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