Pedaling Progress: The Dutch Queen Juliana Riding a Bike, 1967
The pursuit of national happiness on two wheels.
By Maria Popova
In researching last week’s piece on how the Dutch got their bike paths, I came across this fantastic archival photograph from The Netherlands’ Nationaal Archief, depicting the Dutch queen Juliana riding a bicycle during her 1967 visit to the island Terschelling.
Not only is she most certainly not cultivating bicycle face, she is in fact cultivating a national culture of cycling by bestowing upon it the highest degree of institutional approval — something that remains a pipe dream in America half a century later.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, if a computer is like a bicycle for the mind, a bicycle is like a computer for society — a force of empowerment, a canvas for creativity, a sandbox for design innovation, an agent of cultural change. If only our present-day political leaders would see it that way.
Published January 19, 2012