All My Bikes
Key in hand, wanting to unlock my bike, I stopped short. An empty place stared at me. Who borrowed (read: nicked) my bike?
Mine was one of the three thousand bikes that are stolen in the Netherlands every day. If all sixteen and a half million Dutch people had bikes, it would mean that each of us has a bicycle stolen every six years. My first bicycle was a present on my tenth birthday. Since then I haved owned another five. Only one of my six bikes was stolen. That happened yesterday.
The theft felt like a personal loss, but not for long. My bike is not very dear to me. It is a means of transport. I use it to go to the city centre and to do my shopping. Yesterday I pedalled to the centre and parked it against a bridge railing. I locked it and when I came back it had gone Awol. For a second I thought that I put it in another place, but I had all my faculties and realised that someone needed transport there and then. I went to the police station to report it missing. The policewoman asked for the brand, colour, accessories and if I needed counselling. I said, “no”, but could I leave my heavy bags behind her desk. I would collect them with my other bicycle. I have two bicycles; one city-cum-shopping bike and one lightweight, twenty-one gears for long distances. Walking home, I reminisced about all my other bicycles and where were they? Not stolen. I know that for sure. I don’t know and cannot remember what happened to them.
Dutch Bike Facts
Amsterdam is the Bike Capital of the world. In 2009, 1.3 million Dutch people bought a new or second-hand bike. On average, a reliable new bike costs €700.
Netherlands Bicycle Capital of the World
Brian took 82 pictures of bicycles in 73 minutes, showing how interesting and different the Amsterdam, Netherlands bicycle culture is from San Francisco’s bicycle culture.
Marc van Woudenberg met William Hsu, employee of the San Franciscan bicycle shop in Amsterdam. They talked bicycle and Hsu remarked that bicycles in Amsterdam aren’t really thought of as a culture or a means of transportation, but rather just a way of life. Bicycles are incorporated in everything.
Work Cycle Learn
Listen to what the New York Times says about Dutch Bicycles.
Photo: courtesy of Amsterdam Bicycles