Category Archives: Cycling

AMSTERDAM OFFERS FREE DINKS TO STRANGERS

No, I don’t mean ‘free drinks’ and I haven’t tried one myself.

‘Dinking’ was the old Aussie word for giving someone a lift on the your bike, back in the days when such things were legal.

It’s still a common way to get around in Amsterdam, though the idea of offering and/or accepting a ride from a stranger is probably (1) a cool marketing exercise for bike hire company Yellow Bikes and (2) likely to give a new meaning to the phrase ‘pick up’.

Anyone accepting a ‘Yellow Backie’ dink from an already wobbly rider like me would be taking their life in my hands. They’d need a stiff drink afterwards.

Look at the YouTube video above and see what you think of the idea.

3 Comments

Filed under Amsterdam, Cycling

CYCLING THE GREEN HEART – Holland’s most beautiful

The oldest town in the Netherlands. Not so many people know about it.

The oldest town in the Netherlands. Not so many people know about it.

‘This landscape always reminds me of Holland,’ said my mother, years ago, somewhere outside Melbourne, on a road between Springvale and Frankston.

She’d never seen Holland and neither had I, but we both knew what she meant. What I only discovered recently was that the image we had of classic Dutch landscape came from 19th century paintings. Even the word ‘landscape’ comes from the Dutch ‘landschap’. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Art, Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

THE BIESBOSCH, HOLLAND – does this tale ring alarm bells?

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields...

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…

Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.

But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.

Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

AMSTERDAM TO HAARLEM – with bike and smartphone

Bring it on! Trucks and planes are no bother.   I have my own cycle path.

Bring it on! Trucks and planes will not bother me. I have my own cycle path.

The joys of living in Amsterdam. It’s a fine day, I need some exercise and I have the afternoon free. One of the most beautiful small towns in the world is an hour away by bike.

I don’t need a helmet, I’m not wearing lycra and this time I’m not even taking a camera. The phone in my pocket will do the job. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Amsterdam, Cycle touring, Cycling

DUTCH CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE – NSW, you could do this too!

There's nothing special about this cycle way and the windmills in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

There’s nothing special about this cycle way in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

The Government of NSW (it’s a place in Australia) has just announced that it will rip up one of the few separated cycleways in central Sydney and not replace it until after a new light rail line has been installed – a process that is likely to take 2-3 years! Click here for a summary of the sad story.

They could learn a thing or two from how the Dutch have organised cycling infrastructure.

Today we had to travel from Amsterdam to Beverwijk for a family lunch. It’s about a 60km round trip, it was a fine day, so I decided to do it on the bike, carrying the camera and taking a few shots along the way. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Amsterdam, Cycling, Holland

RIDE2WORK DAY – no sweat.

The Light Rail arrives at the end of the line, in Dulwich Hill. I'm still cool and dry.

The Light Rail arrives at the end of the line, in Dulwich Hill. I’m still cool and dry.


“You can’t ride the bike. Not today!”

Mevrouw T has just ironed my best shirt. I’ve pulled on my neatest slacks. I have a meeting with strangers, in their office, mid-morning, with no time to shower and change before it.

It’s reasonably cool for a summer’s day, but I’m a sweater. Even moderate exertion turns me into a human puddle. No amount of deodorant will be able to cope.

But February 4th is a designated Ride2Work Day, a laudable initiative that encourages us to use our bikes for commuting, rather than serious training.

I want to support the organisers and show solidarity with my fellow cyclists. What’s the point of campaigning for better cycling infrastructure if people don’t saddle up and use it?

But that sweat…? Fortunately, I have a cunning plan… Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Cycling

SIX BEAUTIFUL BRIDGES – for bikes

Melkweg ('Milky Way') Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

Melkweg (‘Milky Way’) Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

I’ve been on a quest to find the best-looking examples of Dutch bike bridges.

My inspiration has been Gavin Blyth’s book Velo City, with its collection of great photos of impressive cycling infrastructure around the world, including the photo above of the bridge over the North Holland Canal. It was a thoughtful present from the Dutch children’s book SCBWI group – thanks!

Mr Blyth’s book concentrates on the newest and hippest. I like some of the old cycle path bridges too. I’ve been trying to do them justice with the camera. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Cycling, Holland