17 April 2011

Born to ride

After dragging you with me, through what at times seemed like an endless tunnel, it is only fair that you get to share the light. I found it in Amsterdam and took so many pictures that my backup mac is hyperventilating. Oh, yes, we are back to that because the puppy crashed and burned for the second time in only four months. But let's not dwell on that rotten apple for now.

No need to tell you how things have looked gloomy in the dungeon lately, with the finances to match. But I just realised that there was enough frequent flyer miles to take me to Amsterdam and into the welcoming arms of my extended family, so within less than 24 hours from booking, I was on my way. Business class no less, when I needed it the most, and with an unbooked middle seat for my personal space, thank you very much. Champagne? Coffee? Tea? A foot rub, perhaps? (no, not really).

I decided to finally try out the no luggage travel experience, and that's quite a challenge for a woman, let me tell you, but it worked out even better than expected. No waiting time (the next best thing after personal space), and only a 17 minute train ride into the centre of Amsterdam. It turns out you don't need to drag a small coffin around with you when you leave home. Why did no one tell me this before?

There is so much to show you that it won't even fit into just one post. Even though both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are bicycle cities, they are very different from each other. For one thing the bicyclists don't use hand signs much. But that only means that everybody pays more attention to each other on the road. Your perimeter is wider, and if someone is approaching they see you too, and somehow it is understood who speeds up and who slows down slightly. As a rule the "uphill" riders have the advantage, so logical really. It is not the cars against the bicyclists, but rather one big well functioning organism. And yelling from the bike is simply not done. Unless you are a visiting Copenhagener near colliding with an ignorant woman walking her dog in the middle of the road... Amsterdammers are just born to ride.

Mother and daughter

You would think this is a rare sight. It is not.

Incidentally: one guess how many bicycle helmets I spotted? Zero. Amsterdam rules!

Make coffee, not war

Fight bad coffee, not other people

Two loves in one: the bicycle and coffee, plus the flowers oh crazy yum. I made my happy dance after taking these pictures, if you must know.


Goosebump material, here

I wish I knew what material these flowers are cut from, perhaps a reflective sheet?

Crate city

Personalised crates are big in Amsterdam. Wood, plastic, with stickers, flowers, painted, stenciled..

And City of Copenhagen, take note:

Bicycle tiles

Bicycle tile...

Bicycle parking lot in Amsterdam

... for the bicycle parking lot. The simple recipe for keeping the sidewalks clear.

Bicycle friendly building

Building with a built-in bicycle parking system.

Bicycle parking Amsterdam style

I ♡ Amsterdam

(to be continued)


  1. That is one crazy wall with the bike stands. Cool pics. Cool post, S!

  2. Hi Bert, I'm really happy to hear that, thank you. You are going to see more of the bike stand building in the upcoming Amsterdam street art post. Bring your napkins, there will be drooling..

  3. Skøn post Sandra!

  4. Ah, Trine hvor dejligt, tak.

  5. Amsterdam made a huge impression on us too - everything just feels so calm and peaceful, and it's absolutely clear that the people *not* in cars are the priority. It's such a beautiful city, and so nice to be in. So glad you could have such a nice getaway!

  6. Has something happened in CPH that I wasn't told about? 6 years ago,I don't recall seeing any helmets in Denmark.No wonder Mr CCC is so paranoid about the whole plastic lid issue.

    cheers (and stop making me so jealous!!)


  7. Hi Dave,
    calm is the word, and I think that was exactly what I needed. For a big city it is surprisingly relaxed, and I agree that it has to do with the fact that the car is not king. People are. Mmm, and all the water, I completely skipped all the pretty canal/boat/bridge pictures this time around, haha.

    Hi Ian,
    you are right something happened here, and we didn't see it coming. It was like an overnight thing, suddenly the helmets popped up, and to make matters worse the Danish Bicyclists Federation are pushing the helmets too. Your basic nightmare. That may be why Mr. CCC are on the barricades, also there have already been a proposal on the table to make bicycle helmets mandatory. This is another reason why a trip to Amsterdam is so sweet, there is no fear, just carefree riding.

    Cheers to you too, Ian :-)

  8. great idea with the inhouse bikestands.

  9. Sandra - cool post! I have only been to Amsterdam once, in 1999, and promised myself to get back there some day :-) Looks like it's still a very cool city, and that the bikers are still the rulers of the road. In their own pace, naturally:-)
    My favorite coffee shop (based on the one week stay in 1999) was The Jolly Joker. Excellent smoke, good coffee and very classy interior with lots of wood :) Don't know if it's still around.
    We should copy the coffee shop concept in Copenhagen, I think, so the police could hunt the real criminals, not peaceful recreational smokers like yours truly.
    And now we're at it, we should also copy the Amsterdam Bike Culture ---no helmets! :-)

    Looking forward to the Amsterdam street art pics!

    /Drumstick, CPH

  10. Wow I love this post, Amsterdam is such a happy city sometimes(not talking about the weed smoking). And the bikes are definitively the priority. Even walking can be hazardous... I love also how clever the urbanization mixes the useful and the street art. I'll go back when I'm in Paris. So easy for us, a train ride....

  11. Hi Drumstick,
    I never tried out the coffee shops in Amsterdam, but there are plenty around still. Copenhagen could learn a lot from the Amsterdam way of doing things, I agree with you on both counts. Just got my fast mac back today, so I will get to work on the street art, stay tuned..

    oh, that train, I was THIS close to making a detour to Paris, it is fast and inexpensive, and you are in the centre of Paris when you arrive, not stuck in some airport in the suburbs. Traveling by train is crazy romantic, I think.


I love comments! Go ahead, make my day. :-)