Mathijs (pronounced a little like "Mathis") Gajentaan and his wife wanted to see more of the world, so they moved from Amsterdam to Toronto six months ago. He has managed to remain car-free in Canada, "even though that is tough in a country that is so very big and where things are pretty far away from each other," Mathijs says.
Mathijs gets around on an old rusty Raleigh hybrid bicycle, but he plans to buy a new bicycle on the first day of summer, June 21. He started a blog on March 12 -- 101bike.com -- because 101 days from that day will be the day he buys a bike. Over that time, he hopes to learn all he can about bikes, including the right kind of bike for his riding.
I asked Mathijs about some differences between biking in Amsterdam and Toronto. "In Amsterdam there is no uphill or downhill," he says. "Flat as can be. A luxury if you think of it."
Mathjis continues about driving culture: "A big difference is that cars are used to bicycles, so they are alert. In Toronto people still don't expect a bicycle on the left or the right. Also cars in general are bigger here so it makes it for a biker a littler more scary. An important thing is that Amsterdam is very compact and it is easier to take the bike that trying to find parking for your car."
Equipment also differs between the two places. "In Amsterdam no one wears a helmet and kids-seats are really basic. Here it's like you are putting your child in a F1 car. People in Amsterdam really have a bike to commute, so most bikes have racks and fenders and even things on the side to protect long coats."
About blogging and 101bikes.com: "I started 101bike because I have been thinking about getting a bike a long time. I want to - like a lot of other people out there - get more serious about biking, but don't know anything about bikes. I also have an interest in Blogging and Internet, so I thought it would have been a fun combination.
"Also I want to find out how far the web and blogging can take me.
"Another reason I that I would love to a dialogue/conversation being created on my Blog. Thus people reacting to each others comments.
"I also hope to meet people this way and contribute to the content of the Blog which will hopefully progress also."
Mathijs intends to have a theme each week. This week he is investigating helmets and is finding some good resources out there. Go join the conversation. And welcome to the bicycling blogosphere, Mathijs!