My father and my step-mother visited me a few weeks ago here in Amsterdam and my first question was: So, how about renting bikes? My father was game. Last April, we rode along the Amstel River together towards Oudekerk, a small village to the south. While my father was a bit shaky at first, he enjoyed himself and even commented (rather exuberantly), “I must be the oldest person around here on a bike!” My Dad is now 70 and just as he said this, an elderly couple passed us, who I’m guessing must have been nearly 80 years old. My father has aged exceptionally well, but I’m sure these folks had a few years on him.
So, when I was out and spotted a “mature” lady, I decided to snap her photo because it reminded me of my Dad’s comment. Here, age (just like the rain) rarely stops the Dutch from cycling:
On the other end of the spectrum is a child falling asleep in his Mamma’s bakfiets (a bak is a container). From cradle to grave, there’s a bicycle in there.
During their visit, my step-mother opted not to ride because….she’s never ridden a bike! She told me her mother had been overly protective when she was a child, insisting she couldn’t ride, and Amsterdam is certainly not the place to learn—it’s much too busy for anyone wobbling on wheels. Her admission surprised me because I honestly can’t imagine living life without a bike—there’s not a single day I’m not on it—and it was almost like she was saying she’d grown up in the 1700s, when such a contraption didn’t exist. So we walked through this glorious city, which is dense and walkable, but I’m still convinced Amsterdam is at its best on a bike.