This gorgeous how-to book brings out all of the rules and norms of cycling in Amsterdam alongside amazing pictures of every day cycling experiences. Get it for anyone who comes to visit and needs a primer before heading out on a bike in the city.
Author Xing Chen is a neuroscientist who moved to the Netherlands for work in 2014. She grew up in Singapore and lived in the UK and the US before arriving here. She learned how to ride a bike as a child, but quickly learned that the cycle paths of Amsterdam were nothing like the quiet suburban streets she was used to.
The book is divided into five chapters, covering bikes and bike accessories; road signs; tips and etiquette; behavior and weather. Do you have any idea what all of the road signs mean? You will after you read this.
Cycling for dummies
It is, essentially, a cycling for dummies book. The material is dry in places, but so are the cycling rules. There’s an enjoyable narrative about the author in the beginning but what mostly keeps the book entertaining are the photos. Many of them were taken by Shirley Agudo, the photographer behind The Dutch and Their Bikes and showcase the interesting and weird things you may see while cycling in Amsterdam.
But the photos also extensively showcase the traffic signs, conditions and road layouts you might encounter while biking.
As the title suggests, the book is wholly focused on Amsterdam. While most of the information is valid across the Netherlands, there are some specific things that only apply to the city itself, such as information about local bike rental shops and the police contact details. Fortunately, if you want to find any of this information out for your own city, it’s fairly easy to search for or to find on your local council website.
The book is small, making it easy to carry with you and would make for a great gift for newcomers. Or keep it around your house for guests who are nervous about venturing out on their own.