Look left, look right, and be aware! There are more bicycles in Amsterdam, used on a daily basis for every purpose imaginable, than any other city in Europe. According to GreenAnswers.com, 40% of the total traffic is made up of bicyclists.
Many other cities around the planet now aspire to be equally bike-powered and green, but ask yourself these questions while you peruse the photos.
Could you ‘car pool’ your children to school without a car — or shop for a week’s worth of groceries and get them home via pedal-power?
What if you purchased a piece of furniture, didn’t want to pay a delivery fee, and decided to just have a go at bringing it home on your bike?
Can you hitch a sidesaddle ride on a bike for a breezy afternoon outing?
And as to parking them? Bikes are chained up simply everywhere including along the railings of bridges and fences, to window grilles along building fronts, and to lamp posts.
Even though bikes in this city are chained/latched/attached to anything that seems remotely stable and firm — as you can see by the sign below, that is not always appreciated by the owners of various buildings!
Another option is to park in someplace safe and secure like this 3 story garage for cycles which is looked after by security guards and is situated quite close to the front of Central Station. BELOW: 3 level bike parking lot. Photo by Mark Harmes
During our recent 8 day visit, I was especially impressed with the Bakfiets that I saw simply everywhere carrying children of all ages and sizes in the front section as the parents steered from the back. And whether used with or without the hooded ‘convertible top’ to keep the child passengers or shopping dry, the families that we saw using these sensible vehicles all looked relaxed and happy in spite of the winter temperatures.
This is one of the most charming cities in Europe and any visit to Amsterdam is made all the more delightful by being able to navigate through this beautiful city and enjoy scenic streets which are not clogged with noisy or air-polluting cars.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photography is by Deborah Harmes.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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