Like Riding a Bike – The Amsterdam Way of Life

Over recent years, Amsterdam has proved one of Europe’s most popular short break destinations, and the perfect place to go for a relaxing escape from the tension and stress of city life. And yet, Amsterdam itself is a major city – so what makes it different from other European metropolises? Quite simply, it’s the relaxed approach to life that separates Amsterdam from other European capitals, and what makes Amsterdam the perfect place to go to get away.

This way of life is perhaps symbolised best in Amsterdam’s preferred form of travel: the bicycle. There are apparently more than a million bikes in Amsterdam, and when you consider that the population of the city is estimated at around about the same number, you begin to realise that the natives of the city are serious about being seriously easy-going! And yes, it may require more energy and take more time than driving or taking the tube – but when you’ve got all the time in the world, you can afford to take it!

As well as symbolising the relaxed attitude to city life, bikes also provide one of the best ways to enjoy this beautiful and artistic city. There are a number of stunning, bike-friendly parks and squares dotted through the city, including the famous Dam Square, the tranquil home of the Dutch Royal Palace, and the Vondelpark, which is perfectly situated near three major museums; the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk, and the ever-popular Van Gogh Museum.

As relaxing as a stress-free Amsterdam-style bike ride may be, a boat ride around Amsterdam’s famous canal system (which gives Amsterdam the deserved nickname of Venice of the North) is another great way to experience the beauty of the city – in particular the stunning 17th century architecture that lines the canal in the centre of the city. A boat ride also offers the chance to see some of the more modern examples of the Amsterdam school of architecture, in particular buildings such as Renzo Piano’s NEMO building, while Amsterdam’s centre of science, which is in the shape of a ship’s bow is an allusion to the Dutch Golden Age when Amsterdam’s was one of the most important ports in the world.

As well as being a great city to tour by bike or boat, Amsterdam is a great place to just walk around and soak in the culture, whether it’s wondering the famously friendly Red Light District or relaxing in one of the cities many relaxed, chilled-out coffee shops. Also, as is fitting for a capital city, Amsterdam is also home to fantastic museums, art galleries and venues that promote the history and culture of one of Europe’s most popular and friendly cities. There are also a wide array of fantastic restaurants and hotels in Amsterdam to suit every taste and budget.

So if you’re in need of a break, there’s no better place to visit than Amsterdam, where life’s as easy as riding a bike – and just as unforgettable!

4 Ways to Ensure You Get the Right Courier Van Insurance

Finding the right courier van insurance is relatively simple if you use the internet to your advantage. Gone are the days of walking down the high street to go from door to door to find which high street insurance company is offering the best deals.

Now search engines have taken over, with a simple search online you can find the right courier van insurance policy for your needs. Just fill out the application form and send it off and with hours you will find quotes in your mailbox.

Here are a few key points that you need to consider when finding the right insurance for your courier business:

  1. Ensure you buy the right insurance for your business. As courier bike insurance is very different from bike insurance even though you are using the same bike the coverage you require will not be the same.
  2. If you are carrying goods on behalf of your clients then you will need goods in transit insurance included with the policy. Having this insurance will ensure you are covered but there will be a financial limit to these goods and certain restrictions on what you can carry.
  3. Obtain more than one quote before picking your courier van insurance policy. By comparing the quotes you will see which insurers will give what type of coverage and of course the premiums involved. By using an online courier van insurance broker you can save time and money as they will do the work for you and find the best quote to suit your needs. Comparison websites will do same thing as brokers and are an ideal tool to search websites too.
  4. Understand the level of insurance in your policy. Minimum level is third party and this will be the cheapest level of insurance but this will not cover your van if you have caused the accident. The next level is Third party fire and theft which is basically the same as third party but covers fire damage as well. Finally you can get comprehensive insurance which covers all of the above and repair of your vehicle if an accident happens.

By using these key points above you will be prepared with the information required to find the right courier van insurance for your business. Just remember to use the search engines to your advantage and carefully compare all quotes for your courier insurance for your van before choosing the right policy for your business.

Bike Week in Daytona – The Biker’s First Sign of Spring

To the Harley rider, or to any stouthearted motorcyclist regardless of affiliation, it’s the first official sign of Spring.

