Every year on Whit Monday, thousands of cyclists travel the Elfsteden route. Due to such large numbers, the cyclists avoid a narrow but beautiful road along the Dokkumer Ee. Would you like to take this route? Start at the bridge in Sibrandahuis on the road known as Trekwei. Keep to the left onto the Iewal, the water should then be on your left-hand side. Turn left at the T junction onto the Iedyk. Shortly after cycling past the water, turn left onto a narrow cycle path which takes you in to the woodland.
Continue along the cycle path to Burdaard, around the harbour, past the windmills and through the village. Carry on cycling along the right-hand side of the water. Shortly after Burdaard, the cycle path ends and continue on to the Iedyk, just a short distance from the water. You can’t miss the turning to Bartleheim. You will then notice the famous wooden bridge. This tiny bridge has become world-famous thanks to the television broadcasts showing the enormous number of spectators standing at this spot during the Elfstedentocht.
This location allows the spectators to see the skaters pass twice. First heading towards Dokkum and then back from Dokkum to Leeuwarden. After Bartelheim, continue cycling along the waterside to Wyns. Keep to the right-hand side of the water on into Leeuwarden. You can also take the ferry, after embarking, continue turning right until you reach the Wynser Binnenpad. After crossing the meadows and farmyards, you will arrive in Lekkum, the end of your route. You are almost certain to pass some freshly mown grass – a truly delightful experience!
Instead of keeping to the right-hand side in Wyns, take the through road towards Gytsjerk. At the T-junction, turn right and take the route along Canterlandseweg to Lekkum, the final part of this section of the Elfstedentocht. You can also turn left at the T-junction and cycle across the ‘Tegeltjesbrug’ (tiled bridge). This bridge has been tiled with the images of past Elfstedentocht competitors . When seen from a distance, the thousands of tile images appear to be a single large image of a line of skaters. This is the final bridge before the finish line of the Elfstedentocht.
De Dokkumer Ee is a long connecting section between Leeuwarden and the Lauwersmeer. De Ee was once an important shipping lane for the transport of raw materials in the north of Friesland, but is now primarily used for pleasure boats between Leeuwarden and the Waddenzee (Wadden Sea). Dokkumer Grutdjip, Dokkumer Nieuwe Zijlen and the Lauwersmeer can be reached using this same stretch of water. The route from Leeuwarden to Dokkum is also known as the Nortern Eleven-city Route. Part of this route follows the path of the Elfstendentocht (‘Eleven Cities Tour’).