Your alternative guide to cycling in the Netherlands…
“There is no happier cyclist than a Dutch cyclist” (CyclinginHolland.com) but why is this? The flat land? The most extensive cycle network in the world? Priority over motorised vehicles? Who knows for sure… but the Dutch bloody love their two-wheeled best friends.
So, what does it take to be a Dutch cyclist?
1. Your bike has no gears and a foot brake.
2. You lock it with a strange ring contraption – a “ringslot”, which no one else has ever heard of.
3. Your bike is named after a granny.
4. You scoff at the mere thought of wearing a helmet! How ridiculous!
5. You take your bike on holiday with you. And if you can’t… you hire one instead.
6. If you are in possession of children, you buy a bike with a wheelbarrow on the front to transport them to school.
7. You can carry multiple children.
8. Or a fully grown adult on the parcel shelf.
9. There are more bikes than people in your household.
10. Ladies: You have adorned your bike with a basket, flowers, a colourful paint job… or all three.
11. In order to prevent theft – your bike is a rust bucket with a permanent squeak.
12. You park it next to a nicer bike in the hope that it won’t get stolen.
13. You can ride whilst rolling a joint.
14. Or carrying a case of beer.
15. Or a printer.
16. In fact, your ability to ride when stoned, inebriated, or both means you can cycle to the kroeg (pub) or to parties!
17. You can have a completely normal conversation on your mobile phone without wobbling, swearing or falling off.
18. Hell, you can ride with no hands.
19. You are a champion, superhuman bike rider.
20. You are Dutch.