Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More Random Thoughts & Images

I've made it back to Eugene and went out on a ride with the family to Art in the Vineyard on a beautiful summer day.  The bike valet parking was well used and the experience was nice.  It was a bit strange not to have a constant stream of people on bikes all around me though.  And ringing my bell didn't seem to alter anyone's behavior in front of me; I got used to the Netherlands where ringing the bell is frequently used to ask someone to move over to the right so you can pass or just communicate you are coming up from behind so be aware.  It was never rude to use the bell and it was amazing how quickly one gets conditioned to hearing the bell and acting appropriately.  Several people yesterday did pass me and say "on your left", which was fine, but I now prefer a quick flick of the bell.

I am going to try to retain the Amsterdam experience as long as I can, but know it will be hard just because my environment has changed so much.  So sharing the following images and reflections will also help me remain in that space a bit longer. 

Pictures only capture some of the experience; videos may give a slightly better feel. Here is a short clip walking down one of the streets.  This is a typical "big" street layout - sidewalk, then indented bike path, then on-street car parking, then car travel lane, and perhaps a light rail (tram).

In constantly asking ourselves "how do we get some of Amsterdam to the US?", we were amazed at how many small things were being done there, and that how those small things could be effective just because there existed a large base of people on bikes (not cyclists, but people on bikes).  One of those small things is the inclusion of a small gutter on stairs to allow people to easily get their bikes up and down.  Have a look:

That's it for this entry.  More to come.


  1. Yeah, those gutters are handy and should be standard. There is one leading down to the Market of Choice off Willamette from the neighborhood up the hill.
    Looking forward to more random thoughts (and discussions when we all get back from the summer).

  2. Do they ring the bell once? I just had this discussion with a friend where he read somewhere that it's more polite to ring the bell twice.

  3. Once, twice, continuously...not sure actually. A subtlety I didn't notice. A single ring usually did the trick of letting someone know you were approaching. It's surprisingly easy to tell if the bell was heard. And while I felt rude ringing my bell on days 1-3, after that it felt quite polite. And it was easy to become aware of others ringing their bell, whether I was on bike or foot. Classic conditioning is alive and well. I'm finding "on your left" to be cumbersome now, and a bit silly when a single bell ring could do the trick.


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