Amsterdamize


Amsterdam Summer Cycle Chic
July 25, 2008, 11:11 am
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , , ,

After 3 weeks of rain, basically, the city gets back its color…and so do cyclists.

Summer Cycle Chic Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic Summer Cycle Chic

See the rest of Summer Cycle Chic here.

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A Slow Bicycle Ride – Sunday
July 20, 2008, 5:58 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , , , , ,

Because it gives you time to observe and enjoy.

1) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday 2) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

3) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday 4)A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

5) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

6) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday 7) A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

1) “On Spiegelstraat towards Herengracht. Sexiness on two wheels. Hey, how can you not enjoy this?”
2) “Herengracht near Thorbecke/Rembrandt Square. Probably somebody who confused having a sense of humor with vandalism while drunk last night.”
3) “Utrechtsestraat towards Frederiksplein. She was too fast for my slow ride, had to hurry.”
4) “On Van Baerlestraat, which is being reconstructed. Girl is comfortably talking to a friend on her mobile phone.”
5) “On Van Baerlestraat, parking at the Albert Heijn supermarket at Museum Square, next to an identical bike as mine, apart from the rack on the back and different color.”
6) “Parked behind me at the Albert Heijn supermarket at Museum Square was one of Workcycles’ handmade Preacher’s bicycles.”
7) “On Jan Pieter Heijestraat towards Kinkerstraat. Your Message Here. Bike taxi.”



Ben Bikes!
July 18, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, video | Tags: , ,

Benjamin, my friend Wiendelt’s 3 year old son had a pleasant surprise for his dad a while ago.
Click the image and watch his video: 

“He’s yet to be fully potty trained, but he can bike. Just turned 3 years! Watch him go!”

How very Dutch of Ben! 🙂



Cyclus Noctem
July 18, 2008, 10:00 am
Filed under: amsterdamize, my bike, video | Tags: , , , , ,

3 A.M., July 17 2008.

3 A.M. City Cycling



Not all cycling advocates are enlightened
July 17, 2008, 5:31 pm
Filed under: correspondence, news | Tags: , , , , ,

Just now I received this e-mail from Ashley Hosten:

Hi, I would like you to reconsider posting a link to VELORUTION. They have published a blog that is very racially offensive. If anyone knew that you helped Velorution advertise by providing them with a link through your site – its possible that some people that you know, would be extremely disappointed.

Thank you for your consideration

Ashley Hosten

My answer:

Hi Ashley,

I hadn’t checked Velorution for a while, thanks for drawing my attention to this particular post. It is certainly a dishonest and discriminatory piece, which I don’t support, particularly his generalization of how ‘ The Dutch recognise the problem they have and openly talk about it: dark-skinned immigrants do not cycle and that lowers the standards of the nation’.

1) he implies that only dark-skinned immigrants don’t cycle.
a) non dark-skinned immigrants do cycle?
b ) actually, regardless of some polarizing fear-mongering politicians, the Dutch government subsidizes cycle lessons for immigrants, specifically for women, as bicycle use is cost-efficient (important), it’s a social factor (very important) and liberating (and we know how much of a emancipating symbol the bicycle has been in early 20th century (before women won the right to vote). Why change something that works, right?
c) from my personal observations: rather the majority than the minority of (1st/2nd and 3rd generation) of immigrants (most naturalised) uses the bicycle.
2) even if his dribble was fact, not cycling doesn’t lower the standards. I can’t make any cheese out of this bit.

So, in conclusion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I’ve now decided to post this e-mail exchange on my blog, to let others know. And take him off my blogroll, of course.

best,

Marc

[Update]

I think I can put this issue to rest by adding Velorution’s commentary on my post/e-mail:

P.S. Below the fold are some of the emails I have received. I would like to single out one remark that is characteristic of the prevalent hypocrisy. Amsterdamize called my previous post “dishonest and discriminatory” and claims that “rather the majority than the minority of (1st/2nd and 3rd generation) of immigrants (most naturalised) uses the bicycle.” How come then, one has to look very hard among the hundreds of photographs he publishes, to see a dark face on a bike. Who is the racist now?

