Cycle Parade through Amsterdam

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.

Members of the society ‘De Oude Fiets’ (The old bicycle) pose in Vondelpark in front of the rest of the participants of the cycle parade.

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.

The now 83 year old former world champion pursuit (1952) tells a lovely lady all about his career.

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.

Cycle parade Amsterdam
The route of the Cycle parade in Amsterdam. The marker is the location of Oosterkerk in which the Amsterdam Bicycle Museum houses for the summer.

20 thoughts on “Cycle Parade through Amsterdam

  1. That is great idea to have such bicycle tour we must go, during tour we can run bicycle as much we want and holidays spent either be finished very soon with good memories..

  2. Great video. You did very well to cover so many locales along the route on your own. I just have to get one of those dark black three-piece suits for Sunday-best rides!

  3. Great video again Mark! Congratulations to Myriam Corzilius also for the organisation of the tour and the Bicycle Museum in the Oosterkerk. Too bad I couldn’t make it that day.

      1. Where possible, some thought is given on making bikes and trams cross perpendicular, but just as often, you have to cross at a shallow angle.

        On a typical dutch bike, that’s not much of a problem, but the first year in Amsterdam, it’s a bit scary. It’s fun to watch freshmen from university in September, they are usually not accustomed to tram tracks and will suddenly behave like a tourist (while capable cyclists in all other aspects)

        After a while, you don’t notice them anymore, except when you lose traction for a split second in a corner in the rain. Nothing to be scared of, if you stay relaxed, you won’t fall down.

        On a racing bike with narrow tires, it might be a real problem. If you’re really scared, get a cargo bike with wide tires.

        1. I underwent a similar learning curve in Toronto. My bike is a Pashley Roadster Sovereign with standard 28″ tyres. The closest that I have ever come to crashing since I was six years old was on tram tracks.

          Normally I am very careful to take tram tracks at a 90 degree angle, but one day an ambulance came behind me with siren on. So I thought “better get off the road,” didn’t think to check for tram tracks in the heat of the moment and YIKES!

          I thought that with the Dutch principle of Sustainable Safety there would be some technical means of making tram tracks safe.

        2. Sustainable safety would try to avoid having bikes and trams sharing the same road as much as possible. Most bike paths outside the city center will cross at 90 degrees, but turning left on a grand union will inevitably cause some less favorable angles.
          It’s possible that in the Netherlands more care is given to a smooth embedding of tracks in the road surface. I know for sure that’s done for manhole covers.

      2. LOL! I was waiting for a Dutchie to make that reply and there it is.

        Hey maybe you could ask the Director of the Rijksmuseum to house the Bike Museum permanently? On second thoughts maybe not – he might suggest putting it in the underpass, to make it permanently impassable for people riding bikes.

      3. I have found it less a problem on my “Dutch bikes” than my skinny-tyre bikes (on Melbourne tram tracks). For sure, there is more rubber on the ground, however I feel rider position makes a difference. If my front wheel shifts to the side on my road bike, my head and much of my weight is up over my hands and the front wheel, making for a precarious position if you think about it. On my “Dutch bike”, I’m seated up right, my centre of gravity is better centered within the wheelbase, any slip would only need a foot down to the side. Also, my dutch bike makes me ride safely, my road bike encourages me to ride like a maniac 🙂 I wouldn’t miss the tracks though, and often wish they’d just stick in trolleybusses! (Surely they’re cheaper?)

        1. Buses are cheaper, but capacity is far less. Not only does a tram have over twice the capacity of an articulated bus, due to the number of doors the time at a stop is reduced as well. In passengers/hour, the trams win by a factor 4.

    1. The Amsterdam Port Authority uses a Velostrail system to cover the rail tracks in the port area. These tracks are rather more pronounced than tram tracks so cycle paths used to be laid out so that they crossed the tracks at right angles whenever possible. The solution is to install a rubber substrate which fills the track gaps and can be pushed aside by the train wheels. The rubber parts are easily replaced when worn; the cost apparently is less important than bicycle safety and “planological advantages” in that cycle paths don’t have to meander. The story is on the Fietsberaad website, in Dutch only (I think):

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.