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In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist


Peter Jordan €14.99

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In his new book, In The City Of Bikes, Pete Jordan interweaves his own story of moving to Amsterdam to pursue his love of cycling with a history of cycling in the Dutch capital.

Known for his book Dishwasher and his appearances on the American radio programme, This American Life, Jordan’s book is described as 'part personal memoir, part history of cycling and part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam'.

Moving here initially for a short-term stay, Jordan quickly fell in love with the country’s biking infrastructure and hasn’t left. He told his now-wife that he found the place he wanted to live for the rest of his life and she soon followed him.

Throughout the book, he recreates his personal biking experiences, from being run over while walking in the cycle path to teaching his son to ride in front of their apartment. While doing so, he takes the reader through the journey of the bike in Amsterdam, from luxury good to symbol of Dutch resistance to preferred method of commuting.

Jordan, who initially moved to Amsterdam to study Urban Planning, has a great eye for the details of his surroundings and the book paints a picture of Amsterdam that might otherwise go unnoticed. He describes his fascination with cycling infrastructure as well as the habits of the hardened Dutch cyclist.

Most interesting, however, is the historical research that went into the foundation of the book. Jordan cites primary sources ranging from city planning documents to telegrams sent during World War II. The book is well-researched but presented in a charming and engaging fashion.

His personal journal is also an enjoyable read, offering the highs and lows of his experiences in Amsterdam. His own narrative is cheery at times and self-deprecating at others, offering the reader a balanced view of his life.

The book is filled with funny anecdotes and historical quotations, using a wealth of historical reference material. A great read for native and international alike.

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