A bike safari - Taking in the local area!

A bike safari – Taking in the local area

By Pam van der Veen

There’s more to Utrecht than wharf cellars, the Dom Tower and the museum district. The areas around the centre also have a lot to offer. So why not hire a bike, dress warmly, get a bike map at the Tourist Information Centre and go for an autumn bike ride past some of Utrecht’s best-kept secrets? You’ll find plenty of places to warm up along the way.

We mount our bikes in the morning, leaving the centre via Catharijnesingel, taking Vondellaan and Balijelaan in a south-westerly direction towards the district Kanaleneiland. We stop at Europalaan along the way. More and more creative spirits are finding their way here, including the owners of Vechtclub XL and the Stadstuin. A great place to start, serving delicious breakfasts.

After breakfast, we bike south past Park Transwijk, turn left onto Socrateslaan and join Jutfaseweg. We go right before the bridge and down to the end of Jutfaseweg, which is on a spit of land between the Vaartsche Rijn canal and the Merwede canal. This area is packed with reminders of Utrecht’s industrial past, such as the old stained glass window in number 226, a relic from the laundry/bleach field that used to be here. Opposite, just across the bridge, you can see the Salamanderpad with its blue domed tearoom dating back to 1800. The fairy-tale Pippi Longstocking villa next door used to belong to the owner of one of the numerous tile and brick yards that stood on this bank of the Utrecht canal.

We bike back to Socrateslaan, turn right over the bridge and take the second on the left into Verlengde Hoogravenseweg. Towards the end of this road you find ‘de Arm’, pure heaven for lovers of second-hand goods. This enormous, well-organised recycling centre is one big treasure trove. You can even relax in one of the retro chairs between all the old books and records with a free cup of tea or coffee.

We then go back along Verlengde Hoogravenseweg and Socrateslaan, cross two bridges and take the first right to Kanaalweg. This road along the water passes rowing boats with students, oddball houseboats and the Mobach ceramics museum. LaLotta is a good place for lunch; an unexpected but excellent spot for a roll or wood-fired pizza. N.B. LaLotta doesn’t open until 16.30 at weekends, so Buurten in de Fabriek in the former Cereol factory, or Theeschenkerij De Tuinkamer in Park Oog in Al is a better option if you’re out on Saturday or Sunday. For these places, just bike north along Kanaalweg towards Park Oog in Al.

Replenished, cycle back a bit to the Muntbrug and continue along Leidseweg, Westplein and Amsterdamsestraatweg to Juliana park, one of the city’s oldest urban parks. We go through the park, under the railway and reach the Werkspoor district. This used to be site of the Demka steel works and the Werkspoor machine factory, two companies that provided jobs and economic incentives to the city. This former industrial area is now being redeveloped into a breeding ground for creative companies, with the imposing ‘Werkspoorkathedraal’ factory hall serving as a central hub.

Now it’s time to cross Cartesiusweg via Vlampijpstraat and try a home brew in the Oproer brew pub in NUtrecht, a former coach repair garage belonging to the Dutch railways. It’s right next to Zuilen Station. If you’re hungry, try something on the vegan menu in this trendy hotspot or jump back on your bike and take Cartesiusweg and Thomas à Kempisweg to Vleutenseweg. Pass the Majella park and turn left into Surinamestraat for delicious street food at Van de Straat, one of the culinary highlights of the Lombok district. And if you fancy a cocktail first, don’t hold back. You’ve had a tough day biking!


De Klub

Europalaan 2B


or 10.00

De Stadstuin



11.00 (Tuesday to Saturday)

Recycling centre ‘de Arm’

Verlengde Hoogravenseweg 63



Buurten in de Fabriek

Kanaalweg 91



Brewpub Oproer

CAB-Rondom 90



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