We were in Amsterdam last month and we mostly got around like this:
It was pretty awesome, even if we didn’t get to try out a bakfiets because it was too expensive to rent. The bike tracks in Amsterdam weren’t perfect (they did disappear every so often), and riding with kids is always a bit fiddly. But yes, pretty much awesome. I have never ridden a bike without a helmet and the only times I felt unsafe were when I accidentally rode down the bike lanes the wrong way because we drive (and ride) on the opposite side of the road in Australia.
Sydney is always going to be a harder place to ride because of the hills and absurdly narrow streets, but we can do so much better. After reading At War With the Motorist for a while, you really get a sense of how much better.
With all these thoughts in my mind, it was great to see this short documentary about how the Dutch actually got it together:
For once, the “won’t someone think of the children” argument used for good! Here in Sydney, two things hold me back from cycling: the hills and having kids to cart around. There are just some places where the roads aren’t safe to ride with children, but the footpaths are two busy. My commute to work features roads like this. The cycleways in the city are lovely but they’re only part of the picture — most people have to get there first. Maybe we’ll get there after NSW Labor gets its act together. Or something.