Backie! Amsterdam’s wonderful wheeze to make tourists feel welcome

Amsterdam's backie scheme makes tourists welcomeSure beats a taxi fare
City bike schemes have proved hugely popular around the globe, but now the Dutch have gone one further – inviting tourists to hop on the back of a local’s bike.  Dougal Paver investigates.

Galway this week garnered global publicity after a leading American travel magazine nominated it the world’s friendliest city.  Amsterdam can’t have done its chances in next year’s survey any harm with a cracking wheeze from a local bike hire company.

Yellow Bike is offering local residents free yellow luggage racks (known locally as a ‘backie’) in an effort “to spark some love between Amsterdam and its visitors.”  Spot a citizen pootling along the street with one fitted and all you need do is yell “backie!” at the top of  your voice and you can hop on.  Said citizen will then continue on his or her journey whilst you take in the sights and spark up a conversation.  How good is that?

Billed as couchsurfing for the curious, Yellow Bike says it will help connect locals with tourists and boost cultural interchange whilst improving the welcome for visitors.  And it’s difficult to argue against the idea.

So far 15 bikes have been fitted with the devices, with a target of 200 by the year end.  I doff my cap.

Hat-tip to the wonderful Popup City for bringing this to my attention.