From Columbus Rides:
Blogging from Amsterdam
“I am in Amsterdam now. Lots of bicycles. Will post photos when I return. They have parking lots for bikes. No sports/fitness bikes like in the US. Only utility bikes. They don’t lock the bikes to racks. They just lock the rear wheel in hopes someone doesn’t pick it up and walk off.No helmets either.
The transit system is so sophisticated that there are street lights for the bikes. Cyclists pull up to the light like a car, but in their own lane. The light changes, the light actually has a picture of a bicycle in it.
The weirdest bicycle moment was when we were eating dinner last night. A one legged man doubled on the back of his friends bike. He came down the street and greeted his friend. Then he jumped on the back of the bike. His friend took off with him and his crutches in tow on the rear rack.
(PS. I added the picture)
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: amsterdam, perspective, photos, tourists, visitors
I think it’s fascinating to know how people visiting Amsterdam view this quirky town. I talk to many of them (I like to think) and I hear a wide variety of insights, bold stories and impressions in general (which has me tied in knots sometimes, attempting to debunk some myths :)). Anyhoo, one of my favorite online activities is going through the pictures they post online. Either shot with broad strokes or with a fine sense for details, they expose what truly inspires them, almost saying to me: “Do you even realize how special this town is?”
Yes, these pictures amplify and sustain the reason I started this blog: I won’t take it for granted anymore.
Front Seat Driver, originally uploaded by marcus_a.
“After a super early morning bus ride to the airport, we finally arrived in Amsterdam. Walking the streets and getting a sense of the surroundings was hard. Everything looked the same. building, coffee shops, and people riding on bicycles everywhere. With that said, it was a pleasant feeling to know that people didn’t always need to drive gas gusseler to get around.”
Biking, originally uploaded by sevennine.
“What would a trip to Amsterdam be without biking around the city? I don’t know. My buddy (a head of me) went for a little photo excursion via bike. I with Toronto was more bike-friendly.”
Bikepooling, originally uploaded by gussifer.
Gazelle, originally uploaded by Alex280370.
Amsterdam morning rush II, originally uploaded by frenzypic.
“most people are biking in the morning to get to the office or the kindergarden”
Bikes are widely used in Amsterdam, originally uploaded by rayuma.
[UPDATE: word just got in, one of them found it, apparently it’s all over Facebook now. Nice.]
This is the Ladies Only offering at www.fietscafe.nl
Filed under: amsterdamize, special | Tags: amsterdam, encounters, portland, tourists, train
Today I had to go to a client in Amersfoort, about 60 km southeast of Amsterdam. I’m sure it’s a lovely bike ride, but I’m not a crazy Belgian and not in the military. And since I don’t own a car, the obvious alternative is going by train. Easy, 30 minutes of comfort, and time to do some tasks.
So I was waiting on the station platform, 10 minutes before departure, enjoying the sun, when I noticed this couple. Mid-50’s, obviously tourists, because the man was confused about why nobody was boarding the train and his wife asked him to double-check. Then he saw me. He approached me, and, just as I thought, he was American.
Quickly I confirmed that it indeed was the train to Amersfoort and yes, it will leave at exactly 11:27 AM. All good. Our conversation continued however, as he had some follow up questions about a few towns they were going to visit today. As he talked, I tried to pinpoint where his home is…hmm, New York, at least East Coast. Then his wife joined in. Smiley, gentle, pirkey. But no East Coast.
Enough of the guessing. “So where are you from?” “We’re from Portland, Oregon, do you know it?” My big smile should have given it away, but I confirmed and added that I like it for a very specific reason. When I told them what it was, by coining it “Cycle City”, they laughed. Almost apoligetically they said it wasn’t anything close to what goes on in Amsterdam. Of course, but Portland is the closest thing in the US and developments are looking good.
I heard the conductor’s whistle, invited Deirdre & David to hop on (all their nerves had gone) and we chatted our way to Amersfoort. They were crazy about traveling, ever since the 60’s, when they first visited Amsterdam. Yes, for that reason too, they were the 60’s after all! Their traveling habits had rubbed off on their 20 yr old son, who’s studied in Europe and who is now in Spain, waiting for them to join him. David IS originally from NYC, she was born in the Bay Area, but after living in San Francisco for many years, it made no economic sense anymore to stay, so they moved to Portland. And from what I took from our conversation, they’re not about to move again.
They were genuinely interested in how the Dutch and Europeans approach certain things, how they came about, what makes us tick. Drug legislation, euthanasia, social life, and lots more. I like to think I came up with some good analogies and examples, also in light of my life experiences in the US.
It was the end of our ride and we got to talking about bikes again and the every day utility part of it. Deirdre: “Yeah, I love those cargo bikes, I’ve seen so many of them here!” I guess I saved best for last, because when I said they were for sale in Portland, they were stunned.
I said: “Yeah, just go over to Clever Cycles and check them out!” It was a good laugh.
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: amsterdam, bikeculture, locals, photos, tourists
Some are easy, some less obvious, but it’s all in good spirit. Just to highlight the quirkiness of Amsterdamized cyclists. (Click on image to add a note to it on Flickr)
More to spot in the Amsterdamize Flickr set.