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Old 07-28-10, 11:24 AM   #1
NOS88
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Vacation in Netherlands Report

We spent 7 great days in the Netherlands, a country with more bikes than people. Ya gotta love that. The trip was a graduation gift for my two sons who both graduated on the same day at the same university.

The trip started with us making our way up the narrow, steep flight of stairs to our apartment in Leiden. Leiden is a great place to be in July. The temperature never got over 82 degrees with no humidity of which to speak. And at night it always dropped into the 60s.

I thought I was prepared to be in a "biking culture". But I found myself stunned at the sheer number of people riding bicycles. Young, old, business suits, casual wear - you name it. Everyone was riding. There are two photos in particular I like. The first is the delivery bike for a Domino's Pizza shop. My youngest son and I had a laugh that we'd fly over 3000 miles and still not be able to get away from Domino's Pizza. The second is a red bike decked out with flowers. My oldest son and I were dreaming out loud about how we could find a way to live in Leiden during summer months. I suggested we start a bicycle customization shop. He said he didn't think anyone would bother customizing the bikes we saw. The red bike was an eye opener for him.

The other photos I've included are just a few of the places that caught my fancy. All of them from less than 2 miles from the apartment.

We did take the train into Amsterdam twice. A great city. And that's they key word "city". Many of the same characteristics we experienced in Leiden are evident. There are just more people going more places more quickly. All in all it was a great holiday and has given me pause to consider how automobile dependent the U.S. culture really is.
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Old 07-28-10, 11:31 AM   #2
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Nice pics. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. Did you get to ride?

Those can't be real bikes (red & Domino's). They're not carbon fiber, and they don't have clipless pedals
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Old 07-28-10, 11:40 AM   #3
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I have never seen an expensive bike on the streets in the Netherlands. When I asked, the reply was nobody worries about the theft of a beater bike. I don't rember seeing anybody riding fast either.

There is a similar situation in Denmark. The cost for a a license to drive a car is exorbitant; so, the only affordable personal transportation is a bicycle.
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Old 07-28-10, 11:41 AM   #4
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Those can't be real bikes (red & Domino's). They're not carbon fiber, and they don't have clipless pedals
It was interesting to me that the only "cyclists" that seemed out of place were those riding drop bars, clipped into pedals, and wearing spandex and helmets. Virtually 99% of the riders were simply wearing street clothes. Since dusk in July last well past 10:30 p.m. we saw countless couples riding double on a single bike headed out to a café, bar, or some other place of interest. We saw mothers riding with their toddlers sitting on the top tube, a student transporting a small dresser by strapping on a leg of the dresser to the down tube and holding on with one arm. It was pretty amazing. Almost every safety rule that's been drummed into my head was not in practice. Yet, we saw no accidents, heard no horns blaring, and generally were surprised with the civility in practice.
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Old 07-28-10, 12:01 PM   #5
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Great pictures! My son visited Europe this past winter and found Amsterdam to be one of his favorite places. He send this photo to me. He said the xxx means Amsterdam.
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Old 07-28-10, 12:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing. I would suggest you NOT post the thread in the road forum.
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Old 07-28-10, 12:57 PM   #7
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That brings back memories. I went to uni in Leiden.

The best documentation of Dutch bike culture I've seen is this:

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/

80 odd photos taken at Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam over a period of 70 minutes.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:02 PM   #8
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we saw countless couples riding double on a single bike headed out to a café, bar, or some other place of interest.
This is one of my favourite photos from my visit to Amsterdam last year.

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Old 07-29-10, 03:08 PM   #9
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This is one of my favourite photos from my visit to Amsterdam last year.


I saw a older man "father" I think and his daughter riding just like that in good old Rochester NY at the beach earlier this month.
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