Synopses & Reviews
When Pete Jordan arrives in Amsterdam to study how to make America's cities more bicycle-friendly, he immediately falls in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels. His new bride, Amy Joy, joins Pete, and despite their financial hardships and instability, she eventually finds her own new calling as a bicycle mechanic as Pete discovers the untold history of cycling in Amsterdam.
From its beginnings as an elitist pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze of the 1920s, from the bicycle's role in a citywide resistance to the Nazi occupation to the White Bikes of the 1960s and the bike fishermen of today, Jordan chronicles the evolution of Amsterdam's cycling.
Part personal memoir, part history of cycling, part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam, In the City of Bikes is the story of a man who loves bikes — in a city that loves bikes.
“[W]hat could have been a straightforward history [is] something more special: history that doesn't feel like history — just an enjoyable story from start to finish….An excellent choice for bikers and those who appreciate how a city's history can be changed by the simplest of passions.” Kirkus Reviews
“Jordan brings depth and color to a niche subject, delivering an engaging cultural history. By the end, readers will understand that the bike is to Amsterdam what the car is to America. Both are more than modes of transportation: they're a substantial part of their riders identities.” Publishers Weekly
“A funny, engaging, and exhaustively researched tribute to Amsterdams unique biking history….Jordan is an honest, self-effacing narrator, and theres much thats lovably comic about his inauguration into Amsterdam cyclo-culture.” < i=""> Los Angeles Times <>
“A charming and quirky book....Jordans portrait of bicycle culture in Amsterdam gives a fascinating account of a viable alternative to dependence on cars.” < i=""> Christian Science Monitor <>
“This highly readable book illuminates the bicycles integral role in shaping both the psyche and the actual city of Amsterdam.” < i=""> Houston Chronicle <>
“For anyone contemplating visiting or living in The Netherlands, In the City of Bikes is a must read.” < i=""> New York Journal of Books <>
“Full of personal anecdote, self-deprecating humor, local lore and a history of cycling that positively bursts with enthusiasm, In the City of Bikes is both a memoir and an ode to bicycles < i=""> Shelf Awareness <>
Pete Jordan, author of the wildly popular Dishwasher: One Mans Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States
, is back with a memoir that tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city's cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world today.
Pete never planned to stay long in Amsterdam, just a semester. But he quickly falls in love with the city and soon his wife, Amy Joy, joins him. Together they explore every inch of their new home on two wheels, their rides a respite from the struggles that come with starting a new life in a new country.
Weaving together personal anecdotes and details of the role that cycling has played throughout Dutch history, Pete Jordans In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist is a poignant and entertaining read.
About the Author
Pete Jordan chronicled his adventures as a dishwasher on NPR's This American Life and in his underground zine Dishwasher, which amassed a following of nearly 10,000 readers. He moved to Amsterdam with his wife in 2002 and began a new life as a bicycle mechanic and writer.