Biking in Amsterdam

As Amsterdammers will tell you with just the appropriate amount of north central European moral smugness, they ride bikes. The declaration is meant to convey that, unlike most of the rest of the West’s urban inhabitants, they are committed to a simple, green yet efficient form of getting around. They are not against automobiles but don’t see why they should use one when a bike is a far superior form of transportation when the distances are short.  And, of course, they live in a city with a leadership progressive enough to have put dedicated bike paths on all the major roads and most of the minor ones

So in Amsterdam’s central city, most people (and especially those under 50) commute to work on bike, transport their kids on bikes (in ways that might shock safety conscious Americans), go on dates on bikes (holding hands while they swerve through crowds), ride in the rain on bikes (they are good at biking while holding umbrellas), and transport all sorts of things on bikes. Yesterday, we saw a guy riding along balancing a full-size wing chair on his back. And btw, no one—not even young children—can be spotted wearing a bike helmet.

According to Amsterdam.com, an estimated 800,000 Amsterdammers (63% of the total metropolitan area population) use a bike on a daily basis. One result is that 32% of the traffic in the city (48% in the center city) is by bike, compared to 22% by car and 16 % by public transport. Another is that there are parked bikes everywhere. Parked bikes are to Amsterdam what piled garbage is to Naples: a combination of indigenous urban sculpture and sidewalk sited obstacle course.

Anyway, here are some photos

1) Amsterdammers commuting to work

bike commuters

2) Transporting the Kids

Kids & Bikes

3) Seats for three plus basket

double kiddie bike

4) A safer and roomier kiddie transport

Kiddie transport in use

5) the four kid model

double kiddie transport

6) the deluxe model

delux kiddie transport

7) a bike scrum in a central city square

bike scrum

8) canal side bike sculpture

canal-side bike park

9) Bike parking structure at Central Station

Bike Parking Central Station2

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