Discovering Amsterdam

Kona Bikes showed me this little video that gets you a glimpse of the bike culture in Amsterdam.


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  2. Iron Man

    Wow. I sometimes lose my car in the parking lot. A see of bikes would wreak havoc on my forgetful nature.

  3. RL Policar (Post author)

    That would be a nightmare for a person with ADD and OCD…

  4. Jack

    Also no Helmets or Spandex,only in USA or Australia are these strange Devices used.

  5. Ghost Rider

    After spending time at the various bars and coffeeshops in Amsterdam, finding my bike in that sea of wheels would truly be a monumental effort πŸ˜‰

    I think I’d want a helmet, too, even though they’re not commonly used there. Post-coffeehouse lightheadedness sounds like a good way to wreck.

  6. Clancy

    Very cool vid. Inspiring to anyone.

  7. Sungsu

    When I was in Amsterdam, I saw a total of eight cyclists with helmets — out of thousands. Two guys were in full racing gear, and the other six were two families, whom I instantly pegged as tourists.

  8. Iron Man

    OK, this might be dropping the political bomb (although there hasn’t been much traffic to comment so…), but I am a bit torn when I see cycling like this in Europe. The cyclist side of me sees this and thinks “Man, wouldn’t that be awesome if my town looked like that?” But then my Libertarian side chimes in “Yeah, but do you realize how much government intervention and regulation is needed to create a bike culture like that in the States?”

    I clearly see the bike as a viable and rewarding solution to transportation problems in my country, and believe many millions of Americans would see an improvement in their lives if they took it up, but I can’t see myself forcing that choice on folks through heavy taxation and regulations.

    OK, so there I said it…on a Friday….when there isn’t much traffic anyway. I’m such a coward.

  9. RL

    Iron Man,

    Ummm…Fridays and Mondays are the busiest days for the site. However, Thursday is the slowest day on the Internet…not sure why but it is. Even the traffic for my employer’s site and blog goes down on Thursday…

    But I hear ya. I think about my own town and how there’s even a bicycle advocacy group that is fighting for bike lanes, rights and etc. But that problem is, the city was designed to accommodate cars, not bicycles…

    Bike lanes, if there are any, are often filled with pot holes and is usually uneven…

  10. 100poundsago

    Like bike cultures, unfortunately I live in the state that has the market cornered on car culture. I have family that is about to move to Sweden from Fla. they are selling both of their cars and have no plans on buying cars when they get there because they simply are not going to need them. This makes me crazy jealous.

  11. Foraker

    Iron Man — Government policies currently intervene to support automobile culture, so hopefully your libertarian side is writing and protesting to your congresspersons. The gas tax only covers an increasingly smaller portion of the costs of road construction and maintenance, yet we continue to add lane-miles to the maintenance ledger every year in the name of reducing congestion.

    I don’t see how this is sustainable. While I emphasize with the libertarian’s desire for individual responsibility and minimal or no government involvement, I don’t see a libertarian solution. Suggestions?

  12. Iron Man

    Well actually they do have solutions, but it’s bold. Let the private sector handle it.

  13. Stuart M.

    Private sector can handle it? Isn’t that how my retirement savings disappeared last year? Isn’t that why the car culture is dominant in America? The European governments haven’t done anything draconian to encourage bike culture. They put a heavy tax on gasoline to put it in the neighborhood of $5 a gallon, they slowed traffic flows by making lanes smaller and installing traffic lights and they limit free car parking to local residents. Yes, these things discourage car use, but I noticed in that great video that cars were still on the road or parked in the streets. Are these measures really too much “force” for America? I think not. Yes, those governments spent heavily for bike paths, bike garages and other bike infrastructure. That isn’t “forcing” anyone to do anything either. It’s a matter of priorities. America ripped out the streetcar tracks from most of its cities just to make the car companies happy and look what good that did for us (allright that last comment is an exaggeration).

  14. Iron Man

    Like I said I don’t want to degrade the bike site into political banter, but the two worlds overlap here. You cannot lay the entire blame for the recent mess at the feet of business, as there was a ton of government meddling to facilitate last year’s mess (congressional measures to increase sub prime loaning is a start). We all remember the wailing of last year’s gas prices, now imagine if that was all Uncle Sam’s doing. Our car culture has more to do with government spending on an expansive highway systems starting with Eisenhower than it does the folks in Detroit. Government really created the car culture by enabling folks to live 30 miles from urban centers. Ask your grandad how often he crossed the state when it was just Route 66 to travel on. We had a much more bicycle friendly society before WWII.

    Europe did not embrace the sprawling suburban culture the way America has. A 20 minute drive out of Paris puts you in farm country. European countries also levy huge taxes on the purchase of automobiles. Denmark for instance puts a massive tax on car registration of up to 180% of the value of the car. Try even half that in the States and folks will riot.

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  16. Harry,

    Oooh, you made me homesick!
    Thanks for posting that. I live in amsterdam, but have been on the road for over a year now (from Alaska to Argentina, now in Guatemala) and we passed through the Westcoast of the US.

    I must say we were pleasantly surprised by the cycling attitude of the people we met (of course, while cycling you meet a lot of cyclists). Seems that the logic of cycling is catching on. Though we had to explain to many people offering us drugs that, no, not all cyclists are hippies and no, even though we are from Amsterdam, does not automatically mean we smoke πŸ™‚

    I mean, if we can cycle 20,000 miles across the americas, then it should not be so hard to cycle 10 miles to work (or half a mile to the grocery store).

    I am not sure how much goverment intervention is needed, it is just as much a cultural thing. Still some stimulus might help and would be a very good investment for any government. Get all the obese people on a bike more often and you can save half on healthcare and road construction.

    I love the high gas prices in Europe (currently about $7,70 per gallon in Amsterdam). Even though they do not reflect the costs of getting out the ground, it does reflect the costs on world society. Wanna drive? Pay more.
    Wanna park in the precious 400 year old city centre of Amsterdam? $7,50 per hour, 24 hours per day!

    Your choice, as there are plenty of bike lanes, trams, buses, subways and trains (you can park for free outside the city and take these).

    But even with free gas I would still only cycle and it is that positive feeling that needs to be reinforced to be effective.

    Ok, back to my own blog now, catching up πŸ˜‰
    Cheers and congrats with a great blog,


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