According to the urban legend – in Amsterdam, there are twice as many bikes as people. In reality, they estimate that there are about 800 thousands of them, for comparison in Warsaw in the Veturilo system there are about 3 000 bikes riding around. Cyclists form nearly 50% of the traffic in the city center of Amsterdam. And – of course – the legendary bike lanes – more than 500 km within the city. It is no wonder that the bikes are one of the most representative symbols of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam – The city of bikes – sounds beautiful?
You don’t have to be here for a long time to discover that the bikes are everywhere. Absolutely everywhere, in every street in front of every house, office, shop, next to the every metro station and tram stop. You also don’t need a lot of time here to feel the shiver of terror – local cycling customs have nothing to do with the weekend cycle rides, which I knew from Warsaw.
In the first part of this post cycle, I want you to feel what I felt during my first days here – cycle reality is so different here than in Poland that it is difficult to believe in some things.
- Being on the phone, while cycling. Firstly it was pretty impressive to me but after a month, it already feels like being close to this stage…
- Being on the phone and smoking a cigarette at the same time, while cycling – this is definitely the pro version,
- Leading the second bike at the same time,
- Scrolling Facebook wall, while cycling,
- Riding in mini skirts and high-heeled shoes,
- Cycling with an umbrella, while it is raining – it’s obvious, isn’t it?
- Totally ignoring any regulations – jumping red lights, riding upstream, hogging the road, overhauling from the right side and many other stunners,
- Two people riding together in many configurations, e.g. a boy riding the bike (men’s frame) with a girl sitting between him and a steering wheel on that frame. She sat sideways, elegant, like on the horse in the side-saddle.
- Riding with very, very little kids in the child seats, which are mounted on the steering wheel (it is really hard to suppress my imagination, all the time I see fierce braking and those kids just flyyyyyyying away, hmm),
- Riding with a bit bigger kids, who are standing behind the parents on the back chassis-carrier (in my head the same as above)
- Riding, while it is raining cats and dogs,
- Riding with a dog on a leash…
And a few unusually interesting cases:
- A guy eating a yogurt, while cycling (it’s worth saying that the yogurt was eaten from the bowl with a spoon, full culture),
- An old man carrying two (!) chairs by bike, one in each hand,
- A girl riding towards the Central Station, trailing a suitcase next to the bike,
- A young couple holding each other hands, while cycling – each on his/her own bike of course…