My fellow cycling activist chum David Brennan just finished compiling a video of his time in Amsterdam.
A word of warning: don’t watch it. You’ll only feel bad for stopping a third of the way through. I only finished it because I felt sorry for Dave putting in all the time to edit it together and reckoned I should take one for the team.
If you took my advice, then let me tell me that you missed half an hour of gratuitous lane-porn, wildly frequent and populated bike racks and some instances of driver consideration and deference that seem entirely alien to us in the UK.
But it’s extremely boring shit. It’s just mile after mile where not only does nothing happen, but it’s blindingly obvious that nothing is going to happen at any point of the video so the need for buttcheek/edge/seat interface is resolutely nil and this, my good readers, is fucking awesome. It’s a really uneventful kind of fucking awesome, like taking a warm bath with a voluminous glass of fine wine in hand, but not every kind of fucking awesome has to be as energetic as a cavalry charge of rhino-mounted gorilla knights. Sometimes fucking awesome can burn slow, so that everyone can cosy up to it, after a long period of getting used to having it about.
I salute the fucking awesome boring shit of Amsterdam’s cycling provision.
I was in conversation with my sister and cousin recently about things bikey. Both of them are slap bang in the middle of the demographic that Pavlovian cyclepoliticdogs like me salivate about – the regular working Joe/Joanna that would ride their bike to work/shops/socialising, but are too scared of mixing it with traffic.
The conversation turned to apparently suicidal cyclists, as it almost always does when in conversation with anyone who rides, and genuinely always does with people who don’t. After I’d finished describing the daft wee shit I’d most recently witnessed – filtering up the right side of a right-turning van, really? – there were a few anecdotes of turdly biking they’d seen, at which point I asked if would have been better for all concerned if they’d been in a car, or a 2.5 tonne Chelsea Tractor, or an HGV.
Do you know that pause you do when you know someone’s made a good point you hadn’t seen coming, which is basically the rhetorical equivalent of a wince? That.
I’m not arguing cyclists are all perfect, since that would imply that I believed a form of transport existed which numpties were unable to use. I don’t think one does.
I’m not arguing cyclists cannot cause needless alarm and inconvenience to other road and path users, since that would imply I believed a mode of transport existed which is harmless even in the face of maximal numptation of their pilots. I don’t believe one does.
The only mode of transport I’d been able to conceive of that stops numpties from numping is when one is heavily sedated and strapped onto a stretcher which is being carried by people who are themselves not numpties.
In the absence of radical restructuring of the transport system to consisting of burly persons with needles full of Morphia’s norkblart, I declare it’s probably best we make it easier to be a good cyclist, and just thank our lucky stars that the numpties that come along with it aren’t driving a Chelsea Tractor.