The Dutch Guide to Cycling

Your alternative guide to cycling in the Netherlands…

“There is no happier cyclist than a Dutch cyclist” ( 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?

© niputaidea / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

© niputaidea / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

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.

Camping with bikes

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.

Bikes at Hilversum Station

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.

Cycling whilst carrying large objects

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.

Hayley x


  1. Love to read this! Although my bike has hand brakes and gears. 🙂 We really take cycling for granted. For us it’s most normal thing in the world. My parents-in-law lived in America for a few years and when my husband went to visit them, he took a bike for a ride. Not one car passed him, they all stayed behind him. He said that it was really weird. Here in the Netherlands, no one has a problem with passing bikers in their car.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heh… a very true list. The ‘using your mobile whilst cycling’ happens a lot but it is a total hazard.It’s a distraction that you cannot have when participating in traffic. I have done it, but I really try to limit it. It creates accidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sums it up perfectly! This list could also basically be called ‘all the reasons I (Sophie) am not a true cyclist/suck at cycling/am terrified of cycling’. When my boyfriend came to visit me in Canada, he laughed out loud at the idea of wearing a helmet and flat out refused to wear one on our ride through the hilly coast of Victoria until I informed him that he was LEGALLY BOUND to 😛

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Uri, I’m afraid I can’t be of much help here as I’ve never been on an organised cycling tour! I’m married to a Dutchman, so I have an permanent tour guide 😉

        I’ve never been on this tour, but I have seen them rock up at Brouwerij ‘t IJ (a brewery in Amsterdam set next to a windmill) a couple of times:
        Maybe that’s of some use?

        Veel plezier in Nederland! 😀


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