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Everyone wonders why biking in Holland is so popular! Bikes here bikes there, such is the bike obsession of this healthy nation is that literally the number of bikes in the country is twice as many as the population of this flat country!
We are living here for over 13 years, and I have observed that bikers are the spoiled children of the Netherlands! They have to be! Dedicated network of red-carpet bike roads is such that on bike you can travel whole country without a hassle! Roads may be one way for motor vehicles but bikers are free to flow in either direction. When you travel on bike you don’t need to worry for the parking, of course. And with this small country area-wise and custom-made small cities you would just love to travel on your bike! Car is simply not required!
The infrastructure is tuned to bikers; many roads have separate cycling lanes for use by cyclists. Cyclists also have their own traffic lights. Cycle paths allow you to reach places you simply can’t get to by car.
Being on a bike comes really handy in Dutch cities and in the country side as well.
‘’Did you know: The Dutch make five billion bicycle trips each year, covering 17.6 billion km; or 1,000 km per person.” Bikes are healthy for the people, friendly to the environment. More and more car parking spaces are being converted to bike parking.
Cycling in the City vs. the Countryside
Cycling in a major city like The Hague is quite tough at first. You have to keep your eyes and ears open, contending with cars, trams, other cyclists, pedestrians etc. The impression you get of cycling in the big city is quite different from what cycling in the Netherlands is really like: outside the city, it is a peaceful, rural and well-organized experience. I myself cycled 26km in the countryside during my Covid 19 Vaccinations, due to which I had to travel to a smaller town outside of Den Haag. It was a charming experience, during which I viewed excellent scenery and wonderful sights. By the way, Dutch people always lock their bikes; in the city preferably with a chain lock to a fixed object (cycle stand, lamp post). It deters bicycle thieves from stealing the bike.
‘In 2019, the average resident of the Netherlands…
Traveled 267 times by bicycle, cycled a total of 1,098 kilometers, Spent nearly 99 hours in the saddle, Made 0.8 bicycle journeys per day, cycled a total of 3.0 kilometers per day’
Cycling for Everyone
Anyone in good general health can get on a bike in the Netherlands. You won’t need a cutting edge, new bike in this flat country. An ordinary everyday bike will do you just fine. Mountain bikes are mostly used on rough terrain while racing bikes are suitable for cycling on asphalt. Helmets are not compulsory here. Racing cyclists, mountain bikers and children who wear helmets do so of their own (or their parents) choice.
Children will absolutely love exploring the Netherlands by bike. Distances are short, there is a lot to see and do along the way and following the route signs is fun. The children will show you the way!
The Netherlands has a mild maritime climate. Precipitation occurs on average 7% of the time, spread over the year, including nights. So even though the ‘wet climate’ isn’t too much of a problem, make sure to always carry rain protection gear. Hilly places have the highest rainfall because the clouds tend to hang over these places. In open it can get pretty windy. Check the weather forecast before setting out and plan your trip accordingly so you enjoy a tailwind instead of having to battle a headwind.
All in all, the Netherlands, Western Europe’s arguably the flattest country, is naturally famous for being a great cycling nation. Nowhere else is biking this incorporated in daily life. Locally it is said that when a child is born the family buys a bike for him, the size of the bike grow with the child. Being living in the Netherlands for over 15 years, it’s a common site where a whole family is seen going to shop or picnic together, each member on their own bike.
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