Planning a cycling holiday in Holland? Here's a few local cycling secrets you may wish to avoid
Do as the locals do and experience the Dutch countryside by bike. Image courtesy NBTC
According to the European Cyclists’ Federation’s Cycling Barometer,
The Netherlands continues to be one of the most cycle friendly countries in Europe.
While the Netherlands dropped from its shared top spot in 2013 to second place in 2015, there is no doubt that the Dutch are perhaps the best when it comes to catering for the needs of its two wheeled citizens better than top placed Denmark.
With the multitude of bike paths and cycle friendly laws it is no wonder that Dutch people favour non motorised two wheeled movement over nearly every other type of transport - they even have their own Dutch Cycling Embassy
Like any advancements in society along with it come some unhealthy habits, and below are some habits that may work fine for the Dutch but the rest of us mere mortal riders should best avoid.
The Senz Umbrella
Cycling with an Umbrella
Come rain or shine, the Dutch are always cycling, thus they very often carry a small umbrella with them.
Umbrellas are lighter and take up less space than a raincoat, according to many a Dutchman, hence their preference to for riding with an umbrella. They’re used to balancing the umbrella in the wind with one hand and balancing their bike with the other. They even invented a special umbrella that’s easier to balance in the wind titled the Storm Umbrella.
For your next Dutch cycling trip though it may be wiser to stick with a raincoat.
While the locals maybe doing it, we don't recommend texting and cycling
Cycling with your mobile phone
Just because they prefer riding over driving doesn’t mean that Dutch cyclists aren’t also in a hurry during the working week.
Just like you shouldn’t be on your phone when driving, it’s perhaps wise not to do it while cycling either. This doesn’t stop the experienced Dutch cyclist however who plan their meetings, send text messages and enjoy long conversations on their phone while cycling.
While cycling they communicate the latest meeting point on their mobile phone. Activities most people prefer to do with full attention, they do on their bicycles: picking up the phone, having long phone conversations and writing text messages. This is only for a confident Dutch cyclist though!
Bakfiet, the Dutch cargo bike
Cycling with the family – on the same bike
It’s not just a sight you might see in Asia. Busy Dutch mums are not deterred from shopping, dropping the kids off at swim class and catching up for coffee with friends just because they only have a bike.
Thanks to specially fitted children’s seats, or for larger families a bakfiet,
Dutch families can all ride together.
Tip for the non Dutch: if you’re taking the family on a cycling trip in Holland
, talk to us about our trailer and child bikes solutions.
Perhaps don't try carrying beer on the back of your bike like these guys
Baskets & Backseats
It is healthy that so many Dutch people don’t see using a bike as an obstacle. But for the inexperienced you should avoid being so top heavy.
Students doing their groceries, for example, don’t shell out for a taxi or borrow a car, or even order their grocery shopping online just because they only have a bicycle. They just put their many shopping bags packed with bottled wine, pasta, cheese, and bread on their steer, and some even place a crate of beer on their backseat to make getting home more quick and efficient.
The Dutch like to lock both the front and read wheel, just to be sure
It’s basic knowledge for anyone with a bike of any value - lock your bicycle when parked.
For many Dutch, a simple ring lock won’t suffice and more ammunition is required to protect their number one mode of movement.
The typical Dutch advice is to use a chain lock to secure your front wheel to a tree, streetlight or traffic sign and then use an extra U-lock for your rear wheel to guarantee optimum safety. It’s not uncommon for the bike locks to be worth more than the actual bicycle itself!
On our trips there are many secure places to lock your bikes so you don't need to go to such much trouble.
If you want to witness these typical Dutch cycling habits we offer several guided cycling holidays in Holland suitable for all fitness levels.
This list was compiled by our very own Dutch cycling expert, Els van Veelan.