Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A trip to Amsterdam, home of the Bakfiets

Last week I had the pleasure of a work trip to Amsterdam, which was exciting for many reasons, but here I want to show some of the cycling-related fun I had between meetings.   Here is a slightly random photo collection from the trip, showing some of what you can expect in the bike-friendly city of Amsterdam.

Here is a nice Dutch bike path -- separate from the road, and with plenty of bikes parked by people living in the near-by apartments, and also probably some riding to work.  Click on the photo to see in full resolution, where you can see some of the variety of statfiets ("city bikes") and bakfiets ("box bikes") and cargo trikes.
Here is a a nice little lake I rode past.  With the water table typically only a foot below ground level (and in some cases metres above ground level), there are plenty of little ponds and lakes.

Here is a nice canal I rode past.  Most of the canals have single carriage ways along the sides, which are great for riding.

This town had this nice old draw bridge over the river.

A boat even went through while I was there. This picture shows some of the very few lycra-wearing cyclists I saw while I was in Amsterdam.  Most cyclists are just in their regular clothes.  It is only on leisure routes like the Ronde Hoep that "sports cyclists" were to be seen.

Here is a fairly typical Dutch bike while I was waiting for the bridge to go back down, with  a practical sized basket on the front.

The boat finally went through.

and the bridge went back down.

I said earlier that in some cases the water table is metres above ground level.  This is what I meant.  Here the river is several metres above the ground level of the Polder (drained land) to the right.

Here is a beautiful sunrise in Amsterdam near where I was staying on KNSM Eiland.  Very easy to stop for a snap when you are on a sensible bike.
While the bikes are sensible to ride, it doesn't stop the locals from decorating them and otherwise stamping their individualism on them.  Here is the bike of a girlfriend of one of the people at the Amsterdam Hackerspace I visited.  Dectorating your bike makes it easier to find in the big bike parks (see photos below), and maybe less likely to get stolen.  The fake grass with flowers that fit on the cargo rack at the back is a standard item in many of the super-markets!  I didn't buy any, but I did buy some big panniers for 35 Euros (about AUD$44), way cheaper than anything here, and they actually fit and securely attach to my bakfiets, and even have the slots to let the built-in bungy straps through (see photos in a blog post coming soon).

I mentioned the need to find your bike easily in the big bike parts.  In this shot near Amsterdam Centraal Station, you can see some bike parks to the left of the tram, and in the distance to the right of the tram you can just make out part of a two-level bike park. I estimate there must be near 10,000 bike parks near the central railway station.
Here are some more of the bike parks near Amsterdam Centraal.  You can see why pimping your bike up a bit is a good idea if you want to find it again easily.

Here is the view towards KNSM Eiland, where you get an idea of how pretty Amsterdam "streets" can be.

Plenty of nice classic boats around to be seen.

This boat is flying a pirate flag.

This is a typical view next to some shops: plenty of bikes parked along the path.

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