Sunday, February 26, 2012

Amsterdam area. Long Track Speed Skating. Waterland-North Ice Tour. Speed Skate It.

Marathons of the Netherlands
Strap on the speed skates and watch for the officially approved skating tours that crop up north of Amsterdam (a 16 mile route, the Waterland-North)  in 2012).  On the day of the Waterland-North, there were 32 other officially approved tours, including near The Hague.  There is a Royal Dutch Skater's Union, the KNSB.  Apparently a single such tour near The Hague drew some 70,000 skaters, see article by Matt Steinglass, Why the Dutch Love to Get Their Skates On, in the Financial Times at

Along the way, find food stands, blade sharpeners, through the polders, and get your card stamped at the end for proof of Feat.
Its other, perhaps more important than fitness and fun purpose:  civil coordination to get the volunteers out to lay mats for walking around too-low bridges with skates on, sweep the ice, set signs, and cooperate with the Icemaster on safety.
Many years, the ice remains too fragile. Consider the 125-mile "Elfstedentocht" -- last Skate? 1997. See it at

Peterson's Magazine 1865 also featured the sport in sporting mode in the US.

Devotees in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada also sweep its Rideau Canal for a skateway for some 6 miles, see
Inline skaters also have their tours, see international destinations as