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Old 06-30-07, 05:25 PM   #1
alicestrong
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Bicycles in Amsterdam

A friend sent this link...I thought you all might enjoy it.

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/
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Old 06-30-07, 06:03 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting that, it was very interesting. The articles commentary pretty much summed up my thoughts.
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Old 06-30-07, 06:15 PM   #3
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incredible! thanks!
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Old 06-30-07, 06:37 PM   #4
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Awesome pics. It seems so much more easy going in Europe. I was in Italy about 3yrs ago. There were cyclists, walkers, hikers, you name it but no cars.


Why can't North America adopt that attitude?

Urban sprawl.

It is so nice to see a community (country) to accept an alternate form of transport.
Just like some of those photos, I ride for groceries, movie rentals, clothes and beer.

It's very social to. Commuters are not stuck and enveloped in their vehicles. Saying "Hi" is very easy on a bike.

Just a few thoughts.
Thanks.

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Old 06-30-07, 07:50 PM   #5
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For some reason, to me, that is a really life-affirming page. Joyous and ordinary at the same time.
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Old 06-30-07, 08:53 PM   #6
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Thanks for the pictures. They bring back memories of cycling in the Netherlands and how much it is second nature to so many people there. While many people own bikes in the Netherlands, there are also many bike rentals available, especially at the train stations. There is a significant problem with bicycle theft in Amsterdam, but not so much for resale as just to get somewhere. Apparently, after using the bikes the thieves often toss them in a nearby canal. In the Netherlands there is always a nearby canal. Every so often a dredge goes around and retrieves the rusty, muddy hulks from the water and stashes them in hugh piles for proper disposal. I have been in the Netherlands only in the summer months but their winters are reportedly dark and rainy with only a few hours of daylight each day. They ride in all sorts of weather and often in darkness so the generator powered lights must work well enough. They rarely seem in any hurry and travel at a pretty sedate pace for the most part. We were told that wearing a helmet would be seen as unusual and the rental companies did not provide any helmets of other gear beyond a bike with huge panniers on the back that flapped in the breeze if you got up much speed. While it is a mostly flat country, the wind can be a significant factor. Remember all those windmills you see in the history books? They have been updated to the modern wind turbines that stand several hundred feet tall in big wind farms for electricity generation. I have never been any other place where bicycles are so much a part of normal transportation. Vietnam came close, but that was many years ago. There are dedicated bicycle paths in the Netherlands that parallel main roads and in some cases go cross country between towns away from motorways. There are even traffic lights at some of the busiest intersections of these bike roads. I have never seen that anywhere else either.
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Old 06-30-07, 09:05 PM   #7
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While the article was nice I could help but notice the author's comment where he mentioned that he hasn't seen a dynamo in SF in 20 years. Both of my local Walmarts sell them and I live in Indiana. You would figure that SF being all enviromental would be selling dynamos. I don't think too many people use them but if Walmart is selling them someone must be buying them.
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Old 06-30-07, 09:52 PM   #8
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We browsed a couple of our local WalMarts and Target, and all of them sell the dynamo light sets. They're pretty cheap too.

Years ago, my parents gave me one of those sets for Christmas. I proudly attached it to my MTB, which was nearly new at the time, and looked forward to the first chance to use it. Then my parents said that I was still not allowed to ride at night.

I still have it, but have removed it from the bike because it seems to be a bit broken. Prolly wasn't made to take the shock of MTB riding. But I may re-attach it to my old road bike now that I'm many years grown up and able to ride when I want to.
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Old 07-01-07, 04:10 AM   #9
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aaah, Holland I'm going to miss it. I'm driving to the UK *tonight* and stay for an indefinite period of time. I can't wait to return to somewhere a bit more progressive w.r.t. transportation.

Exposure to different lifestyles can be such a wonderful eye-opener to what is possible. If only more Americans could have the chance to see and appreciate this stuff, maybe they'd start questioning their car-centric lifestyle.

That's a good find there alicestrong, great pics, cheers.
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Old 07-01-07, 08:16 AM   #10
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aaah, Holland I'm going to miss it. I'm driving to the UK *tonight* and stay for an indefinite period of time. I can't wait to return to somewhere a bit more progressive w.r.t. transportation.

Exposure to different lifestyles can be such a wonderful eye-opener to what is possible. If only more Americans could have the chance to see and appreciate this stuff, maybe they'd start questioning their car-centric lifestyle.

That's a good find there alicestrong, great pics, cheers.
I agree. I'm looking forward to getting to go to Europe sometime, and may have to make a special trip to Amsterdam.

