.......................................... Strix the harbinger
...........................................guards OakWood's gate, ever asking,
.............. . ......................................"Whooo passes this night?"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread


link

17 comments:

Johann Rissik said...

I tried really hard to spot CK1103 in that bunch o' bikes, to no avail :)

What's the story behind that huge pile of bikes? I read the link, but couldn't help thinking "where's my bike?"

Gunnar Berg said...

Second row, 4th from the right.

It must be at a train station on a holiday weekend?

Gunnar Berg said...

(Where the guy is pointing)

Oldfool said...

I get sick at my stomach just looking at all those bikes and imagining the crowd all showing up at once.
I don't do well in crowds of more than three.

George A said...

I'm sure the USA would certainly be better if population centers weren't permitted to sprawl and local zoning didn't exile business like liquor stores and bakeries to so called "shopping centers" which are usually distant from homes.

However one item in this equation which is never mentioned is climate. I'm looking in the Washington Post Metro section (weather page) and Amsterdam's hi/lo temps for today, Sunday the 31st of July, are 62/50 with cloudy skies. It ain't 62 here in Bowie, MD. Right now it's 92 and earlier today it was pushing hard at 100. It's been that way for a couple weeks and will continue that way until mid September.

As for a loaf of bread, in this humidity the damn thing would be growing a thick layer of mold by the time I cycled home with it. Betcha if confronted with our temps most Dutchmen would stay the hell home too.

Rachel Stone said...

It's all about changing the culture--one bike ride, one loaf at a time; that's what my blog is about, too! http://eatwithjoy.wordpress.com

Tom G. said...

Fietsen are the best thing since sneetjes brood.

Gunnar Berg said...

Ja, je bet.

Gail Ravenhorst DeBoer said...

Gunnar:
This is Gail DeBoer, nee Ravenhorst, formerly of Clarks Grove and now from "Up North."
You might be interested in doing a Google search for a Wall Street Journal article on Dutch cyclists and their resistance to wearing helmets. (try Dutch cyclists helmets). When a Dutch cyclist is asked why they don't wear them, their retort usually is something to the effect, "We are not Germans!" Within the last five years, I've gone on 3 bike trips in Holland and Germany and observed that helmets were almost universal in Germany and very much a rareity in Holland.

Gunnar Berg said...

I have read about the Dutch helmet issue. People who have lived there point out that they have a totally different set of circumstances. It's flat and the traffic is much slower and moderate by most other world standards. For instance, there used to be a lot of Dutchmen in New York City, but over time they were all killed off because they were too stubborn to wear helmets.

My best to AJ. (I saw pictures of Lorna's cousin Chuck Nelson on Larry's Facebook this morning.)

Anonymous said...

If that photo is Amsterdam, it's most likely taken in front of Central Station. Another place where it's a challenge to find space to lock your bike is in front of grocery stores. No, Gunnar, there's never really a rush, just a steady flow which is quite civilized and pleasant. Cyclists in Amsterdam generally converse with each other, or with the kids riding along with them. Teenagers usually smoke, text, and/or act like teenagers while traveling at 13 mph.

The same photo could be taken in many other Northern European cities, such as Berlin or Zurich.

mw

Anonymous said...

also, Gunnar:

no, the Dutch would not stay at home when confronted with temperature extremes. The North Sea climate is not as mild as you might think. They do tend to ride the streetcars more though in winter.


The real problem is that Americans are a bunch of lazy fat-ass ignoramuses.

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

Moderate climate, like most things, is relative. Right now our heat index is 100, this winter it'll be -20 to -30.

Gunnar Berg said...

This past year, in spite of it's nasty winters, Minneapolis surpassed Portland for the highest percentage of bicycle commuters. It isn't because they are healthier, more fit or more bikerly than other cities, it's infrastructural. The City has committed itself to light-rail and bike paths, bike trails and bridges across freeways.

Anonymous said...

I wish to god more US towns were like Minneapolis or Portland, etc.

Re: heat & humidity. We know a little bit about that in the Deep South. Hell half the deaths in these parts--not counting mercy killings, late abortions, drunk target practice and other domestic issues--comes from Northerners dropping dead trying to climb the stairs to their motel rooms.

Doesn't ever keep me off the bike though . . .

mw

George A said...

I completely agree on the infrastructure observation, Gunnar. Here in suburban DC you take your life in your hands if you attempt to commute on a bike. I'd love to ride the 11 miles to and from the lab but I'd get picked off by an SUV the very first day. When I'm at the summer house on the island things are more manageable car-wise and destinations are also closer together. In summer once I get to the house I park the car and run most errands on an old Phillips three-speed or my (t)rusty old Dutch-made Crown.

Silk Hope said...

Gunnar you would never see this many bike in So Cali. They would all be stolen.