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A relaxing weekend in Amsterdam

June 22, 2014

We were in Amsterdam this weekend visiting family. I fancied the idea of taking our daughter for a ride in a Dutch cargo bike, but also didn’t want to be the cycling obsessive who disrupted everyone else’s weekend plans, so didn’t go so far as organising anything. In the end this was the closest I got to one:

A bakfiets Dutch cargo bike

A bakfiets Dutch cargo bike

And this was the best ride that little Miss BikeVCar had:

"This is more my style"

Her cousin literally following the instructions to “push her gently” 

Luckily, for a brief moment on Saturday afternoon the stars aligned and both my wife and daughter wanted to go back to the hotel for a nap while everyone else headed back to the house to relax before the evening. I seized the opportunity by borrowing a bike from the hotel and running a few errands. I headed out of the suburbs and into the touristy, centre of the city to buy a small souvenir for our daughter’s first trip abroad.

Hotel bike

Hotel bike 

Having spent some time walking around this part of the city it was a completely different experience on a bike. Rather than being a pedestrian buffeted about in the chaos I was suddenly easing along within the flow of the madness. Pedestrians cleared out of the way, cars backed off and other cyclists were all travelling at the same speed.

Dedicated bike lanes

Dedicated bike lanes made it simple

Good separation from cars, trams and people

Good separation from cars, trams and people

It was a relaxing atmosphere and I felt happy to put my foot down and wait for green lights

It was a relaxing atmosphere and I felt happy to put my foot down and wait for green lights

Cycling around Vondelpark

Cycling around Vondelpark

No Lycra (or helmets)

No Lycra (or helmets)

Without caring too much about my speed and just using the bike to get about, I still thought I was moving at a decent pace on my little three-speed. Right up until the moment I was overtaken by a lady in a dress wearing high heels. By that point I’d been out and about for an hour, had completely my errands and was back out in the suburbs with half an hour to spare. Rather that eek out every last bit of fun (and be overtaken by more people in completely inappropriate cycling footwear) I decided to end on a high and stop for a beer in the late afternoon sun.

Watching other people cycle instead

Watching other people cycle instead

Then I made my way back to the hotel to wake the sleeping beauties to get ready for our evening ahead.

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“Look at his face. He’s been cycling hasn’t he!”

The souvenir

The souvenir

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2014 11:25 pm

    You make a very good point which supporters of bike provision in cities in Britain will have to come to terms with. You can’t have dedicated, safe cycle lanes and people cycling at 20mph. The fast and furious commuters are not going to like that.

    What a bright looking child that is.

    • June 23, 2014 2:11 am

      Fast and furious is what country roads a for… Thank GOD I live in the country! Now, back to the drawing board for my hinged carbon fiber commuter shoes – so you can cruise comfortably at 23 and still walk when you go in to the market…

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