It was an excellent trip (aside from all the business meetings, of course), during which I fell in love with a city that I used to think was all about sex and drugs and, well, that was pretty much it! But it turns out that there’s much more to Amsterdam than that – like beautiful buildings, gorgeous canals, an incredible history, and… bikes!
Someone told me before I went that “everyone cycles in Amsterdam”. But even so, the minute I stepped out of the train station I was struck by the sheer number of bikes in the city. They were everywhere; the roads were filled with more cyclists than cars and there were clusters of bikes chained to every fence and post in sight. Between the multitude of bikes and the excellent tram system, cars really are scarce and as a result, the city is bright and fresh and simply a joy to walk around.
Now that I’ve started going through my photos, I’ve noticed how much the bikes really stood out to me, since I snapped up dozens of shots of the things. What I love about them is the way the old-fashioned bikes and wicker baskets really seem to fit in with the landscape, with the peeling and weathered paint of the river boat houses, with the black metal fences lining the canals, with the skinny bare trees and the cobbled streets. Cars seem too modern, bikes are just right amongst the narrow, crooked houses and grey canals.
So, I thought I’d share a little gallery of my favourite bike shots. I love the way so many of them seem to have taken on the colours of the buildings they lean against, and I really think these bikes sum up my impression of the city.