In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Pete Jordan, author of the wildly popular Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States, is back with a memoir that tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city's cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world today
Pete never planned to stay long in Amsterdam, just a semester. But he quickly falls in love with the city and soon his wife, Amy Joy, joins him. Together they explore every inch of their new home on two wheels, their rides a respite from the struggles that come with starting a new life in a new country.
Weaving together personal anecdotes and details of the role that cycling has played throughout Dutch history, Pete Jordan’s In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist is a poignant and entertaining read.
zwijntjesjager once claimed you can’t call taking someone’s unlocked bike theft. “A guy like that is just asking for it.”) I still ride all over the city with Ferris on my bike (though these days, instead of singing or indicating which way we should go, he’s just as interested in reading a book, either quietly to himself or aloud to me if I’m lucky). I still watch Dutch films, but nowadays my repertoire is mostly limited to the kids’ movies I watch with my son. (One such flick—Foeksia de
Kesteren and Ger Homburg, Fietsdiefstal (The Hague: Stafafdeling Informatievoorziening, Directie Criminaliteitspreventie, Ministerie van Justitie, 1995). 49 “But even if it’s”: Bast, “Geheeld voor een geeltje.” 49 “The market here”: Bast, “Geheeld voor een geeltje.” 49 “[He] seldom casually”: Anna Visser, “Oprecht verbaasd,” NRC Handelsblad, November 11, 1999. 49 “On weekends”: Roelien Wiestra, “ ‘Gestolen tang, gestolen fiets,’ ” Vogelvrije Fietser, July/August 2001. 50 “No, not anymore”:
made me really swoon. In America I’d witnessed motorists verbally attack cyclists who had the temerity to ride with child passengers, calling them bad parents for endangering their children. And maybe those motorists had a point. In fact, I could not imagine allowing a child to roam the streets of an American city by bike the way I did as a kid in the 1970s. But here, children were everywhere on bikes—alone or with their parents. That conveyed to me a lot about this city. And that this society
week before, in the same area, a 60-year-old man who wasn’t quick enough when handing over his bike was bludgeoned to death with the butt of a German’s rifle. The illegal newspaper Het Parool cautioned its clandestine readers: Don’t help the enemy gain means of transportation! Leave your bike at home! The bike confiscations will continue occurring in the coming days. Don’t think: I’ll slip right past. When you lose your bike, it’s not only a personal loss, it’s a little advantage for the
uniform in the dark? Or were they simply submitting to bloodlust, claiming one final martyr before leaving town? No matter the reason, the result was the same: Annick was shot 21 times and died almost instantly at just about the very spot where we three dozen were now observing the silence, here at the foot of Martelaarsgracht—Martyr’s Canal.* During the two minutes of silence, I was eager to explain all this to the courier. But when the two minutes expired, a couple of messengers used bike