by Jenny Humphrey
These photos from Amsterdam at the end of April 2012 illustrate the points made in that article.
Yes, the topography is flat but similar scenes can be seen all over Europe and where it is hilly or more mountainous, electric bikes are very popular - more on that later.
The article in the Tyee states; 'You don't have to be a "cyclist" to ride a bike. Recreational sub-cultures have owned cycling in North America for a long time. That's starting to change and it's an important cultural shift'.
|part of the morning rush - commuters with their laptops and brief cases|
|cyclists have RIGHT of way and their own bike paths alongside the roads with trams, buses and cars|
|bikes make a statement about the owners|
|the typical cargo bike used to transport everything from children, to groceries to dogs|
|city bikes are old, simple but distinctive|
|bikes are parked everywhere in Amsterdam|
Bikes can be stolen in Amsterdam, just like anywhere else so it is not unusual for someone to own more than one bike - frequently an old, cheap, easily distinguishable bike is used for commuting but a more luxurious model is kept at home for especially long rides or recreational use. Some commuters own two old bikes, one to get them from home to the train station and one for the train station to office. With the thousands of bikes parked everywhere, finding your bike can sometimes be a challenge. I met one fellow who took 45 minutes to find his bike after attending a large event when bikes were piled one on top of another. Having distinguishable features on your bike helps. Over 12,000 bikes are pulled from the canals of Amsterdam every year so investing too much money in a bike can be a waste. The value of a bicycle in Amsterdam is for getting to where you want to go, not in the bicycle itself.
Bicycles rule in Holland. I was told, "You think the American gun lobby is big. It is nothing compared to the Dutch bike lobby."