Amsterdamize


Change You Can Believe In
June 15, 2008, 2:56 pm
Filed under: news, photos | Tags: , , , ,

Obama On A BikeI know, hardly an original title. But of all the fluff passing as punditry and ‘news’ in the American presidential election, I couldn’t pass on this little non-issue: whether Barack Obama’s photo-op on a bike had anything of a Dukakis faux-pas going for it. Because, you know, wearing a helmet or not COULD potentially mean he’s pandering, or worse, seem unelectable…jeez.

At one of two lucrative campaign fundraisers in Chicago last night, at the home of a businessman who donates bicycles to charities, Obama explained that he faced a toss-up: Risking ridicule or sending children the right message about bike-gear.

“I had an internal debate,” Obama admitted, when a supporter thanked him for wearing a helmet. “Because I knew that the AP was going to take a picture, and they were trying to portray it like Dukakis wearing that tank helmet.

“But I wanted to make sure that the children who saw that picture knew that even the Democratic nominee for president wears a helmet when he goes biking,” he said to applause. “Now, obviously the rest of my apparel was apparently not up to snuff, because I got a hard time from all sorts of blogs… who said I looked like Urkel.”

Reading the article and the Chicago Tribune ‘blog’ post I cannot help but toss a few suggestions to the president-elect:

  • Get a bigger bike, your height begs for it;
  • Don’t ride on the side walk, your security detail can cover for ya when you boldly show what’s ‘wrong in this picture’;
  • Forget setting an example for kids, because it’s the wrong one, aka;
  • Fight/legislate for a better bike infrastructure > culture, so that American citizens will have choice, can stop whining about ‘the dangers of biking’ and your successor won’t ever have to worry about being ridiculed and avid cyclists & the public at large don’t need to endure this sort of sillyness ever again…

Now that would be change I could believe in.

Advertisements


Sucking it up
June 12, 2008, 10:45 am
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos, video | Tags: , , , , , ,

Adam sent me the link to a (year old) video of 17 Bicycle‘s (Japan) semi-recumbent bike…introducing the idea to put a roof on it for those pesky rainy days.

The bike itself looks comfortable, fast and easy to control, I’d love to go for a spin. I understand the idea for the roof. The company’s also aiming at the US market, so adding this feature would work well both as a sales gimmick and actually have people interested.

Now, let me get back to my own frame of mind. Biking through the rain isn’t fun. Especially during winters. And don’t get me started about how often I’ve cursed Dutch weather, going from A to B. Always at the worst possible time, often accompanied by gusting winds that would make any Amsterdammer blow a fuse.
But…we don’t know any better. Both the intrinsic (DNA) need to bike and the obvious chance of rain (often out of nowhere!) has firmly conditioned us. Mostly, we DON’T whine about it, and we all remember our childhood, when parents would by default say: “You’re not made of sugar!” (As in: it’s only water, you’re not going to disintegrate). Same goes for snow, you just adapt (It’s fun, too).

So, it’s no surprise if I tell you that the Dutch just bike it off. Yeah, you get wet, but you’ll dry up again. Any attempt to keep completely dry is futile, no matter what you do. Sure, without much wind we’ll carry that umbrella, in other cases we’ll put on a raincoat, or even those sweaty plastic trousers, but since it’s all so distracting and cumbersome, we just don’t bother. We don’t ride any less because of it. We just suck it up.

  
Not all the time riding bicycle in Amsterdam is fun, originally uploaded by Kromag.


This is how it works in Amsterdam!, originally uploaded by To Tof.


Girl on bike Amsterdam (B&W), originally uploaded by Heorot2107.



Mama Bakfiets Race
May 18, 2008, 4:30 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos, special, video | Tags: , , , , , ,

Today I biked over to the Vondelpark to see if the announced ‘Mama Bakfiets Race’ would be as much fun as the title promised it to be.
Mama Bakfiets Race
Organized by Viva Mama Magazine as a charity event for OrangeBabies.nl (donating medicines to pregnant African women with HIV, thus reducing the chance that the infants are born with HIV by 50%), it was no bare bone event, everything was taken care of.

I also bumped into Marlooz, who’s was there for professional purposes, filming the event. As it was about a race between moms on bakfietsen, often with kids on board, through Vondelpark, going from leg to leg, I proposed she could hop on the back of my bike to continue filming, adding some ‘action’ to her footage. Of course, you don’t have to ask a Dutch girl twice, excellent idea.

It was pretty amazing to see the moms’ agility on the mostly heavily packed bakfietsen while performing the stage tasks. Ranging from obstacle course to jousting. Yes, jousting. I shot some video of that, and here’s the result, you be the judge:

It was fun and truly a typical Dutch cycle phenomenon. Not something this blog was allowed to miss.

You can find the rest of my pictures here.