Out of the top 10 bike cities in the world, what city do you imagine is first? After visiting Amsterdam last weekend, I am not surprised that it is rated number one, with Portland following just behind in second. Amsterdam is home to the famous Amsterdam Bike Ramp next to Central Station, which holds over 7000 bikes for commuters to park while they travel by train. With a population around 760,000 habitants, there are around 600,000 resident owned bikes in the city. With a statistic like this, it is no wonder that 40% of Amsterdam’s traffic is created by bicycles.
The transportation infrastructure of Amsterdam is absolutely astonishing. If one were to add up all the cycling paths, it would total a length of around 400 kilometers. Considering that bike lanes connect the entire city, cyclists are well respected on the roads; which makes cycling an efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly way for anyone to get around. Plus, for tourists, there are over 140 bike shops, which either provide tours or rent bikes for as little as 8 Euros a day.
Just as all types of people ride bikes, all types of clothing are worn while riding. During the winter, cyclists bundle up in hats and scarves to overcome the wind. In the rain, people simply ride one-handedly, holding an open umbrella in the other. This past weekend I saw a man in a penguin suit, women in high heels and short skirts, and even a woman in a long fur coat riding unperturbed by the possibility of being splattered by mud. Frequently, parents pack multiple children on a bike with them, riding older kids on the handlebars or in a large industrial basket that is connected to the front of their bikes. Plus, as some people listen to their Ipods or chat on cell phones while pedaling, it seems to be the responsibility of pedestrians to get out of the way of all cyclists.
Considering that anthropologists say that the most important facets of a society are the ones that people give no reason for doing but feel are simply part of their makeup within the group. When asking a local male bicyclist in Vondel Park about why biking is so popular, he responded, “I don’t believe we think much about biking or not biking. It’s not a decision for us; it’s part of our heritage. I grew up riding my bike everywhere and I don’t know any better!”
Date Added: November 16, 2010 | Comments Off | Filed under: Carbon Offset,Current Events,Uncategorized — Tags: Amsterdam, Bikes, Environmental, Traveling — treeinabox @ 4:19 am
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