A large group of people cycling on a wide variety of very different bicycles made a tour through Amsterdam last Sunday, 19th of May. On the occasion of the opening of the (temporary) Amsterdam Bicycle Museum, people gathered for a parade along some sites that are important to the history of cycling in Amsterdam. The museum is open for the summer (until 29th of June) and can be found in Oosterkerk, an abandoned 17th century church.
Video of the Cycle Parade through Amsterdam
Many people along the route were particularly interested in the old bicycles in the parade. Exited tourists took many pictures. The people from a society called ‘De Oude Fiets’ (the old bicycle) were dressed to match the style of their bicycles. Two gentlemen rode the entire tour on a ‘hoge bi’ (penny-farthing). It was a magnificent sight to see them ride over Dam square and even more through the newly re-opened under-passing of the Rijksmuseum. The classic bicycles formed a huge contrast with the riders of the Chopaderos Bicycle Club on their pedal choppers, cruisers and low riders. In Vondelpark a group picture was taken of all participants.
After the tour the museum was officially opened by former world champion pursuit Piet van Heusden. Piet is from Amsterdam and won the world title in Paris in 1952. His decorations and his cycle shirt are on display in the museum. Piet, now 83, cycled along in the entire tour and he hasn’t lost any of cycle style. It was pretty obvious to even the untrained eye that he is a professional on a bicycle.
Some old and special bicycles can also be admired. The local branch of the Cyclists’ Union has had some posters prepared, showing the history of cycling in Amsterdam. They were made by Marjolein de Lange, a cycling expert who was one of the key speakers of the Love London go Dutch conference, and with whom I was in Budapest. She also played a large role in the fight for the opening of the under-passing of the Rijksmuseum, when she proved that the safety figures used by opponents were incorrect. The under-passing is actually a much safer route than the investigations by opponents indicated.
Some images in the Amsterdam bicycle Museum that houses in an abandoned church for the summer.
There are also contributions by the political party ‘GroenLinks’ (green-left) and there are many pictures and a video installation on display.
All in all the exhibition gives a very nice overview of cycling in particularly Amsterdam. It would be great if the museum could get a more permanent status.