The problem with what you said about exposure to different lifestyles and questioning of a car-centric lifestyle could get you branded as some kind of Godless red Communist or something like that around here. Near where I live, there's the urban core of the city, which seems to be slowly moving in a bike-friendly direction. But you go a few miles out, and there's a great deal of suspicion about bike paths and such. People out there think that bikes are toys, and that you're trying to take away their pick'em up trucks.

This area has so much to offer in terms of recreational cycling, that it's a shame practical cycling is taking so long to catch on.
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Old 07-01-07, 08:39 AM   #11
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Why do all the bikes have those style handlebars? Don't people like drops, bull horns, or straight bars in Amsterdam?
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Old 07-01-07, 11:37 AM   #12
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Why do all the bikes have those style handlebars? Don't people like drops, bull horns, or straight bars in Amsterdam?
Not for city riding in street clothes. Also, most of them are not riding for any particular athletic purpose. They're just doing the same stuff most Americans get into a car for. The owner of an LBS here in Portland actually wrote a blog entry that I think sums up the riding styles nicely.
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Old 07-01-07, 01:49 PM   #13
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Europe. I love Europe.
Those pics of Hollanders on utilitarian bikes suggest something else is missing besides lycra and drop bars: hills. The biggest hill I saw in Holland was a dike, holding back the sea. Also, Hollanders as well as most other average cyclists in Europe only bike about 3 to 7 miles a day. They don't move their cars unless they absolutely have to, or they might lose that great parking spot.

US cyclists are very much more sportiv in their use of bikes. We go many times farther and much faster than our Euro cousins. Those Euro cyclists that are into performance biking usually belong to a riding club of some sort, such as my Austrian cousins. Then, watch out! You haven't seen OCP til you see a Euro club ride go by!
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Old 07-01-07, 04:11 PM   #14
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US cyclists are very much more sportiv in their use of bikes. We go many times farther and much faster than our Euro cousins.
Doncha mean US cyclists who participate in cycling enthusiast Internet forums and/or cycling clubs; or cyclists who look like they might fit the same profile of people as cyclists who participate in enthusiast Internet forums and/or cycling clubs, i.e Serious Cyclists.

Are the cyclists in the U.S., who are not wrapped up in logging miles or maximum speed, invisible or not worthy of consideration?
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Old 07-01-07, 05:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdufstuff
Why do all the bikes have those style handlebars? Don't people like drops, bull horns, or straight bars in Amsterdam?
Because they don't go as fast as we do. Fortunately, I am lucky enough not to have an Amsterdam-style system between my house and my office, so I can get up to speeds of 35 mph for short bursts. I regularly cruise at 20+. Downtown, I ride with traffic at traffic speeds. Try that on the Amsterdam system.
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Old 07-01-07, 05:43 PM   #16
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He refers to basically all of the bikes he photographs as 'beaters' but I saw PLENTY of nice bikes!
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Old 07-01-07, 07:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdufstuff
Why do all the bikes have those style handlebars? Don't people like drops, bull horns, or straight bars in Amsterdam?
Dutch cycling is for all people all purposes. I have in particular enjoyed the fun of carrying a case of beer on the back, no hands, using a coaster brake. Excellent.

Those things are incredibly stable and comfortable. To me they are the ultimate in biking for simplicity and utilitarianism.

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Not for city riding in street clothes. Also, most of them are not riding for any particular athletic purpose. They're just doing the same stuff most Americans get into a car for.
+1 that sums it up nicely.


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Originally Posted by jcm
US cyclists are very much more sportiv in their use of bikes. We go many times farther and much faster than our Euro cousins.
Doncha mean US cyclists who participate in cycling enthusiast Internet forums and/or cycling clubs; or cyclists who look like they might fit the same profile of people as cyclists who participate in enthusiast Internet forums and/or cycling clubs, i.e Serious Cyclists.

