Thursday, September 20, 2012

europe houdt van fietsen

In May/June I went to Europe for a couple weeks. Paris, Amsterdam, and Geneva to be exact and really got to experience cycling infrastructure and public transport the way it is meant to be. If only we could somehow implement this here in the states. It really does not hurt to add some space to sidewalks from the street and make safe bicycle lanes. I am really missing Europe right about now.

Paris has come a long way in its bicycle promotion system. They have added special cycle raised infrastructure apart from the road and part of the sidewalk system like those in Scandinavian countries. Upon intersecting with the road, they add directional sharrows. The Velib bike sharing system is the best known in the world and used by everyday Parisians for all sorts of errands. There are stations on every corner.

And now Amsterdam, the holy grail of bike friendly cities in the world. Their infrastructure amazed me, the sheer amounts of bicycles amazed me, and the speed at which everyone moves in one fluid brisk motion, zipping around the city without virtually stopping.

Even DHL delivers by bike here

This is the entrance to Vondelpark (above) on the street where we were staying. We rented a wonderful apartment from Jasper at and it was such a lovely park with ponds, fountains for children, and a whole path to cut through the city in a peaceful and fresh area. 

Amsterdammers enjoying a bright warm sunny day on the canals.

Cars and signs in Amsterdam come in all sizes and shapes.

We also went to Switzerland and I wasn't at all impressed with the bicycle infrastructure there. It seemed like an afterthought and I only saw bikes with derailers there, nothing else, within Geneva. Well the usual Freds on racing bikes through the countryside. Actual road traffic is very different here. People here very politely stop and wait for pedestrians and cyclists. No road aggression to be found. It is a very beautiful country, a beauty unrivaled anywhere else in its own way. Just want to share a couple photos:

 Well that's all for this episode! Stay Classy Palm Beach!