Friday, September 2, 2011


In general Europeans are healthy and not obese. It could be because of their eating habits and clean air. Another factor could be the extensive use of cycles. The dedicated cycle path that is provided on every road is a way of encouragement for the young and the old to confidently pedal down the road.

Provisions are made in trains, ferries and four wheelers to carry the cycle across long distance.

I liked the way the cycles were modified to carry the groceries. In some cases I found that this carriage acted as a pram, a good way to carry kids around.

Or for that matter this easy chair cycle that we saw at Vienna. What a way to pedal.  Looks like he is checking his messages while waiting for the light to turn green.

But one thing that really disappointed me was the theft of cycles. The crime rate in Amsterdam is very very low but I fail to understand how the theft of cycles can not be contained.
The end result was that all cycles were locked with heavy chains and padlocks. I am sure some of those chains must be weighing more than the cycle. (This goes for scooters too)

If the cycle is locked with the chain passing through the wheel, then the rest of the cycle is dismantled and taken away with the wheel left behind !!

And then there are cycles on hire with point to point cycle stations where you can hire a cycle at point A and leave it at point B (well locked and protected)

Head lamps are mandatory at night, which usually works on a small dynamo.

We were lucky enough to witness a cycle race that was held near Toledo in Spain. Managed to catch them in action (see movie clip)

Usually when you are back from a trip, you encounter a high pitched shrill.
It goes something like this "what you went to Paris and did not go up the Eifel Tower?
So to avoid that shrill   “what, you went to Amsterdam and did not go cycling?”  we too hired a tandem cycle and enjoyed pedaling on the dyke at Marken island with the lighthouse as the sole witness. I hope Dev Anand won’t have any objection to this. (see the 2 minute movie clip below)

Marken is a fishing island about 30 min from Volendam by ferry. (and Volendam is an hour away from Amsterdam by road) The island is so small that a walk around the outer dyke of the island is only 10 kms.

There is a small shoe factory on the island where they actually demonstrate how the clogs are made.

I have some movie clippings on that but more on that later when the clip is uploaded .

Outside the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam there was this huge wheel. An impeller running for a very good cause.Wheel of energy, an unique way to draw attention to fight against cancer. Volunteers could keep it rotating by running inside the wheel (like a tread mill) and this would generate power.

Any one can sign in. How? 
"Put your hand on the screen and press start. In five seconds your picture will be taken. This completes the signing process. Thats all"
This was erected last year (for 365 days) and today is the 328th day.

Why I mentioned this here is that I found many cycles too at the base. Those who can't run can pedal away and help.
What a unique way.

To enjoy the video clip allow it to buffer first and then replay (preferably at a higher volume)


Mrs Newlywed said...

Awww! I always enjoy your postings :)

Daisy said...

Great post on bicycles, Joe. I wish people rode them more here and that we had designated lanes for them so it would be safer. You and your wife look like you are having a fun time. What a great memory that will be! Nice video too! :)

CAntony said...

Another wonderful post.

Jeannette said...

What a happy little movie you have made Joe.

Christine H. said...

Great movie and very interesting bicycle info. I'm disappointed to hear that bike theft is a problem in Amsterdam though.

anilkurup said...

Yes, Europeans love cycling. Holland as you noted is bicycling country.
It is amazing how ell they planned with separate tracks for cycles. And it is an experience to cycle along the country side and the canals and the wood!

Tour-de France - , why do not we have such a grueling course in sport in India?

Anu said...

lovely post!! wish we had such things in India... mumbai desperately needs more people cyling! that easy chair cycle was a hit with everyone at home!

Bikramjit said...

I have also bought a cyle but sadly i dont ride it .. this post reminds me I shud start to ...


Michelle said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog! Now I've found yours and I like your photos very much! :)

sm said...

detailed post.
This shows the importance of cycling and dedicated path also.
like the pics

Cloudia said...

great post!

I love my scooter

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Sovina said...

that is so true..Cycling is a great way to remain healthy...People in Seattle cycle a lot, though only 3 months a year as the rest of the time it keeps raining :)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I agree with you totally about the cycling. A university in my city recently bought 500 bikes for use by students on an honor basis. It was reported that some of the students were dragging their feet to stop the bikes. There were no handbrakes and they did not even know about "coaster brakes." The point is to get an awareness of the value of biking both on and off campus. Great post!


Shadow of my life said...

really enjoyed reading every bit of your post. and pics are refreshing too. i was making my mind to buy a cycle, and this post encourage me to do so asap :)
Keep sharing.


kavita said...

As i love cycling ,i so enjoyed this post .Going to view the video right after this comment.

Anonymous said...

never been on a tandem bike think it would be fun,

Gill in Canada

Denise said...

Enjoyed the photos and the video. The different bikes were very interesting. They have rental bike stations in Washington DC too.

Heather said...

Love all of your posts! :)

Nisha said...

I always enjoy your posts, especially of the places where I've been to and the activities I've done.

Thanks for making me relive them again. :)

Reflections said...

That was an interesting read:-))!!!!

Theft of especially cycles seems so weird and taking it away leaving a wheel behind...really really weird;-o

Dubai is coming out with a cycling track sooon.....we r just waiting;-D

jacinta said...

..on a bi cycle built for two ...cute ,Joe u can give Dev a run for his money .Enjoyed your perspectives as usual.thanks

Manik said...

Nicely written. There is a big market for stolen cycles in Amsterdam because of the ridiculous price that one would pay if they were to buy it from a shop.

Anonymous said...

Fun video! :-) And I'd like to add that only those Europeans who ride bicycles are not obese ;-)