Anyone looking for an adrenaline rush in Amsterdam need not turn to techno nightclubs or infamous activities the city is known for, if that is not your cup of tea. Simply hop on a bicycle near Dam Square and the surrounding tourist areas to find a thrill. Amsterdam, like many say, is a city made for biking. It’s evident all the way down to the smallest details, like rails to guide you’re bike up staircases so you don’t have to carry it. Not only are the bike lanes clearly marked with mostly white dividing lines but the whole lane is normally brick red distinguishable from the normal pavement where the cars drive. There are traffic signals for cars, walkers, and bikers. There’s more. Mopeds share the bike lanes, and every so often, so do the cars. More than once I was with in a few inches of being clipped. But it’s all part of the fun! Until someone gets hurt, which I haven’t seen happen yet. Even the bikes themselves have adapted though evolution to protect themselves from theft. Dutch bikes have what is called a frame lock—a simple bolt that is attached to the bike near where the back brake would go, and slides through the spokes of the wheel, preventing the back wheel from turning. To engage the lock, you simply twist the key that is in the lock, slide the bolt in place, and the key is removed. The key is stuck in place when the lock is disengaged and can only be removed when you engage the lock.
One blog author wrote there are as many bikes in Amsterdam as there are people. I’m unsure if he was including tourists in that guesstimate but nevertheless, it gives you a good idea. The only other city I’ve been to that had such a high concentration of bikes per area was Cambridge, England. Being a small town filled with university students, it seemed natural. Amsterdam is a much larger city than Cambridge but you will also find vast numbers of bikes at every bike stand, which are located around every corner and on every street. Personally, I love biking, and would move to this city in a second, although for more reasons then just the biking.
I rented a bike for two hours and zoomed around the city in no orderly fashion whatsoever. I saw an old looking cantilever arm type bridge, which was a neat surprise. Other than that, I just peddled as fast as I could, armed with nothing but a selfie stick and a bike bell to warn pedestrians and drivers.
On the verge of going back to my hotel room for the rest of the night, I made a last minute decision to check out, once again, another recommended café bar restaurant, called Hannekes Boom. “Boom” translates to tree, as I learned from the friends I made during my time here. It is so called that because much of the building is made of wood! I spent an unplanned two or three hours at Hannekes boom eating nachos and drinking ice tea. A successful afternoon would be considered an understatement. The area the Hannekes Boom was located in had a few neat bridges and some modern styled buildings. I will try to go back there before I leave!