Velorution, I’m the last one to see things in black and white, whether it regards people or things written down. I read your post twice, because the first time I wasn’t sure whether you were being ironic, sarcastic, or anything else. Maybe I missed a few things that would clear this thing up. Misconception is a rotten thing, certainly on the internet. Hence, I read it again.

There’s absolutely no wiggle room for misinterpretation. You are an ill-informed, generalizing, discriminatory and dishonest person. With this comment, I would add ‘delusional’ and ‘plain dumb’ to it, as well.

No, you got it right, I’m not going to dignify this utter bullshit any further. I’d be lowering my standards.

I leave you with a related discussion on the CycleChat forum.

Update: Velorution added this and this post to its buckle. I commented the following (waiting for it to appear):

“Well, Andrea, mea culpa? Hardly. Your earlier and apparent intellectual laziness is now pretty clear. You should have thought twice before lumping together many false characterizations and let your bigotry shine through. When you attempted to point out my ‘racism’ and ‘hypocrisy’ because you hardly saw any ‘black people’ in my ‘hundreds of photos’, I could hardly restrain myself from unleashing a DOS-attack on your ‘quaint’ little online bike shop. But then I thought you just weren’t worth having a normal discussion with, let alone lose my temper over. Reading your previous posts and this one I feel totally at ease. My outrage was well founded. You’re so dishonest and inconsistent it’s hard to fathom you can run a business. You basically go from trashing, abusing and discriminating immigrants/black people (or let’s just say ‘not your kind’), to disingenuous backpedaling and (post-related) factual distortion, ending with a half ass and badly baked mea culpa.

It’s so transparent, it’s not hard to feel sorry for you. If you still wonder why I added ‘intellectual laziness’ to the list…my best guess is that you look at pictures the same way you look at those ‘other people’: commonalities. Well, I hate to break to you, but a ‘melting pot’ isn’t called that for nothing. How can you tell (more and more) these days who’s an immigrant, 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation, or anything else? I can’t. (But I know you were looking for those burkas, sure) But then again, what is black, what is brown, what is yellow? I don’t single them out, maybe because they’re just people of Amsterdam and they just happen to be there when I click, regardless. I don’t see how London can be any different from Amsterdam, which demographics have also changed gradually but consistently.

The only conclusion I can come up with is that you haven’t. I sincerely hope you will.”

Photo link 1, Photo link 2, Photo link 3, Photo link 4, Photo link 5, Photo link 6, Photo link 7, Photo link 8, Photo link 9, Photo link 10, Photo link 11, Photo link 12, Photo link 13, Photo link 14, Photo link 15

I could go on, but do you see what I mean? Do you?”



European Cycle Chic Round Off
July 7, 2008, 5:50 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, Europe, photos | Tags: , , ,

[Cycle Chic: riding a bike in normal clothes, on a normal bike, preferably for commuting purposes]

In no particular order: London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Bern, Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Athens and vicinity.







Feel free to e-mail your own (links to) cycle photos to Amsterdamize, see the menu bar on the top left for the address.



Amsterdamize : Unwritten Cycle Rule #1 : Be honest
July 4, 2008, 2:13 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, unwritten cycle rules | Tags: , , ,

I wrote an introduction to this topic a while back. Now that I’ve established sort of a blog framework, highlighting the essence and cherries of cycling in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands), I’d like to actually act on what I promised: giving the out-of-towners a few handy (and probably life/face saving) tips before they hop on and venture into the city on their own.

However quaint and lovely this Amsterdam looks, don’t be fooled. When it comes to riding around town, you need to be overly aware of all modes of traffic that swiftly move around everyday and share this extremely compact city:

  • Cars, vans, trucks
  • Motorcycles, mopeds
  • Trams, busses, taxi’s
  • 300.000+ daily cyclists (700.000+ bikes)
  • Pedestrians

Ok, the first rule of this series obviously has to do with you, the newbie, the guest, the cycling visiteur being among others. Those ‘others’ would be us, the locals, going from A to B, to C, D, Z and back, ziggedyzag. Day by day, for every errand, for every task, for any venture, we take our bikes and we rule. Mind you, it’s in our blood, we don’t consider it a culture or something quaint. It’s there, we use it, period. We don’t know any better.

