If ever I have belittled you and you have prayed, for example, that I might be struck by a blinding infection during my next speaking tour of the Netherlands, know that your god has acquiesced to your petition. Your prayers caused my eye to start hurting the moment I woke up last Thursday and made my way to the airport, and it only stopped hurting yesterday when I was boarding the plane to come home. Well ha to you fool! With this sore eye I had everyone’s pity. The Dutch love me now more than ever.
This was apparent right form the start, when Mikael Colville-Andersen wanted selfies with me. It’s okay Mikael, I tell them it’s true, that you actually do know me.
You will see in that photo that the eye wasn’t really bad yet on day one of my tour. It was well enough for a test ride of the new Butchers and Bicycles cargo trike, that handles just like a bike, yet is a trike. I mean: really fantastic. If enough of you ask them, Dutch Cargo Bike in Australia might take a punt and import these incredible bikes. They’re not cheap. They’re just brilliant.
I also saw a cool way around the whole shipping problem: open-source plans for DIY guys to make their own cargo bikes. Yes, you really can make an XYZ Cargo Bike for yourself, for the cost of a donor bike for the parts plus a few meters of aluminium box section. The plans are all free and the bikes, I can vouch, are strong and quite light.
So I managed to soldier through my keynote for the European Cyclelogistics Federation, receiving glowing praise for ideas that might have gone down like pork chops at Bar Mitzvahs had my worsening eye not won me the sympathy of everyone there.
You held me back with your evil petitions to your evil god on your evil sabbath day, Sunday. That’s when the specialist patched my eye and the pain of the scraping meant I couldn’t get to the big display day of the cargo bike festival that I had travelled so far to witness.
What you don’t know is the specialist was a delightful young lady. Ditto for the 4 other doctors who I had gazing into my eye during two prior visits, three visits all up. I kind of miss those trips to the hospital.
I also miss Rotterdam, which is why I swung by on Monday morning for a New York minute with my publisher…
…followed by another with my friends Sven and Detlef from Faithful to Source. They took me to the Holland’s version of Wholefoods to buy an old Dutch remedy for ze stink-eye:
It may have worked, I don’t know. Their expertise though is not in medicine, but urban planning, which they couple with their skills in film making and their passion for cycling. You can figure, no doubt, why I like them, and why I like Rotterdam. A Rotterdam minute is equal to 10 in New York.
Nevertheless, Amsterdam remains the #1 city in the world’s #1 nation for bicycle transport, and that’s where I was heading. Your prayer to have me go blind didn’t keep me from drinks with Pascal (above) from Velo Mondial, the designers of this air conditioned bicycle path in Qatar.
I was in Amsterdam for a night of talks at Pakhuis de Zwijger. The best part, really, was watching Marc van Woudenberg from Amsterdamize, having to emcee with my book on his face. After all the lectures he’s given me, that I have ignored, I reckon that must have hurt.
For example, Marc has lectured me regarding bike parking in Amsterdam, denying it’s shit or inadequate for a city with stairs such as these:
Thanks too Marc, for taking that photo, for helping me find my hotel, for carrying my bike, and for encouraging a free flow of comments after all of the talks. It was a really great show.
With the talks and main meetings over, your god could let my eye start to clear up enough for me to head out for a ride with some friends (above) and buy a new bike for my Primrose. So now she has a Brompton as well.
Loved throughout Holland, and loved now at home, I feel emboldened to say yet again that anyone in Australia who thinks “leave a meter” campaigns are a substitute for separate bike infrastructure, is an absolute cretin. Pray for lightning next time.