Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What is a Dutch bike?

When living in US, a colleague used to bike back and forth to office every day. His home is 11 miles away, and he has a nice racing bike, and a full set of equipment for biking: helmet, speed indicator, shoes. Everyday seeing him coming and leaving the office, I all the time felt impressed. He bikes along the highway.

Recently I met a lady in her 30s, told me that she bikes everyday 20 kilometer to her office! It took her around 45 minutes one way. I am sure she doesn't use helmet, not even a racing bike. She said she had a strong bike and strong legs, that way she doesn't need to do any other sports at all. Since she already bikes 200 kilometers every week.

I like the idea of biking in the Netherlands. A big advantage of this country is that, since most of the land were reclaimed from water, the ground is rather flat. It is good for biking because there is not much uphill or downhills. However, the wind in the winter time can be rather harsh that you still need bike with gears to bike in the wind. We like this country that save so much energy in daily commute. Come and see, you will be surprised to find out that kids start biking alone maybe from 3 or 4 years old.

Here a good bike has nothing to do with mountain bikes. A good bike always relates to strong frames with back seats to carry load, normal width wheel for city biking, possibilities to add one, two or three small seats for kids in one bike. The chain is always covered, and wheels with mud-guard secured for rainy days. In US we used to have strips to bind the bottom of the right leg pant so that you clothes won't got winded into the chains. I have never seen another single person doing the same as I do. Also, there is few people using helmet. Only those people who bikes as exercise sometimes use helmets.

Another interesting attachment to the bike is its lights, front and back. It is automatically generated by your biking, through letting a motor touching the inner side of the bike frame. It generates the light as you bike, and stops lighting as you stop. To carrying load, the backwheel of the bike are most of the time covered with bags on two sides. It is enough to carry home enough supplies for two three days. Here you shop a lot more often since your home frig is smaller, faster since the stores are closer, and greener since you bike.

3 comments:

Brenda said...

This is just to let you know that I'll be posting a link on my blog to this post. I think you did a great job in describing what biking is like here. So thanks.

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