Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bicycle Blues, Seattle USA

Del Rey's new video is "Bicycle Blues."

Del usually plays acoustic blues and old-time jazz--she's a ukelele maestra--but here she's going for a more rawkus sound, as suits the urgency of her lyrics.

The video shows that Seattle's bike infrastructure is pretty developed--if not its bike culture perhaps.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weesperzijde route

Another way to Amsterdam, a somewhat more scenic route that parallels the previous one to the south. I ride through a nicely landscaped apartment complex to Metro Ganzenhoef, then continue south behind the bank of African import shops and hairdressers, through the plaza where the street market is held on Saturday (dormant today, Sunday). Past the plaza, the path skirts a block of modern attached brick houses. Clara Zetkinstraat curves west and feeds into the Kelbergenpad. This meets the north-south Strandvlietpad at one of those perfect housing complexes overlooking a canal with ducks (pictured, above). I pause there and observe three African women in traditional garb, strolling arm in arm on this chilly, sunny day, cyclists occasionally zipping past. This is an immigrant neighborhood but hasn't got the slightest trace of blight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One way to Amsterdam

Today, January 2, the sun is shining and I must get my vitamin D fix. So I decide to ride to the Tropenmuseum in east Amsterdam (an anthropology museum focusing on the former Dutch colonies). One of the advantages of being in Amsterdam is that the bike network is so brilliantly laid out that a trip downtown is as pleasant as any out to the hinterlands.

Still chilly on Jan 2 but the bike paths are clear of snow.
Now I'm taking one of three principal routes into the city center from my home in Zuid-Oost (southeast). This one is perhaps the most direct. I head north up the Gulden Kruispad, then turn left and follow a path alongside a suburban complex. It is cold and I'm riding against the wind but wrapped in a wool sweater, sweatshirt and down-filled jacket, it's not bad.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Riding in the new year

Christmas day I rode my bike to Gaasperplas, the lake park east of De Bijlmer, and actually enjoyed a bit of sunshine, though it's still quite cold. The access path has been cleared most of the way, but inside the park, most paths remained covered with snow. In general it was ride-able though slippery in places. I parked the bike by a bench and walked along the lake bank. Many ducks, swans and black coots floated along the icy surface. People showed up and fed them, resulting in an exodus of water fowl down the lake to the feeding point.
Gaasperplas, a big park around a lake in southeast Amsterdam, near my house. It's boxing day and there's still plenty of snow on the ground.