No, it is not the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher flying north to summer nesting grounds from it’s yearly respite in Mexico. Nor is it the Canadian Snow Bird, holstering the sandwedge for the last time and steering the big Buick across the bridge at Sanibel for that long trek home to Quebec.

To the snow weary two wheeler, the surest sign that Spring is just around the corner is the sight of fellow bikers flocking south. South from the frozen flatness of the Great Midwest. South from the dreary gray of the cold North East. From all points of the compass they are drawn like magnets down interstates I-75 and I-95 and I-Whatever. As bugs to a light they are heading for Daytona Beach and Bike Week.

The yearly pilgrimage that makes these cc riders as giddy as young children on Christmas morning all began back in 1937 and it continues today. In almost seventy five years it has paused only for WWII.

In those early days, in the 30s and 40s, it was a great place to watch motorcycles race along the packed sand in the Daytona 200, affectionately dubbed, the ‘Handlebar Derby’.

With the release of “The Wild One” in 1953, it was a great place to watch Marlon Brando wannabes roaring up and down Main Street on black Triumph Thunderbirds. Posing cooly in black leather jackets and rolled up blue jeans. Smoldering cigarettes dangling from their curled and defiant lips.

When the herd of wannabes was thinned of it’s weekend warriors, the motorcycle gangs of the 60s and 70s were begot and Bike Week then became a great place to get your ass kicked.

It is still, no doubt, a celebration of chrome, leather and testosterone, but it has also toned down a bit from those heady days of yesteryear. Some would say a bit too much.

Along with baseball players on steroids and pop singers on autotune, our current culture has produced a new breed of ‘biker’ who more accurately resembles a Trick or Treater gone wild.

Like men cooking before an open fire, the veneer of danger here can be a thin one. For many, the greatest peril they’ll face is when they return home. Trading the chardonnay for PBRs is a small cross to bear. Canceling an appointment with the hair stylist and setting the beard trimmer to 3 is a piece of cake. But referring to ones spouse as “my old lady” for an entire week carries a hefty price tag.

For me though, the saddest part is that the actual migration itself has changed.

I have been traveling up and down both I-75 and I-95 through Georgia and Florida for more years than I care to remember. At all times of the year. I have personally witnessed this yearly ritual from eye level. Unfortunately over time, I have also witnessed the sad regression of the once proud road warrior to the dubious station of mere passenger.

Once was the time when you were stirred from the mind numbing trance that is interstate travel by a low rumble coming from somewhere unknown. A sound you couldn’t quite identify. And then… before you could make any sense of it, a roaring, thundering pack of chrome and rubber, straddled by wild and dangerous looking men and women would engulf your car. A vision to remember and an unexpected thrill to race the adrenalin. Sure to keep you awake and between the lines for at least another seventy five miles.

And it was worth the the years it took from your life. That sudden jolt of reality. That glorious pageant of Americana.

Sadly those sightings have all but disappeared, and non de-script trailers pulled behind expensive and unsoiled pickup trucks, travel vans and shiny motor homes have taken their place. The only clue as to their contents is the occasional Harley sticker on back of a clean and carefully sealed trailer. No flashes of chrome. No vests embroidered with club emblems. If anyone is flying their colors, it’s out of sight and behind shatter proof glass. Gone is the noble roar of the big bikes. Just more vehicles joining in the flow and adding to the hypnotic hum of the highway.

There is even a bumper sticker that says

“I just got back from Trailer Week in Daytona”

So imagine my delight as I drove south along I-75 last week. I pulled off into a rest stop just north of Atlanta, and there they were. Like candy to a child. Row after row of big, beautiful, gleaming motorcycles. A crowd of unkept looking men and women milling about the parking lot and filling the lobby of the rest area completed the tableau. All clad in leather and denim. Bandanas, large leather wallets secured by long chains, oily boots with scuff marks on the toes. Everything old and used. Nothing new and shiny.

These were bikers committed to the act. Bikers who actually rode their motorcycles to Bike Week. All the way from the upper midwest. The entire route to Florida in the last week of February.

Who knows? There was probably a support van accompanying them. I don’t want to know. There may have even been an accountant or a lawyer in the bunch. For all I know they were all wearing clean shorts.

But they were riding their bikes. Not a trailer to be seen.

God bless them one and all.

I never would have believed that my faith in mankind would be renewed by a loud and scruffy bunch of bikers.