I don’t consider myself a “cyclist.” When I return to the United States, I don’t plan on biking like I do now. I can’t imagine peacefully peddling around any other busy city — it would be terrifying to bike alongside the psychotic drivers of Boston or the oblivious slowpokes in St. Louis. It’s not that drivers here are any better; it’s just that the city is set up to accommodate bikers. Bike lanes provide almost complete segregation from drivers, and when they don’t, the cars proceed cautiously…to the point of paranoia. In a car/bike collision, drivers are always at fault, no matter the circumstances. As a result, bikers ride everywhere, worry-free! with impunity! without helmets! And I am no exception.
I’ve been going on small-scale adventures with my new bike. I never set out with a destination in mind, and I usually have no idea where I’m going. I’ll pick a direction and ride, then try my best to remember how to get home. Much of Amsterdam center is laid out as concentric rings of streets, so I usually find myself going in circles and, without trying, ending up where I started.