A is for @amsterdamized

I’ve been lucky enough to host a couple of Twitter #cycling buddies when they’ve visited Melbourne: taken them for a bit of a spin, shown them a few of my favorite places, had a coffee or a beer together.

Today, I got really lucky, when Marc, aka @Amsterdamize, was kind enough to show Sarah & I around Amsterdam.

Sarah & I had a sleep in (thanks to a bit of a late night exploring the bars in the red light district), had some much needed coffee and pancakes, then hired BIGHT YELLOW rental bikes – I’d been hoping for cool, black Dutch ones – and rolled back to our hotel to meet Marc.

The three of us spent the afternoon cruising around, talking about cycling, politics, attention deficit disorder, beer, life, the universe & everything.

I wanted to try to understand a bit about cycling culture in The Netherlands, but as Marc explained, it’s a bit like trying to talk about running water …. it’s just there. I remember when I visited Rotterdam two years ago thinking: these people aren’t cyclists, they just happen to use bikes …. And today confirmed that.

I could bang on for the next five paragraphs about the infrastructure (nearly perfect – at least it is to Melbourne eyes) but I won’t try to: plenty of people who know much more about these things that have said much smarter things than I ever could. But, the one thing that really stood out for me today was that it’s universal: EVERYONE rides a bike; if my mother or mother-in-law lived here, they’d have a bike, something that would be almost beyond comprehension in Australia.

And the other think I learnt: the only thing that’s sexier than a pretty girl riding a bike is when there are two of them.

Thanks Marc, it was a great day!

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