Cycle routes around Amsterdam - not standard tourist routes, but cross-sections of the urban region. Unlike most cycle routes, these routes have a political, social, and urban perspective - see the introduction. Shorter routes are listed first. All the regional routes have rural sections, but especially routes 4, 8, 9, and 10. For urban planning and urban design, try routes 5 and 8, and for dikes and historical land reclamation, routes 2, 8, and 9.
A cross-section through western Amsterdam, in roughly chronological order from 17th-century to 20th-century areas. Revised January 2013.
Along the historic route eastwards out of the city, and across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to the 'heritage town' Weesp. Return through the failed housing projects, and the new retail/entertainment zone, of south-east Amsterdam. Revised January 2013.
Past the west port basins, crosses the North Sea Canal by ferry, through the polder village of Westzaan, to a heritage windmill park, and back along the still-industrial Zaan riverside. Revised January 2013.
This route follows the mediaeval coastline and sea dike of the IJ estuary, through the mediaeval settlements of Spaarnwoude and Spaarndam. The reclaimed estuary is now threatened by suburban expansion from the Haarlem side, and port expansion in Amsterdam. Revised January 2013.
Crosses by ferry to the IJ docklands, follows a linear settlement which extends north of Amsterdam, goes through the new suburbs and the historic core of Purmerend, then a reclaimed lake-bed polder, returning along a 19th-century ship canal. Revised February 2013.
Exits the city via Amstelveen, the most linear of the post-war extensions, into the still-rural 'Green Heart', and returns along the river Amstel, in its rural setting and in the city. Revised February 2013.
Through gentrified docklands and interwar housing, along the Amsterdam-Rhine canal and heritage villages, returning through Amsterdam's newest suburb, IJburg. Revised February 2013.
Along relict dike settlements, and interwar garden-city housing, and through the reclaimed marshes to the heritage-tourism island of Marken, returning along the mediaeval sea dike. Revised March 2013.
Through Haarlem, to the narrow strip of land just behind the dunes, with the oldest continuous habitation. The dunes are suburbanised since the 19th century, and cut through by the sea lock complex at IJmuiden on the North Sea Canal. Revised March 2013.
Finally, there is a much longer all-day cycle route from Amsterdam to Zyfflich - the nearest village in Germany. Revised mid-2013.