First, there’s one important thing I’d like to get out of the way. When you visit and you decide to cycle around, do me and yourself a favor, forget ALL that you think you know about (city) cycling. Why? Because your preconceptions and experiences from home will cloud your judgement. Open your mind, get a grip, try to understand this…in this town you are Nr 1. Yes, YOU, on the bike, are Number 1. Not just for ‘green’ coolness and efficiency, no. 99% of the time you have right of way, cars will be mindful, stop, etc, because drivers are cyclists too. Plus, by law, no matter what mistake you make as a cyclist, you can not be faulted. Aka, in any circumstance, no matter what happens, the car driver will be liable for prosecution for not being careful enough. How’s that, huh? (Just be aware of the speedy trams)

I’m well aware that Amsterdam has its perks and while you’re pumped up about being in this mythical and notorious town, nothing’s seems more fun than mixing up some doobies with a few drinks and then ride the red monster. For argument’s sake, let me disregard that daring prospect for now and deal with it later in another Unwritten Cycle Rule.

Rule #1 is aimed at those that are:

  • unfamiliar with Amsterdam
  • unfamiliar with cycling
  • unfamiliar with cycling in Amsterdam

For most tourists Amsterdam can be overwhelming, disorienting, strange, weird/quirky, unexpecting and a lot of other things. And that’s fine, would be weird if it was anything else, right? The last thing you want to do, as a newbie Amsterdam cyclist, is not appreciate these facts and let them sink into your brain. Unfamiliar grounds, people, traffic, situations, sounds, smells, etc etc. 

Tourists and their Mac bikes

So, before you mount the (rented) bicycle, be honest with yourself:

  • when was the last time you cycled (excluding childhood memories)?
  • when was the last time you cycled downtown, in a more than average sized city?
  • are you a person worried about the amount of ‘personal space’ people allow you?
  • are you a person who’s not known for paramount control of bodily functions?
  • have you ever been in a cycle accident and do you still worry about that?
  • assuming you come from a typical car-dominated culture, have you ever cursed those crazy cyclists?

If you think you didn’t score that well and you’re still being honest, then we’re on to something. A lot of those millions of tourists that have been so bold to discover this town by bike weren’t so honest. I’d know, I’ve seen them fail, put themselves in harm’s way and basically give tourists a bad name (among the locals).

But I don’t want to spook you…because that would be bad, there’s enough bike related fear mongering going on in this world already. I want you to have fun, without having to worry too much about whether it’s safe or not. The activity of biking in itself is harmless, you’ve just been brainwashed and violated a lot in the course of your life, because nobody provided you with the habitat to do so.

When I talk about Amsterdam’s bike infrastructure, I don’t mean we painted a few lines on the road. No, I’m talking about actual bike lanes, signs, traffic lights, roundabouts, intersections, parking garages, designated hubs, the works. All part of making a city for the people, not cars. And, no, we didn’t implement that for tourists, what did you think this place is, Disneyland? 🙂

Hence, regarding biking in Amsterdam, you could take these easy pointers to heart:

  • Most Dutch will tell you a few things by default, but I’m sure you don’t get half of the real deal: either ask specifically what the biking essentials are at the bike rental or go to the VVV (tourist) office at Central Station for this information. It’s free. 
  • With this information (including the map), try to get a good feel for this concentric city. The more you familiarize yourself beforehand, the easier it will be to adapt once you’re on the bike lane.
  • Pick a place (courtyard, square, anything but a sidewalk) to get a feel of the bike, to practice hard left and right turns, braking, stopping, balancing etc. Every bike is different, let alone getting on after not having done so for 10 years or more. Just picking the color of your rent-a-bike just won’t cut it to survive.
  • If you’re by yourself, closely watch what other people do, go with the flow. There’s no need to go as fast as the Dutch, but it’s not wise to assume you’re king of the road either (which will be explained in an upcoming rule).

What I’ve tried to address in this first rule and its pointers is the fact that you need to be aware of 2 important phenomenons:

  1. Amsterdam’s segregated bike infrastructure will allow you to appreciate the city in the best way possible.
  2. Amsterdam’s segregated bike infrastructure doesn’t automatically mean you will be safe from yourself.

Stay tuned for Amsterdamize’s Unwritten Cycle Rule #2!