ABSTRACT: Ted will be doing a study abroad class about bicycling in amsterdam. Bicycling in Amsterdam is better than bicycling in Eugene, or so Ted has always heard. After the class, Ted will be riding his bike to Copenhagen, to really do the whole bike-advocate-Euro-pilgrimage thing to death. He is extremely excited.
The whole American bicycling movement has a holy land. Jeff Mapes calls the pilgrimage to Amsterdam “almost a religious affirmation” (Pedaling Revolution, 2009). Such bated-breath statements of the greatness of the bicycle system in the Netherlands are quite common in the bike advocacy world. The sermons tell of separated facilities, no need or want of helmets, inter-generational participation, and, most importantly, dominant mode shares. Amsterdam is the Big Rock Candy Mountain of bicycle transportation people everywhere.
And good thing, too, because when I get the odd “get a car, faggott” tossed at me on the mean streets of America, it’s nice to think positive thoughts about the dream, the promise of Dutch bike infrastructure.
As luck would have it, I am about to visit the holy land. A group of mostly University of Oregon and Portland State University students will be traveling to Amsterdam with Professorial escort to not only bask in the true holy light of, essentially, ostensibly, our dream transportation system, but also to bring back concrete observations on how that system might be established in America.
We will be cycling around the city, learning directly from transportation planners and government folk, and doing observation and analysis. I will use this blog to document the experience, and I expect you all to pay rapt attention.
After the class, I will be riding my bike to Copenhagen. My partner Katy and I will be following the North Sea Cycle Route, going through Groningen, Hamburg, and a host of other fine places as we wheel our way towards the other great object of bike-folk wonderment, Copenhagen. From bike-mecca to bike-mecca by bike. That’s how we roll.
This journey will be documented with words, pictures, and videos (how will I use my helmet cam if the dutch don’t wear helmets?) right here on this blog.