For example, these curbs are ubiquitous.
Another key part of bike infrastructure is paving surface.
A little story. Many years ago, my 4-yr-old cousin was running away from home. “Watcha doin’?” his Mom asked, as she peeked into his room and saw him packing up a knapsack, ready to stalk out of the house forever. When he told her of his intent with furrowed brow, rather than try to talk him out of it, she got right on board with suggestions. “Oh well, you’re gonna need some cans of soup and a can opener. You’ll definitely need a kettle to heat up water - and how about this cast iron skillet for the campfire?”
Long story short, he got to the end of the driveway lugging 30lbs of household goods, changed his mind and turned around. And that’s how it is with street surfaces in Amsterdam. You wanna ride here? Well go ahead! You won’t mind this brick bike lane…
(Out go the clipless pedals)
(out goes the road bike)
And by the way, these pavement speed “disrupters” aren’t constant. There are just enough of them that delivery people (yes, they have them) ride the same speed as everyone else - and no one’s riding fast. Because after you’ve invested in a 40lb bike for all weather and all street surfaces, you’re not riding any faster just because the road got temporarily smooth.
Yes, those lycra guys still exist - but they pretty much ride on the smoother paths which - not surprisingly - can be found anywhere on the outskirts of Amsterdam, where they’re not likely to bother anybody. Coincidence? I think not.
The biggest upshot of all of this is safety. So that unlike NYC, where a silly mistake can cost you your life, the same mistake in Amsterdam at 10mph, is just that: a mistake. You trade embarrassed glances at the rider you thought you could turn in front of in the middle of an intersection - or even a driver - and ride on. You’ll live to ride smarter, another day. Cars are held to a higher standard.
The one thing these speed disrupters are not good for is some of the new mobility devices like electric unicycles, segways or scooters, tho I've seen a few - mostly parked. Because, aside from being illegal, on brick or cobblestones, you may end up carrying them a lot more than they carry you. Wheelchairs manage fine except for cobblestones.
One more observation. While in Amsterdam, I rode traffic circles - for the first time, with a protected lane. The feeling of freedom that comes with riding a separate, protected bike lane with timed signaling all the way around is unique, even enviable. Are you listening @NYC_DOT (#Columbus Circle)? This is the Wetteringchans traffic circle...
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