Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amsterdam Day 2 - More Bikes

Day 2 started with a torrential downpour, but I slept late and missed most of that.  Late morning, I ran into KK (right), a student in the program, in the hotel reception area, and we went out for a 4 hour exploration of the city by foot.  Moving by foot is really just an opportunity to better take pictures of the biking environment, though.  Bikes parked in official bike racks, bikes chained to canal bridges, bikes moving everywhere, tourists on bikes, locals on bikes, and just bikes everywhere.

We ventured behind the main train station where there are free bike/ped ferries to get across the main river and came across two two-level bike rack that was mostly all full.  One was a retired ferry that is now just a permanent double-decker bike parking lot.  So, it is possible to add bike parking without taking up more real estate.  We also ran into a man who was walking up and down each aisle looking for his bike, answering the question "how do you find your bike?"  For him, the answer was "Not sure, just systematically go up and down each row."  Since I found it for him, it gave us an excuse to chat about biking in Amsterdam.  He actually lives in Utrecht and comes to Amsterdam by train, then bike (or walk) to get to work.  He works for a firm that takes abandoned bikes and rehabs and re-distributes them with and to people with mental disabilities.  He also said he likes the sport of transit and biking - trying to figure out how to get around and do all his daily things without a car.  I didn't get a picture of him, but he was very hip and professionally dressed, which seems to be the norm - good looking, fit, and well dressed people on bikes just doing their normal things.

Those two level bike racks - here is a demonstratation of how they work (thanks KK):

Grab the handle. 
Pull the handle to you.
 The rack will drop down.
bring it all the way to the ground.  Roll your bike on and go in reverse order.






And for Shane Rhodes (kind of) - some pictures of kids on bikes.  In these cases, they are little kids on their parents' bikes.  I have not happened on a school yet to see kids getting to or from school, although the rate of biking and walking to school is quite high.  I saw each of the scenes below many times, so these are not outlier parents somehow being radical, hard core cyclists.  They are just getting around their city in the most convenient way.


This woman has two on her bike - one in front and one in back. 

Here is a mom with two kids in the front basket.
The covered wagon bike with kids inside. Of course, this bike can double as a trailer for stuff.  Also notice that the woman riding the bike is just wearing normal clothes.  All bikes here have some sort of protector around the chain as well as a shield on the back tire to prevent a skirt or jacket from getting caught in the back tire.  Simple things that of course are part of bikes used for daily travel.  Why don't they come standard on bikes sold in the U.S.?

Here is a dad zooming through the heart of Amsterdam with a kid on a seat in the back and one in the basket up front.

Another dad with a kid up front in a covered basket.

And a mom with a baby in a front pack, not on the bike itself.  Also notice that no one wears helmets.  As the number of cyclists have increased, the number of deaths has gone down.  Seems when more people bike and when there is a real commitment to creating a great bike infrastructure, then safety via a helmet is less important. 

And finally, here is a picture of one of those go-carts on wheels. They sometimes travel on the larger bike lanes for short distances and go through alleys where they probably shouldn't.  Scooters also do this, and amazingly enough, even when scooters, bikes, cars, and pedestrians all try to access similar space, things work out with a minimal need for strict rules or signage.

3 comments:

  1. Gosh this is fun to follow Marc! I love all these ideas, and hope someone will show these pictures and share thoughts with the city government in Eugene. Now is the time to design those kinds of streets and infrastructure, while we are still smallish and committed to bikes here in Eugene!

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  2. Note that the go-cart and indeed mobility scooters all display moped license plates to prove they have insurance.

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  3. Kids Scooters is a handy little ride for kids and teens alike. Cheap Kids Scooters can be used instead of walking to the convenience and comfort.

    kids scooters

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