One-Handed Bicycling in Amsterdam.

With the amazing shake-reduction technology of the iPhone, bicycling through Amsterdam looks like a smooth experience, even on cobblestone streets, and even bicycling one-handed.

Locals see you coming on a bright yellow rental bike with a phone in one hand, and they seem to assume they can just cut right in front of you. Or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I didn’t mind, I just pedaled right around them each time.

There’s something about being on a bicycle in Amsterdam that immediately transforms one’s experience of the city. You join a group of people you weren’t wholly aware existed, the locals.

In most American cities, there’s only two modes of transportation – driving or walking. Being on a bicycle in the U.S. is either seen as a hobby or a sign that you’re too poor to afford a car. In Amsterdam, people from all walks of life use bicycles for transportation. You might see a guy in a very well tailored suit or a woman in heels and leather jacket. Many of them. When you slip into the moving jet stream of Amsterdam bicycle traffic, you’re aware of how bicycling really shrinks the city. What used to take hours to walk, producing sore feet, now takes minutes. The whole city is below sea level, so there’s never any hills, either up or down, making bicycling very easy.

Most of my days there were spent biking aimlessly, as fast as I could, going with the flow wherever it led me. Stopping was rarely done, even after having to push off on a street cleaner using the hand holding the iPhone. Unless of course they were raising a drawbridge.