Our editor Kinna McInroe visited the Netherlands in 2012. For the Dutch website Freedutch.nl she wrote this blog about cycling in the Netherlands.
I did it! I am now riding a bike all over this city. I have to say, that at first, it was very intimidating to join the Dutch cyclists.
No matter how cold, hot, rainy, snowy or shitty it is outside, the Dutch still cycle. From 5 years old to 90 from skinny to fat from the rich to the poor, they all ride bikes. Its an entire nation of Lance Armstrongs. If you dont pay attention or cycle quickly, a granny is liable to run you over.
There are laws, unspoken rules and biking etiquette that you must adhere to or be prepared to hear about it, but since I dont speak Dutch, it is lost on me. I cant help but smile as I ride my bike. Probably because my face is frozen that way from the cold.
I feel as if Im flying through the air. Its actually quite exhilarating and I feel like a child again. I havent really ridden a bike since my childhood, except for a couple of years ago when I rented a cruiser at the beach for a couple of hours and rode on a bike path. Here you are on the streets with traffic and pedestrians and you have to pay attention.
The Dutch are stealthy, fast and sneaky. They are like Hybrids. They cycle without sound. You dont even know that one is approaching until they have already half passed you when they finally decide to honk and scare the crap out of you and then you end up falling off your bike.
My boyfriend, Jo, says its very obvious that Im not an experienced biker and I wonder what gives it away. Is it that every time I brake I scream, “Woa”? Or is it that I say to every cyclist that passes me, “Hi, look at me Im cycling”? One thing I love to do is sing at the top of my lungs as I bike. Queens song Bicycle is usually the song of choice.
No one over here cycles with a helmet or pads. I keep threatening to, but Jo says I may look like Im a little challenged if I do that. And I say, “I am a little challenged.”
In closing, Ive come to the conclusion that the Dutch must have crotches made of steel because Ive never been so sore in all my life.
Photo credit: Vitold Muratov