If there is one city in the world in which you should never walk down the streets with your eyes fixated on your cellphone, it’s Amsterdam. If you do, chances are extremely high that you will be hit by a bicyclist, tram, bus or maybe even a car. However, the odds are it will be a bicyclist that mows you down while cursing your name as you hit the cold red brick sidewalks of Amsterdam. There is no other city in the world in which the cyclist is king like Amsterdam.
It may be hard to believe on paper, but it has been written that Amsterdam has more bicyclists than people. Once, however, you first step foot into Amsterdam, that becomes very believable. As tourists leave the Amsterdam Central Station for the first time, they are greeted by rows and rows of thousands of bicycles.
Cycling is the way of life in Amsterdam for locals. It is also strongly promoted by Amsterdam’s tourism agency. They make it very easy to rent bikes in Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam actually rents bikes to tourist. You can rent the bikes at Amsterdam’s Central Station or at Leidseplein or Dam Square. The cost to rent a bicycle for a day is between 10 and 15 euros. If you know when you will be in Amsterdam, you can even set up your Amsterdam bicycle rental online at the website – Bike Rentals In Amsterdam.
There are also many private companies and bicycle shops that rent Amsterdam bicycles throughout the city. It seems that on every other street there is a bicycle repair shop. If your someone who like using apps, you can download the Donkey Republic app which will help you navigate to an easy bicycle rental. It is the most popular app used to rent Amsterdam Bicycles in the city.
All the Amsterdam bicycles have these little bicycle bells on them that cyclist constantly ring to warn people. They are not loud bells, but loud enough to form a bicycle choir on very busy streets that almost hypnotizes you into thinking your in some sort of Stephen King novel.
One thing that is noticeable right away and also very alarming is that just about nobody wears bicycle helmets. I asked a local rider why no one where helmets and he told me it was because no one wants to carry a helmet around with them all day. He also mentioned that because of the lack of cars, most accidents involving bicycles involve pedestrians not cars. However, I was very much taken back by how many cyclists cut in front of trams. They just don’t cut in front of a tram that is ten or twenty yards away. I have seen them cut in front of trams that are only a few yards from them.
Amsterdam’s infrastructure has been set up so that cyclist have more room than pedestrians in many areas. On many of the sidewalks of Amsterdam, the bicycle lanes are twice the size of the pedestrian lanes. In most cities, bicycle lanes are on the streets with the automobiles. In Amsterdam, the bicycles lanes are part of the sidewalks in many areas. What makes it challenging for tourist pedestrians, is that it is hard sometimes to notice the discrepancy between the bicycle lanes and the sidewalks. The paths are usually the same color and material. In some cases, the bicycle lanes are a little lower than the pedestrians lanes. However, it’s every easy to drift into the bicycle lane while walking.
It’s easy to tell the difference between the cyclist who are from Amsterdam and the tourist renting bikes. First off, the Amsterdam locals are great cyclists I can’t tell you how many times I stepped in front of a cyclist only to have them brake so fast it almost seemed as if the moment had turned into slow motion. It was like those old Road Runner cartoons in which the Road Runner breaks instantly before hitting Wile E. Coyote. The tourist cyclist just crashes into the people or slams their bicycle into a pole or building. If your renting a bicycle in Amsterdam, keep your eyes on the path in front of you at all times. Do not turn your head to glance at a beautiful canal while you are in motion. You will instantly hit someone if you do. I saw it happen many times. This is why pedestrians need to keep their eyes on reality and not their cellphones while walking the sidewalks and streets of Amsterdam. That is exactly what the locals do. If you want to gaze at the beauty of an Amsterdam Canal, get off your bicycle and park it like the locals do.
Amsterdam is a very liberating city. The use of Amsterdam Bicycles have clearly dealt a heavy blow to the use of the automobile in the city. It is very refreshing to be in a major city and not having to hear any cars honking their horns. The streets are mainly occupied by trams, buses and cyclists. There are cars, but not many. There does not even seem to be many taxis. Amsterdam is a city that almost seems liberated from the rest of the entire world. In every city or town you visit, you are surrounded by people staring into their cell phones like dead zombies However, you do not see that in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, one is surrounded by so much beauty. Every couple of city blocks appears one of the most gorgeous canals you will ever see in your life. There is a vibrant spirit that resonates throughout the city.
If someone told you they knew of a place where people pretty much no longer uses cars and barely look at their cellphones, you would think they were talking about a place that only existed before the 20th century. Well that place does exists; it’s called Amsterdam!