • Afsluitdijk: Skating on a giant dike through a giant sea. But the view doesn't change much.
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park: Bicycle path and roads through forest and open plains -- and hills (rather gentle).
  • Leiderdorp: Seemed like a typical town -- my introduction to lots of special traffic signals and brick paths for bicyclists.
  • Amsterdam: Didn't work for me. Made the mistake of not doing the Friday Night Skate. Too many bricks.
See report with lots more details.

I was a bit unlucky with rain + clouds on most days -- and a couple of times I was glad I had hiking poles with me to help push while skating against high winds. But it's a special place for skating, and I'd gladly go back for more -- and hear more suggestions on where to skate in the Netherlands.

Ken

Last edited by Ken Roberts; July 31st, 2007 at 01:25 AM. Reason: fixed on word
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Old July 31st, 2007, 11:52 AM   #2
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Very nice photographs and an interesting read, Ken Roberts. It's tempting me to go to Amsterdam before the end of the summer for the Friday night skate!

Can I ask what skates Sharron is wearing in that photograph? I'm assuming they are offroad? Are these Roces Big Cats? Or - can't remember the name for the moment of the other multi terrain ones I'm thinking of! And whatever they are, assuming they are multi terrain, can they be used on firm sand?

Cheers,
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Old July 31st, 2007, 12:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Roberts View Post
I had fun skating last month in several places in the Netherlands -- see selected photos.
  • Rotterdam: I joined the informal Wednesday night skate (thanks much to janneman's suggestion). Pleasant flexible group. Modern city with modern asphalt -- best bridge-skating I've ever done.
  • Kinderdijk: Skating in farmland among classic old-style windmills by canals (more thanks to janneman).
  • Friesland: Quiet roads with cows + horses + farmhouses + canals + modern-style windmills. Enchanting.
  • Afsluitdijk: Skating on a giant dike through a giant sea. But the view doesn't change much.
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park: Bicycle path and roads through forest and open plains -- and hills (rather gentle).
  • Leiderdorp: Seemed like a typical town -- my introduction to lots of special traffic signals and brick paths for bicyclists.
  • Amsterdam: Didn't work for me. Made the mistake of not doing the Friday Night Skate. Too many bricks.
See report with lots more details.

I was a bit unlucky with rain + clouds on most days -- and a couple of times I was glad I had hiking poles with me to help push while skating against high winds. But it's a special place for skating, and I'd gladly go back for more -- and hear more suggestions on where to skate in the Netherlands.

Ken

wow great photos, i am jealous lol. was this business or pleasure or both. would love to go there, cant believe the free bikes, lthey would charge you here and get stolen too lol.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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was this business or pleasure or both
It would be great to get sent there on business and bring my skates, but this was pleasure. Sharon loves to be in Europe and we live near the airport -- so we can leave work on Friday afternoon, get on an airplane and go to sleep, wake up in Europe -- and be out skating before lunch. We have a tandem bicycle that disassembles into two suitcases, and we also do lots of bicycling together in Europe. In between trips we live cheap while dreaming of the next one.

Sharon's wheels in the first Hoge Veluwe photo with the dark friend are "rollerskis" made by Jenex. They have two 150mm pneumatic rubber tires set wide apart -- and she wears cross-country ski boots with them. They're designed to simulate skiing on snow. (The problem is that they're not as maneuverable as most skates -- there's a reason why modern skates have more than two wheels.)

Which reminds me that I was glad I brought big-wheel skates to the Netherlands. Lots of the country roads had good pavement, though some was on the coarse side. The bad part was that lots of the villages and towns (emulating Amsterdam city?) seemed to have this need to cover their streets and sidewalks with bricks. Most of the houses + buildings were brick also. (Sharon wondered if they'd tried making clothing with bricks.)

Usually in my skate tours I like to think of arriving in the next village as a reward, but in the Netherlands I was more trying to figure out ways to avoid villages. Lots of the bike paths in and near towns are brick also -- you have to know which ones are asphalt (or at least friendlier brick). There's a reason some of us love France -- and Rotterdam.

Ken

Last edited by Ken Roberts; July 31st, 2007 at 02:14 PM. Reason: spelling of "Veluwe"
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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:38 PM   #5
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Ken, Thanks for your skating report and photos. As in the past, you've inspired me to do more "touring skates" rather than my usual "ramping up and down the trails". Have you every skated in Vancouver, BC? I skated Stanley Park and the newer "Water Walk" (I think thats the name) in 2005 and loved it. Both are downtown and very senic. Again, thanks!

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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:00 PM   #6
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Ken -- Nice!
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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Sharon's wheels in the first Hoge Veluwe photo with the dark friend are "rollerskis" made by Jenex. They have two 150mm pneumatic rubber tires set wide apart -- and she wears cross-country ski boots with them. They're designed to simulate skiing on snow. (The problem is that they're not as maneuverable as most skates -- there's a reason why modern skates have more than two wheels.)
Thanks for the info.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 12:46 AM   #8
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Map - I made up a map of the places I tried skating.
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you've inspired me to do more "touring skates" rather than my usual "ramping up and down the trails".
I'm finding that in the end what I do most on skates is touring + exploring. Which is odd because a bicycle is often better suited for that. But I find that on skates I explore + enjoy different kinds of places than I'm interested in on a bicycle. I focused my skating on racing for a couple of months this spring, and I might do that again, but now I'm glad to be back to touring.
Quote:
Have you every skated in Vancouver, BC?
I liked visiting Vancouver several times (in connection with backcountry ski touring and rock climbing trips) - but that was before I got into inline skating. If Sharon ever relents in her focus on Europe, I'll be glad to try those ideas when I get there next.

Ken
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:37 PM   #9
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Interesting tour Ken, thanks for posting it! I have fond memories of skating in the Low Countries from Skatefresh 2006, and while we mostly rolled on excellent bicycle paths, I well remember the optional excursion to visit Amsterdam's markets... a dentist's dream.

The Afsluitdijk is a killer if you choose the wrong direction, I've been told.

Lezsk8, I visited Vancouver a couple of years ago en route to Whistler to join up with some friends (Switzerland being so flat and subtropical), I'm sure you had an enjoyable skate there!
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 03:47 PM   #10
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SoJaWa, It was our first visit to the NW and my wife and I really enjoyed our visit which also included a week in the Canadian Rockies (your kind of country) and a day trip to Whistler. It was July and the slopes and lifts were taken over by mountain bikers. Is it popular in Switzerland too? We want to get into your part of the world on our next big trip.

Ken, your schedule of racing and touring sounds like it is well thought out and enriching. Best wishes.

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Old August 2nd, 2007, 04:56 PM   #11
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Default Netherlands is awesome

HI

Just returned from the Netherlands with an adventure group of 23 with three guides. We skated 7 days in four cities Amsterdam, Enkhuizen, Sneek and Harlingen. The distance ranged from 15 to 40 miles per day depending on your mood and ability. We had spectacular weather and yes, it was windy on a several days...

The company also has trips to Switzerland, Germany, Idaho and Quebec/Montreal.

If you would like more info please let me know. I have posted pictures in my gallery:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=1&y=-74p09z
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Old August 5th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
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...It was July and the slopes and lifts were taken over by mountain bikers. Is it popular in Switzerland too? We want to get into your part of the world on our next big trip.
LezSk8, I think it's pretty popular. A friend of mine just bought himself an American made mountain bike with carbon fibre parts that looks like some sort of black behemoth to me... anyway, you might be interested in the so called slowups that take place in Switzerland: http://www.slowup.ch/d/events.html

I joined one earlier this year: http://www.skatelogforum.com/forums/...ghlight=slowup

Well, there's certainly an embarrassment of skating choices around here, and I'd be glad to offer what advice I can.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #13
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SeJoWa,

As usual, your pictures (Murtensee here) are outstanding and make one want to catch a plane or train and join in. Good stuff.

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Old August 6th, 2007, 01:50 PM   #14
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Smile oops

Hi Ken - Good to read you were having a good time around here - too bad we missed each other.

I do see lots of familiar faces and places for the other forum visitors; I live less than 10 km away from the windmills-place Kinderdijk.

Some other notes;

- rotterdam does not only have the largest shipment volume in europe, but actually the worlds. since over 20 yrs. It makes it a working town - maybe that is why it indeed has lots of asphalt (maybe not pretty, but fast!)
- correct- many towns seem to like cobblestones in the citycentre. beats me why!!
- the bikes that Ken writes about are free indeed, but only after you pay entrance fee to the national park, that has a fence ha ha. apart from that, they are all the same and specially marked. so if you really nick one, it will be pretty obvious you did so!
- when visiting the netherlands, you will have to live with the wind - like Ken said he was glad having poles. Even on sunny days, there is always some wind.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #15
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SeJoWa, Thanks for your reply and the links to your slowup. What is the origin of that term? I wonder if there is anything like it in the USA where the automobile rules? I'll definitely look into the slowup available when when we come your way. Again, thanks for the info.

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Old August 16th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #16
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Default slow-ups in USA?

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I wonder if there is anything like it in the USA where the automobile rules?
Actually I've heard of lots of cases where local US communities temporarily close some of their roads to motor vehicles for a special human-powered event. I think the biggest is Bike New York where in early May something like 20000-30000 bicyclists ride (along with a few skaters?) on closed streets in New York City.

Lots of smaller communities close streets for short bicycle rides, especially with children's participation in mind. And lots of local communities close streets temporarily for various kinds of human-powered races.

I haven't heard of any national "movement" in USA for events on closed streets. I think what it takes is a few people with energy and vision at the local level. Not a vision against the automobile culture, but a positive vision for community fun and healthy exercise.

Ken
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Old August 16th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #17
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Good to read you were having a good time around here - too bad we missed each other.
Thanks to your suggestions, Janneman -- which guided me to some of the best good times.
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many towns seem to like cobblestones in the citycentre.
It's not only the Netherlands -- I saw it in towns in northern Germany also (also Flanders, and northeast France is notorious for the Roubaix bicycle race with lots of cobbles).

Seemed like less bricks in southern Germany. What's nice about some of the "middle" German cities is that they tend to "inter-leave" the bricks with concrete or asphalt -- which actually makes more visually interesting pattern -- and makes for interesting skating rhythms to try to link up the smooth sections and hop over the bricks.

Maybe we could get some of the towns to change if we tell them that all bricks is boring.

Ken

Last edited by Ken Roberts; August 16th, 2007 at 03:24 AM. Reason: add a clarifying word
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