I’ve been working with Amy and Cyclodelic for the past 5 weeks. Traveling to London for the summer has been a wonderful experience, and interning with Amy has been great. But, in order to gain a grasp on just how influential and powerful a force the biking community is in Europe compared to the States, I needed to step out of London.
Not to be misunderstood, the bicycle community in London is fantastic; especially with the new TFL bicycles for rent this coming month. But Amsterdam takes the cake as the city of bicycles. The entire city seems built upon the idea that there are alternate forms of transport. Rather than driving or riding the tube and bus, this city seems to thrive upon using our bodies as a primary motor. Most people ride bikes to their destination, which is made easy with the many bike rental companies and large bike-only lanes everywhere. The walking paths were almost always less than half the size of the bike lanes. IF you must get somewhere far, you can take a canal boat ride or use the tram. Rarely did I see cars and when I did, they were never given the right of way over bikes or pedestrians. It seems that sort of common courtesy could go far in a place like London; where the cabbies TRY to run pedestrians over.
The people in Amsterdam love riding bikes, it is that simple. They also share some of the lowest obesity rates and cleanest air in all the world. Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not. Traveling by bike is not just their way of transport, it is their way of life.
66% of Americans are overweight or obese. 46% in the UK, and 50% in Australia. 11% in Amsterdam.