Sophie de Boer

At first Sophie de Boer seemed destined to focus on the other typical Dutch sport: speed skating. But when the summer training turned out to be more fun than winter, her road and mountain bike moved up to the most important spot. After some falls, scars, and stitches Sophie had had it with mountainbiking and decided that cyclocross was more interesting. Pretty quickly she started to get some good results, that in turn led to opportunities to ride with successful teams and now she is almost one of the regulars in top tens at World Cups. Now that she has completed her degree in Communication Sciences, there is more time to focus on riding full time.

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Sophie de Boer's Ride

This route leaves the city on the east side, and combines some classic stretches of road cycling around Amsterdam. The first part follows the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal, a very busy waterway that links the Amsterdam harbour to the Rhine river through which lots of industrial transport is done. Then there’s an incredibly straight section near Almere, built on land reclaimed from the sea. Then closer to the Gooi area, you ride on some very pretty heath areas. This is followed by crossing the old army air force base at Soest and some cool sections of gravel there. Before you head into what we call the reed lands, a very watery area where you are surrounded by smaller and larger lakes, especially the Loosdrechtse en Vinkeveense lakes. Then you back along the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal that will lead you in the direction of the city. A tough little round that will show you some of the prettiest parts of Noord-Holland and Utrecht provinces.

Distance: 145 km
Elevation: 448 m
Estimated time: 4 - 6 hrs

Download the GPX route

“it’s important for me to be in a happy place, and I have that here in Amsterdam”

‘I actually haven’t lived in Amsterdam for that long, only for the last two years. My roots are in the east of the Netherlands – I grew up in Enschede and went to university in Nijmegen. But lots of my friends moved to Amsterdam, and I didn’t have a nice and quiet space in Nijmegen, so my training was suffering. Now I have found a very nice apartment that I share with a friend in the eastern part of town. It’s very calm and we even have a garden! Nijmegen did have a bit more possibilities for cross-specific training, but I noticed that it’s important for me to be in a happy place, and I have that here with lots of good friends around me.

There are still plenty of places to train around the city. I just get on my road bike: north, towards Volendam or Marken. Or southeast, via Breukelen, Loosdrecht, and Woerden. Or west, towards Zandvoort, het ‘Kopje van Bloemendaal’ (the head of Bloemendaal, pretty much the only climb around here), into the dunes, or in the direction of the beach. My dedicated cross training is organised in Alphen, close to Breda in the South of the Netherlands. But this week I also trained on the mountain bike route in Schoorl, for instance. Most Amsterdammers wouldn’t know where to leave all these separate bikes in their small apartments, but we’re lucky to have a pretty big storage area in the basement. Although I have to admit that there’s usually a bike standing around in the kitchen.

“In the city itself I love riding along the Amstel River in the direction of the Magere Brug (the famous ‘skinny bridge’).”

When riding in Amsterdam I also prefer routes with nice views. My favourite kind of ride takes me along water. And there’s plenty of water around here, so I have tons of options. I do tend to ride alone. Most of my friends in Amsterdam aren’t into cycling. And when I have a very specific interval training, I prefer to take that on by myself.

Still I think that for other cyclists it is the most fun to join a group. I can heartily recommend the rides that are organised out of the Rapha Clubhouse. You can join people that are the same level as you, or maybe even ride with some people that can elevate your level of riding, or introduce you to new routes. Also for ladies there are lots of group rides and initiatives in Amsterdam. Practically every evening there’s a group riding from somewhere that you can join. It lowers the barrier to get out on your bike and go for a nice ride.

My favourite stretch is east of Amsterdam, when you leave the city, cross the Schellingwouderbrug in the direction of Durgerdam. There’s a walking trail on top of a dyke. There’s water on both sides, and it’s such a lovely roll into the countryside. In the city itself I love riding along the Amstel River in the direction of the Magere Brug (the famous ‘skinny bridge’). When you see that view, you well and truly know that you’re in Amsterdam.