Are the cyclists in the U.S., who are not wrapped up in logging miles or maximum speed, invisible or not worthy of consideration?
jcm is right, ILTB. I might contend with the "faster and farther" claim, but the point is correct (Americans take a more sportive approach). Seems you're grasping at straws with the "I think different, I don't believe generalizations" role. Trying to pin it on some skewed influence due to BF is just weird, too.
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Old 07-01-07, 10:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus
jcm is right, ILTB. I might contend with the "faster and farther" claim, but the point is correct (Americans take a more sportive approach). Seems you're grasping at straws with the "I think different, I don't believe generalizations" role. Trying to pin it on some skewed influence due to BF is just weird, too.
Actually, I believe you both have a point. I think the industry caters to the Americans who prefer to take a more sportive approach. Did you hear about all that market research Shimano did when they developed that Coasting group? They definitely found a group of people who enjoyed bike riding at a younger age, stopped riding for various reasons, and seem to want to return to it with equipment they are comfortable with. I'm sure some of them won't actually do it, others will but strictly on a recreational basis, and still others could start making practical trips by bike. Whether or not those coasting bikes are the answer, something different from the current norm should be available for the people Shimano identified. European city bikes and bikes akin to them are a good place to start, IMO. Some people in the industry are starting to get it, while others hold fast to the athletic model of cycling. If you're happy with the status quo, it's hard to see the perspective of those who aren't happy with it. When you come up against that wall again and again, it's easy to get frustrated and irritated.
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Old 07-02-07, 02:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
Actually, I believe you both have a point. I think the industry caters to the Americans who prefer to take a more sportive approach. Did you hear about all that market research Shimano did when they developed that Coasting group? They definitely found a group of people who enjoyed bike riding at a younger age, stopped riding for various reasons, and seem to want to return to it with equipment they are comfortable with. I'm sure some of them won't actually do it, others will but strictly on a recreational basis, and still others could start making practical trips by bike. Whether or not those coasting bikes are the answer, something different from the current norm should be available for the people Shimano identified. European city bikes and bikes akin to them are a good place to start, IMO. Some people in the industry are starting to get it, while others hold fast to the athletic model of cycling. If you're happy with the status quo, it's hard to see the perspective of those who aren't happy with it. When you come up against that wall again and again, it's easy to get frustrated and irritated.
Yes I read that. I couldn't help wondering how self-serving their conclusions were.

People in a non-cycling oriented country are intimidated by the technoporn culture. Fair enough. Their proposed solution serves only to further their own ends and does not necessarily help the problem they highlight.
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Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.
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Old 07-02-07, 04:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus
Seems you're grasping at straws with the "I think different, I don't believe generalizations" role. Trying to pin it on some skewed influence due to BF is just weird, too.
BF does seem to attract a specific slice of the cycling population and some who think these posters represent all there is to biking in the U.S. i.e. the abuse of the terms "we" and "us." To read BF pages you would think most bicyclists buy bicycles at high end LBS' or EBay, use pedal shoe "systems", obsess about Styrofoam hats and /or Vehicular Cycling, are impressed by multi $K custom bikes with fancy lugs and paint schemes (or components with the "right stuff" and proper racing culture provenance) ride or are aware of the special joy of "fixies," ride on "training" rides, use bike computers and record their miles and speeds down to the tenths of miles, etc., etc.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-02-07 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 07-02-07, 04:59 AM   #21
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Alicestrong, Thanks for the thread and link. Very nice... still like the idea that everytime we go to Kobehavn DK to visit my wife''s family we rent bikes and not cars like we do in the usa....
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Old 07-02-07, 06:06 AM   #22
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use bike computers and record their miles and speeds down to the tenths of miles, etc., etc.
Doesn't everyone?
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Old 07-02-07, 06:09 AM   #23
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A few things. The bikes I see in the pictures are perfect for the conditions in Amsterdam. Look at their roads and traffic.
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Old 07-02-07, 06:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
BF does seem to attract a specific slice of the cycling population and some who think these posters represent all there is to biking in the U.S. i.e. the abuse of the terms "we" and "us." To read BF pages you would think most bicyclists buy bicycles at high end LBS' or EBay, use pedal shoe "systems", obsess about Styrofoam hats and /or Vehicular Cycling, are impressed by multi $K custom bikes with fancy lugs and paint schemes (or components with the "right stuff" and proper racing culture provenance) ride or are aware of the special joy of "fixies," ride on "training" rides, use bike computers and record their miles and speeds down to the tenths of miles, etc., etc.
As for how BF represents the real world, on that I'd agree. It is, if for no other reason than the medium itself, not representative of the population at large (yeah, if only PnR here was typical of the mainstream we might get somewhere).

All I saw was you trying to debunk another generalization (that does sort of seem to be your MO), and frankly it seemed a bit fumbling.

I don't make assumptions about the riding public based on BF. I base my opinions on experience. And my main contention was a) that the US do not have as much of a utilitarian approach to cycling, and b) you jumped on jcm a bit too hastily and inappropriately.
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Old 07-02-07, 06:39 AM   #25
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Very nice, I'm definitely bookmarking that one for when I need to read about a place where things make sense.

Regarding helmets, honestly, in the US I'm a strict helmet-wearer, but there I don't think I would be. There are two reasons; speed and the chances of being hit by a car. In the US there are too many distracted drivers, and about 0.0000001% of them even consider the possibility that there might be a bike around. The chances of getting hit by an unaware driver at high speed seem much larger than the idyllic settings in all of those pictures.

Speed; perhaps different in the countryside in Amsterdam, but it doesn't look like those people are really hauling it. I average about 17 MPH, topping at 35 or so, and just a couple of weeks ago when I slid out on some sand on a corner, I got 17 stitches on my face, my helmet surely saved me from another dozen or so on my forehead judging from the scrapes and dents on the rim.
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