Just back from a speaking engagement in Amsterdam — what a marvelous city, in every sense of the word. I marveled mostly at the spectacle of thousands of people on bikes whizzing around the streets. And I mean whizzing. Amsterdammers ride really fast, even the oldest men, even the mothers with three kids in the rickshaw-like bikes, no helmets. Add in streetcars, motorcycles, canals, and blissed-out tourists for obstacles, and you’ve got what amounts to a high-speed ballet.
Speaking of ballet: at the conference I was attending, I got the opportunity to drive a Segway for the first time. I hopped on (how hard could this be?) and promptly drove it straight toward a murky canal. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn thing, and the canal kept looming closer and closer. Fortunately, several quick-thinking Dutch people (employing bike-honed danger-reflexes, no doubt), headed me off, preventing any impromptu swims. Ah, talent!