Edition 26 April 2018, by
When I moved to Amsterdam in 2014, one of the very first things that I did was to buy a bicycle. I wanted to zip around the city efficiently, cycle with my buddies, and importantly, to feel at ease and embedded in my new locale. At the beginning, cycling through the crowded city streets was stressful, to put it mildly. Obstacles emerged every few metres- from approaching cars, motorbikes, pedestrians, and fellow cyclists, to trams, buses, and emergency response vehicles. Not to mention the hordes of mesmerized tourists, pausing spellbound in the middle of the street to take pictures. It required a ton of concentration and made me feel as though I was playing a frenetically paced, real-life, bicycling version of Grand Theft Auto.
Fast forward to the present: I cycle to work every day, covering a distance of over 20 km. I now have two bicycles: a run-of-the-mill city bike (borrowed from a friend, after my own bike got stolen), and a racing bike (for long weekend rides). Even when cycling through the busiest parts of the city, I feel confident, in control, and generally unfazed by the crush of traffic. In other words, a game of Grand Theft Bicycle that I have come to enjoy. The process of going from apprehensive to experienced did not occur overnight. Over the past three years, I gradually became familiar with the traffic system and street layout, and learnt to predict the behaviour of other road users- largely through trial and error. Most recently, I condensed these hardearned experiences and insights into a vividly illustrated, information-packed handbook, Learn to Cycle in Amsterdam.
This comprehensive guide covers a wide range of topics, starting with an introduction to the ‘city of bicycles,’ followed by advice on bicycle purchasing and rental, and popular bike accessories. It lays out written as well as unwritten rules, and tackles the topic of bad weather, offering detailed advice on cycling attire and technique. Whether you are a newcomer to Amsterdam or have lived here for decades, if your aspiration is to cycle confidently and safely through the city, then this guide is for you. Enjoy the ride!
Look out for a book signing with the author at the American Book Center, summer 2018!