|It is common to see kids riding bicycles without adults. The streets throughout the Netherlands have been designed to accommodate all ages and levels of riders.|
Bikes were on the brain and everywhere in the streets during the Velo Mondial Conference in Amsterdam. Dozens of workshops about employer schemes, creative engineering, clever mass media campaigns, car-free days, developing bike policy and the wonderful world of infrastructure gave me plenty of ideas to try out at home. Yet there was only one thing that struck me as a the common thread of cities and countries with impressive bike policy and facilities Ñ the support of local government. Behind every good cycle project was a fully committed government. I heard stories of brilliant and radical (in America, anyhow) projects that were actually initiated by governments! I heard things that made me want to weep with envy. And things that made me want to rush back home and continue to fight for the streets that we can and should have here!
|Traffic calming devices like this speed hump ensure that cars stay in their place--sharing the road slowly and safely with other users.|
Two Times the Fun Riding in Amsterdam by Dave Snyder
Bikes are so commonplace that friends--women and men, both--hitch rides on friends' bike on a regular basis. Before I got my rent-a-bike, I got around on the back of a friend's bike. The technique is simple and elegant, and practically every Dutch person has it mastered: Walk alongside the bike after its driver has started at a walking pace. While walking, sit down, sidesaddle position, on the back rack. By getting on after the bike has started and jumping off just before the bike stops, the rider has no problem maintaining balance or getting an extra--heavy load rolling from a dead start.