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In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist

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Overview

When Pete Jordan arrives in Amsterdam to study how to make America's cities more bicycle-friendly, he immediately falls in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels. His new bride, Amy Joy, joins Pete, and despite their financial hardships and instability, she eventually finds her own new calling as a bicycle mechanic as Pete discovers the untold history of cycling in Amsterdam.

From its beginnings as an elitis t pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze ...

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In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist

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Overview

When Pete Jordan arrives in Amsterdam to study how to make America's cities more bicycle-friendly, he immediately falls in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels. His new bride, Amy Joy, joins Pete, and despite their financial hardships and instability, she eventually finds her own new calling as a bicycle mechanic as Pete discovers the untold history of cycling in Amsterdam.

From its beginnings as an elitis t pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze of the 1920s, from the bicycle's role in a citywide resistance to the Nazi occupation to the White Bikes of the 1960s and the bike fishermen of today, Jordan chronicles the evolution of Amsterdam's cycling.

Part personal memoir, part history of cycling, part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam, In the City of Bikes is the story of a man who loves bikes—in a city that loves bikes.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
“A funny, engaging, and exhaustively researched tribute to Amsterdam’s unique biking history….Jordan is an honest, self-effacing narrator, and there’s much that’s lovably comic about his inauguration into Amsterdam cyclo-culture.”
Christian Science Monitor
“A charming and quirky book....Jordan’s portrait of bicycle culture in Amsterdam gives a fascinating account of a viable alternative to dependence on cars.”
Houston Chronicle
“This highly readable book illuminates the bicycle’s integral role in shaping both the psyche and the actual city of Amsterdam.”
New York Journal of Books
“For anyone contemplating visiting or living in The Netherlands, In the City of Bikes is a must read.”
Shelf Awareness
“Full of personal anecdote, self-deprecating humor, local lore and a history of cycling that positively bursts with enthusiasm, In the City of Bikes is both a memoir and an ode to bicycles
Library Journal
Aspiring city planner and memoirist Jordan (Dishwasher) arrived for a semester in Amsterdam in order to find ways to make the United States more bicycle friendly, but a few weeks in the bike-crazy city convinced him to stay forever. The resulting memoir is as much a love letter to Amsterdam as a chronicle of family life on two wheels. Replete with historical detail and quirky anecdotes (bike fishing is not what you think), this tale of bicycle mania provides compelling evidence that, with some effort, we can lead the lives we’d like to. VERDICT This thoroughly researched and entertaining narrative of one family’s passion for pedaling places may encourage readers in search of a greener way to live.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A history of bicycles and cycling in Amsterdam. Jordan (Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States, 2007) begins with his move to Amsterdam, which he undertook in order to study urban planning as it pertains to cycling. Continually fascinated by the overwhelming number of people riding bicycles through the streets, Jordan eventually began to chronicle the city's history of cycling. Pulling together information from guidebooks, newspaper accounts and other sources, the author pieces together a thorough history, from the introduction of bicycles in the 1890s to the present. Jordan clearly loves bikes and everything associated with cycling culture, which produces some truly laugh-out-loud moments, particularly as he embraces both the ridiculous and the commonplace. The author doesn't ignore less-glamorous storylines--e.g., the general nonchalance of cyclists toward traffic laws or the fact that bike regulations sparked more public outcry than anti-Jewish policies during the Nazi occupation. The chapter dealing with the Nazi occupation is particularly interesting. Jordan mentions Anne Frank but spends the bulk of the section detailing how citizens were affected by German policies targeting bikes and cyclists. While this is no memoir, Jordan includes his own personal interactions with cycling in the city, which makes what could have been a straightforward history into something more special: history that doesn't feel like history--just an enjoyable story from start to finish. An excellent choice for bikers and those who appreciate how a city's history can be changed by the simplest of passions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061995200
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Series: P.S.
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 272,699
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Jordan is the author of the memoir Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States. Pete's work has been featured on public radio's This American Life and in the New York Times. He lives in Amsterdam.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    Good read for bike enthusiasts

    Fun history of bikes in Holland. Includes German occupation, compares attitubes between cars and bikes in US vs Holland and other fun facts.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Bikes galore

    Interesting history of bicycling in Amsterdam. Entertaining as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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