It giet oan!
Includes segments in which cycling is forbidden
You will have to dismount and push your bike.
0.43 mi in total
Includes movable bridges
Check opening times.
5 in total
Road Cycling Highlight
Bike Touring Highlight
Soigneur planned a road ride.
March 18, 2021
“It giet oan!” It’s on. For almost a quarter of a century, the Dutch have been waiting for the announcement that the lakes and rivers in Friesland have frozen enough for the Elfstedentocht to go ahead. The 200-km skating race, which joins 11 cities in the northern province of the Netherlands has almost passed into legend. Every winter, a club of volunteers prepares for the event, ready to hold it as soon as the ice is 15 centimetres thick. If that ever happens again—and it’s an if, as Dutch winters become ever milder—most of the country will stop work and drive north to watch. The winner will become a national hero. Behind him, 30,000 registered members of the club will take to the ice to try to earn an Eleven Cities Cross, the royal medal awarded to all finishers. Until then, the Dutch will skate circles around artificial rinks and start to dream as soon as the temperature drops below zero. The last time it was cold enough for the race to go ahead was the winter of 1997. The next best thing to skating the Elfstedentocht is to ride the route on your bike—especially in winter, when you can stop in one of the towns along the way to warm up with coffee and sugar bread or hot pea soup. Say you are cycling the Elfstedentocht, and you are sure to be regaled with stories about uncles or cousins who have crosses tucked away in drawers. You might even meet someone who knows someone who skated through snow squalls and arctic temperatures to finish the hardest one of them all, the 1963 race. The Elfstedentocht is a very pleasant bike ride in summer too. Each of the eleven cities—Leeuwarden, Sneek, Ijlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, and Dokkum—has its own charm, reflecting the province’s seafaring and agricultural heritage. The roads are quiet. Out in the countryside, the polders are criss-crossed by canals, red-brick towns marked by the church steeples at their centres. And the Frisian people are among the friendliest you will ever meet. They are very proud of their own culture. “It giet oan”—you already know a few of the most important words in the Frisian language.
March 25, 2021
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