May 7, 2009

bicycles in Holland

Upon arrival in Amsterdam, one of the first things you notice are all the bicycles. Same in Utrecht and other Dutch cities. There are far more people on bicycles than driving cars. I would guess the ratio must be at least 5 to 1, maybe as much as 10 to 1.

But it's not like the people who bicycle in Denver, where I'm from, or other US cities. No skin tight shorts and shirts polluted by advertising. No $2000 bicycles made of special metal alloys. Here, the bicycles are cheap and rusty, with a basket on the front or back. No self-respecting American cyclist would be caught dead on one of these. But here they are ridden by everyone--young and old, business people, students, everyone. And they are ridden by people wearing their normal clothes. That's because they are not riding for "exercise" per se; they are riding to go to work, or to shop; the bicycle is transportation. Less expensive than cars, and frankly, easier to get where you're going in a big city.

Not many fat people here. Wonder if there's a connection?

-Rob

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