Typical Dutch: Born on a bike

In the rain, in the snow, at 6am when going home tipsy...
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek

I knew how to ride a bike before moving to the Netherlands. But it is clear to me now that I had not had the full 100% cycling experience before I came here. So now I try to learn from the Dutch, who act as if they were born on a bike.

In the rain, in the snow, after snow when it is slippery, at 6am to go to work, at 6am when going home tipsy. The cycling capabilities of the Dutch are just unbelievable. With two full bags from the supermarket, and one from the flower shop, carrying the youngest child in front and the oldest behind, or carrying a friend on the back of the bike; they can bike under any circumstances. Calling or texting, drinking or snacking – there are no barriers for them.

 The cycling capabilities of the Dutch are just unbelievable 

I was surprised to see this, and my family and friends have the same experience when they come to visit me. I also enjoy (in retrospect) sharing with them all the crazy falls I have had due to my bike tyre getting stuck in a tramline, and my bike crashes because I didn’t indicate with my hand that I would turn left. Let’s say it’s a learning process. And I am improving. I can even bike ‘without hands’ now!

Irini Pegiou, a PhD candidate at Plant Physiology, from Greece

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.

NL: Fietshelden

Met drie volle tassen, één kind voor en eentje achter. Door de sneeuw, al append, drinkend of etend. Om 6 uur ’s ochtend onderweg naar het werk of om 6 uur ’s ochtends teut onderweg naar huis. Irini Pegiou uit Griekenland ziet Nederlanders behendig fietsen onder alle denkbare omstandigheden. ‘Ze gedragen zich alsof ze op een fiets geboren zijn.’ Zelf viel ze nog geregeld om, in haar eerste maanden in Nederland. Maar ze gaat vooruit. ‘Ik kan nu al “zonder handen” fietsen!’

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