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Rest Day

Doom Metal, Amsterdam and GPP

I arrived from a week long holiday in Holland yesterday.  Myself and a few friends went to Tilburg for 3 days of Doom Metal at the Roadburn Music Festival before I split off from them for a couple days in Amsterdam.  I figured if I was going all the way to the Netherlands I might as well see more than metal heads and camp grounds.  Amsterdam proved to be a wonderful city (Once you figured out where all the tourists go and how to avoid them). The city offers incredible architecture at every turn, boatloads of art galleries, miles upon miles of scenic walking and plenty of delicious cuisine.  However the part of the city that made me most envious was the bike culture.  I was completely in awe of how well the city supported over 600,000 bikes and how the people embraced 2 wheel transport as their primary means of getting around.  Class, sex and age didn't matter, the streets were constantly alive with cyclists.  There were many extended moments where I would revel in the endless stream of bikes and their eclectic drivers.  It occurred to me that these people depended on bikes to get around and therefore depended on having some reasonable General Physical Preparedness at all times through all life stages. "GPP" as it's known is what CrossFit attempts to optimize, it is essentially another way of describing your general work capacity.  While riding a bike for transport isn't the most taxing thing you could do physically, it does require some balance, dexterity, stamina and endurance.  How do you think your parents or grandparents would fare riding a bike through busy city streets? Probably not as well as some of the elder Dutch who do it on a daily basis.  It's really a perfect storm of a city design that makes cycling practical, a government who has gone above and beyond to support riders and a culture that embraces the bike as the only logical source of transportation. 

How do you think city planning and transportation affect health?  What have been your experiences in NY and elswhere?  Share thoughts to comments.
Designing Healthy Cities, Preview PBS

Reader Comments (9)

For nice years in Gainesville, FL I used a skateboard, a bike and my feet to get around for the most part. It was a small town so almost everything you would want to go to was in biking distance-- but everything revolved around the school. That posed it's own urban design problems since it was a huge, square campus and the 4 sides developed very differently.

I had a motorbike during my last year there, but never brought it up to NYC because it seemed way too dangerous to ride it in the city (the city meant 'Manhattan' for my first 5 years here), but I've always applied that same attitude to bicycles. Now that they have bike lanes it doesn't seem that much safer to me and would never commute to work that way, but I may get something to ride around the hood and get around the park on.

David: during WWII the Germans confiscated all the bikes and apparently during soccer games the Dutch will still chant "give us back our bikes" to get the patriotic/team spirit going. The bicycle's importance is nothing new there.

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterRob Is

Notice how no one wears helmets there.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSameer

west oakland!

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSameer

can't stop, won't stop with the crock pot.

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs - up at The Daily Paleo.


April 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele


I'll be back treating athletes from 9am-11am tom morning. Come see me if you have issues with your tissues.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason Fidler

Strength A

WU 45x5 95x5 135x5 165x3
3x5 @ 200 woot!

WU 45x5 65x5
3x5 @ 85

WU with the bar + 75x3
3x3 @ 85 form is still wonky on these

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCorbett

Did you smoke a lot of pot? That's my favorite thing about Amsterdam...

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan B

Oh do they have that there?.. I must not have noticed..... .

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Someone say Doom?

h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqcn_TPu4qQ

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith W.

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