An American Couple in Delft
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Power Cycling

This afternoon we went to Rotterdam which is a 15 minute train ride away. We’ve gone there before occasionally to shop, to a book fair, or the change trains to somewhere else. It’s nice there but if a visitor came, I don’t know what I would recommend to see. Rotterdam was severely damaged during World War II and is much newer than other Dutch cities. It is, I suppose, unremarkable like, say, Kansas City. I have passed through Kansas City twice which is my authority for saying that and my apologies to anyone I’ve offended who just loves that terrific mid-west burg. Go Chiefs.

So today we were wandering around Rotterdam when we saw a vehicle approaching us from down the street. It appeared to be a truck with a lot of people hanging on to the sides making a lot of noise by singing very out of tune. When it got closer we saw that it was not exactly a truck. This will be hard to describe. Imagine you’re at a bar where the bartender is in the middle between two rows of counters with stools. Both rows have five or six seats and at the end is a big keg of beer. So far so good. Now imagine that this whole thing is mounted on a frame with wheels and that ten of the people sitting around the bar have bicycle pedals at their feet while sitting on the stools. These are not ornamental; that’s how this vehicle moves. There’s a guy in the front steering, presumably not drinking beer, and handling the braking function, and the contraption moves on beer power. The people sitting at the bar are facing perpendicular to the direction of the vehicle and the gears and chains are set up so that the energy is transferred to the desired direction.

I’m not making this up. The Dutch word for bicycle is fiets and the word for cafe is cafe. You can now guess what a fietscafe is. (Click the Union Jack for English.)

On the menu at the left, click on "foto’s", then VIP-Fietscafe in the drop-down. Under the picture you’ll see "verder". Click on this to see about four more pictures.

Then on the menu on the left click "Trouwfiets", then click "Laat U trappen" in the drop-down. This is the one we saw. The people on this thing were having a world of fun and getting rid of their calories while consuming them. There is, though, one facility that seemed to be missing.

Excuse me. I gotta go.


2008 Rick Wexler   last updated February 21, 2008