John Graham sends this along from Quora:
What is that one picture that best describes your city / country / state?
amsterdam
We see here a guy cycling. That’s not that strange or peculiar, isn’t it? But wait, you can actually get quite a lot from this picture:

  • It’s raining. The weather of the Netherlands isn’t the best one around.
  • That guy is cycling through the rain. Quite a few foreigners I spoke can’t understand why we would go out and cycle when it’s raining, but well, bicycles are such a part of us Dutchies that if we could go out to walk, we can also go by bike. It also shows that it can be quite rainy in the Netherlands.
  • He is cycling on a woman’s bike. We don’t care about that. Or women riding on men’s bikes. Or whatever bikes. Or doing whatever on a bike. Just look at this picture to see how little we care:

amsterdam-2
Last but not least: this guy is the prime minister of the Netherlands. Even at top level you go by bike. One of our former prime ministers, Wim Kok, was known for going to meetings in the UN building by taking the bike from his hotel towards that building. This picture is nice, from when Obama visited Amsterdam:
amsterdam-3

Comments

    1. Or Rachel Notley in a Tesla or Nissan Leaf or ebike, as opposed an 8 cyclinder gas guzzler.
      or people walking to Marakesh to the climate conference.
      btw: Unlike BC, Holland is flat and densely populated. Biking makes sense in some areas but not others, say N-Van, New West or even Vancouver outside of downtown due to rain and hills.

      1. Thomas, why do you have to be so negative about cycling?
        – Why not Rachel Notley on a bike? Or Premier Wall or Christy Clark on a bike? I was at an event a few years ago where both Gordon Campbell and his Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon showed up on their bikes.
        – The Netherlands is flat,but it also has rain, snow and instead of hills, they have fierce winds. I was there many years ago and rode into a super strong headwind for many hours. Our hills are nothing in comparison.
        – The Netherlands is densely populated but so is Metro Vancouver and Victoria.We could be more densely populated if we stopped developing endless suburbs along with all the roads and bridges to support them.
        A person I know that used to enjoy riding her bike in Vancouver is now living in Germany and she is planning to make a presentation to a large group of planners in Germany on “What Germany can learn from North America about cycling”. I am sure that Vancouver will feature prominently in her presentation.
        Why don’t you write a comment along these lines: “Arno, you do make some good points. Well done!”

      2. You know Thomas, just saying something over and over doesn’t make it true. The Lower Mainland is full of people willing to bike in rain and up hills. If you’re not interested yourself then don’t do it but please accept the fact that other people have different tastes and options and will make different decisions for their own lives.

        1. And when you look at the stats you can see there are legions of fairweather riders who aren’t willing to bike in the rain. Which is why it is so annoying to sit and wait to turn left off Hornby after 7pm November thru April for the nonexistent bikes. We’re expending money on infrastructure which gets only used well maybe half the year and 6 hours a day. Wasteful.

        2. The number of cyclists riding in winter now is similar to how many rode in summer ten years ago. It takes a little time for cyclists to become accustomed to riding outside of the most comfortable conditions but eventually many do. Copenhagen ridership only drops about 20% in winter in tougher conditions than here.
          If your concerns were used to justify not building roads for those cars that weren’t driving on them yet, we’d have a lot fewer roads.

        3. So should we also shut down the outdoor swimming pools, park paths, sport fields, Grouse Grind and other hiking trails? Might as well do away with ski hills while we are at it. Streets are not used much at night, so we should we remove 1/2 of them. Sidewalk use declines in the winter, so should we remove them?
          Actually, the key is to increase the network of safe and convenient cycling lanes as this will dramatically increase usage. If it were difficult and unsafe to get from A to B via car, how many people do you think would use cars?.

    1. What comes with flat, as in Holland, is high winds. We rarely get sideways driving rain like they do in Holland. Our mostly drizzly rain is easy to bundle up for with inexpensive rain gear.
      We have hills, they have high winds. They both have a similar affect on effort for cycling. One thing we do have way way way more of though, is whiners who make lots of excuses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *