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.
We live on a fairly quiet street beside a canal (the one in the above photo). There’s a back way from here out of Amsterdam in the Haarlem direction. I ride just a hundred metres before the car-free cycle path begins.
Broad cycle paths like the one above take me six kilometres to the fringe of Amsterdam’s built up area. There are a few roundabouts where roads cross the cycle path and at every one, I have right of way.
About five kilometres further on, I reach the outskirts of Haarlem, a town of 155,000 people. It too has bike paths, separated from motor traffic, all the way in to the Centrum.
I have 23 kilometres on the bike computer. I can give myself some extra credit for having ridden into a stiffish headwind to get to Haarlem. It will blow me back home in less than an hour.
In the course of my afternoon’s ride, I’ve seen dozens of Dutch cyclists out taking advantage of the bike paths, for recreation or just going about their business. It’s clearly a boon for reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions and improving public health, physical and mental.
Is it any wonder I feel frustrated with the lack of cycling infrastructure in Australia, and in NSW in particular?
It’s the first time I’ve relied on my phone to do all the photography. Works quite well, I think, and much less trouble than lugging around a camera. Must do it more often!