NYC Bikers

Life is meant to be lived on the back of a bike. At least the fun parts. This blog is an effort on my part to convert the world into bikers, starting with my friends living here in Fresh Meadows! Even if I have to do it single handedly, I will civilize the bikers of New York!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So What is a NYC Bicycle Rider? - Part 2

Amsterdam! It opened my eyes forever and no - not for the reasons you are thinking you deviant. Amsterdam is the land of bikes. There are bikes everywhere and cars - they actually stop to give you right of way! Oh, and the bikes are uber comfy with racks in the back and the front to carry stuff. I actually carried my luggage from the train station to the our rented townhouse on my bike. Brilliant!

Amsterdam! Where bikes have their own lanes, their own traffic lights, and throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, bikes have their own interstate highway system. It's crazy but true - the bike highways have exists and kilo-millage signs that run parallel to the car highways but are separated by tons of steel and wire.

More bikes are stolen every year in Amsterdam then the city has people! The people I saw tended to be very fit because of the active lifestyle and it is not unusual to see a whole family out for a bike ride on a sunny afternoon. During the week in the mornings, rain or shine, you can see young girls on pink barbie doll bikes going to school.

The bike is King (or Queen fore even Beatrix bikes to work) in Holland and Belgium, as it should be. Pedestrians get out of the way for oncoming bikers because everyone knows how annoying it is to lose momentum on a bike. EVERYONE in Amsterdam that can physically ride a bicycle does. In fact, some statistics show that in Amsterdam it is more likely that a trip will be done by bike then by car. 30% of people ride their bike to work everyday with an additional 40% riding their bikes to work occasionally. That is more then half your population riding a bike to work which helps keep biking safe because the dude you door-slam could be your boss.

Amsterdam revealed the truth to me. Amsterdam showed me that I COULD ride my bike in the rain (even though my dad always said no) without getting a streak of mud across my back. Amsterdam made me believe that I could ride my bike safely with class, dignity, and proper posture. In Amsterdam I realized that life was more fun on the back of a bicycle - especially when it had fenders, lights that ran on pedal power, racks to carry stuff, a fully covered chain-case, a double kickstand, and the all important "get the hell out of my way" bell. I also learned in Amsterdam that 3 speeds is all I need.

Now that I found my Nirvana I wondered how I could bring back this little slice of heaven to the states. Was New York City ready for a Dutch cruiser bike? Only time, and possibly this blog, will tell.


Mcav said...
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Mcav said...

A biker's frustration with losing momentum should not give him or her license to breech a traffic law at the possible peril of those who are following the same. :-p It is one thing to slow down for a biker and give that person right of way, its another for one to fly out of nowhere from such a spot where a driver cannot see them or safely maneuver so to give right of way - even if that driver is being watchful of possible bikers in the area. A biker should still be considerate and safe.

E. Edward Hobbes said...

To be more clear when I refer to a biker's momentum I am referring to the very bike friendly Utah Bicycle Laws. Here is a handy link. The third bullet point down addresses the issue of momentum perfectly!

Of course, I do agree that a bicyclist should never recklessly blow a red light or a stop sign - it's dumb and it's dangerous for the cyclist.

Cow Bike!

Cow Bike!
Maes kept getting attacked by the cows whenever she biked through the fields. She decided camouflage would be the only way to survive.
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