So, obviously, the photo above here isn’t me, nor is it my bike. But just to show you the coolitude of biking in Amsterdam, you needed to see at least one real Dutch girl on a real Dutch bike.

Because you’re constantly passing cool girls on bikes in Amsterdam. It’s simple, I asked around. It’s that no one knows anyone who doesn’t have a bike. Whoa, that’s a tough one. I’ll try again: everyone has a bike.

“It’s so great. You all have rock hard thighs,” I said. I’m so perceptive.

“It’s not that,” Ramona said. “Our legs don’t get anything from biking now. They’re too used to it.”

Aha. It’s still not fair.

Ramona was my guardian angel during these few wonderful days in Amsterdam. She was the one who glued me to my bike for the first half hour. She was also the one that taught me these :

– When you park your bike in the middle of the 350 other bikes all clustered together in each spot, if you knock them all over, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. It’s the owners’ fault who poorly parked them. “Even if you make ALL of them fall, Ramona?” “Yes, Garance. As long as yours is standing tall, you can leave with your head up. No one will say a thing.” Duly noted. And more than once.

– You can do everything on your bike… Talk on the phone, Google a restaurant, eat a sandwich, hold an umbrella in the rain (EVERYONE does that. It’s impressive.), CHANGE YOUR SHOES WHILE PEDDLING, TAKE A NAP. You can even do some streetstyle on them. The proof is right above with Elza. When we found her, we were riding our bikes. We followed her for a bit, like true crazies on bikes.

– You have to give a name to your bike. It’s essential and that’s just how it is. When I asked what Ramona had named hers, she couldn’t tell me. But I really wanted to believe this whole name thing… like really… Check out this photo below and you’ll see, see what I’m saying?

There he was, lost in a sea of others. When I saw him, I knew he was mine. My bike, my ally, my companion. I couldn’t not give him a name.

Chuck Bass. Yep. What better name could define the mix of purebred elegance and risqué style? Because I’m telling you, with Chuck Bass, I promise you that no matter where you go, you’ll never go unnoticed. Aaaah, yep, it’s gotta be the stretch limo.

Yours truly looking ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS with my little red and white sign that said, “Hey there, I’m a tourist. So whenever you feel like cutting me off and being all pissy and irritated, go right ahead my dear ladies and gentlemen of Amsterdam.”

Oh who cares? It’s Chuck Bass and me, and I love him. And then this morning, looking at him for one last time before taking my train, I felt a little tear drop down my cheek. He didn’t even move.

These bikes, they’re such bastards.

Translation : Tim Sullivan