Urban Adventures has partnered with Samuel Hubbard so you can experience the Best. Day. Ever. in some Ridiculously Comfortable Shoes. It’s a match made in heaven, like wine and cheese or the birds and bees. So read on and learn how to put your best, most comfortable foot forward all over the world.
If you’re after an active adventure that will have you cycling through Amsterdam, you’ve come to the right place. That is to say, you’ve come to the right place to read about it. If you’d like to actually participate, you’d best get going to Amsterdam as fast as those little legs will pedal you.
The Netherlands is home to more bikes than people and there’s no better way to explore its flat landscapes. This is particularly true of Amsterdam, which is considered the world’s cycling capital thanks to its impressive bicycle infrastructure including 400 kilometres of bike paths zigzagging all over the city. Locals know that bicycle is the proper way to see and get around the ‘Dam, and Samuel Hubbard has you covered for a pair of shoes to push those pedals with. Amsterdudes can grab the ‘Fast For Him’ trainers because there’s always a need for speed, and Amsterdames can tie into a pair of the Wanderers, which conveniently come in orange, the Netherlands’ national colour.
Your active adventure begins at Daamstraat Rent-A-Bike, one of the oldest bike shops in Amsterdam. Here you’ll get fitted and kitted before rolling out with your local guide. Where are you heading? It’s tough to say. There’s no standard route but your guide will make sure they provide a proper Amsterdam experience, and these are just some of the sights you’ll no doubt see.
Amsterdam’s famous canals have been World Heritage-listed since 2011 and for good reason. They are the source of the region’s wealth and the city’s original name, ‘Aeme Stelle Redamme,’ literally translates as ‘Dam in a Watery Area.’ One of the oldest canals passes through the Red Light District, another key piece of Amsterdam’s identity. The term dates back to the 17th century when, following the Protestant Reformation, many workers were involved in dangerous seafaring missions. Few returned alive and the city was full of widows who, after a year’s mourning period, would announce they were available once more by hanging a red light by their door. It’s not the most romantic story in the world but neither is Tinder, so give ‘em a break.
Given the number of canals, it should be no surprise that Amsterdam is a city fond of its bridges. There are actually more than 1,200, with the oldest built in 1648, and you may recognise the Magere Brug or ‘Skinny Bridge.’ It was once so skinny that pedestrians could hardly walk side-by-side, but was widened in the late 19th century. These days the Magere Brug is a couples’ hotspot, so note this one down if you happen to be travelling with a partner. And if you’re travelling alone, well, at least your Samuel Hubbard shoes have a significant other and that, while we’re kind of still on the topic of Tinder, begs the question: can a right shoe swipe left? Does the term ‘opposites attract’ come from a left shoe swiping right? Nobody wants two left feet.
Amsterdam is, of course, known for its tolerant and liberal culture. The city’s coffee shops, which can legally sell a small amount of marijuana, have attracted travellers for years. Your guide will explain to you the history of Amsterdam’s coffee shops and the current debate surrounding their impact, but please remember that one shouldn’t puff before they huff. If you’re interested in exploring that side of the city, don’t plan on riding home afterwards.
The Heineken Museum is actually well worth a visit, but there’s more to Dutch beer than its hugely successful export. The Amsterdam craft beer scene is on the up and there are so many little breweries scattered around the city, including Oedipus and Brouwerij ‘t IJ, the latter of which happens to be next to Amsterdam’s largest windmill — two birds one (not) stone(d bike rider)! Not only will your guide take you to a brewery to try some favourite local beers, they’ll also take you to the library’s rooftop terrace for a coffee and phenomenal views of the city.
By the end of this adventure your guide will have not only shown you the best spots in town, but will have also explained the fascinating history behind the Netherlands, which hasn’t really been a country for all that long. It’s a history featuring an 80-year war against the Spanish for independence, as well as an endless battle between the Dutch people and nature as they try to claim back land from the sea. Once the tour finishes your leader can point you in one of the endless right directions — there’s no wrong way in Amsterdam, and besides, even if there was, you’ll be comfortable enough in your Samuel Hubbard shoes to walk well into the night and that’s when Amsterdam really comes into its own.