Thursday, February 17, 2011

Once I get my license I am never riding a bike again!

Well its been a few days since the last post but that's because life has just taken over!.

This week has been a week for bicycles.

In the Netherlands bicycles are a necessity in everyday life, especially if like me you don't have a car. The guide to cycling in the Netherlands below makes interesting reading.
There are actually more bikes than people in the Netherlands!
Formal dress (a suit and tie, or a smart dress) is no obstacle to cycling. In fact, I actually now cycle to work everyday in my suit and heels, something I didn't do at the beginning. More than half of all bikes always carry more than one person. You will never see one bike helmet, not a one. As my husband told me when we first arrived only foreigners and biker racers wear helmets. Massive bike locks are used which are mostly worth more than the bike they secure. Bikes have all manners of boxes, baskets etc to transport  kids, groceries and dogs around, Dutch pepole use their mobile phones whilst pedalling their bikes, something I haven't quite manged yet.

I had (notice the had) two bicycles. I cycle every morning on my posh bike (bought new and quite expensive) to the train station. I would get on a bus to the town centre of the local town Breda. (it is about a 15km round journey from home via nursery to my work, a bit too long for me at 7am in the morning) There, I had what the dutch call a stadfiets (town bike) This is normally a cheap bike, mine was 50 euros and in fact the chain and baby seat were more expensive than the bike itself. I would get on this, cycle to the nursery, drop my daughter off and cycle back to work. And then do the same in the afternoon.

But now that has all changed, because on Tuesday when I got to the bicycle stands, where my bike was kept, someone had tried to steal the bike and taken the wheel off!!! Yep! I still can't understand how in a culture where bikes are so necessary for everyday transport and life that people can do this!! So RIP Ting Ting (the name my daughter gave to our bike)

So that made me extremly late for work on Tuesday, then to top it all off, I arrived at the station in my home town on Tuesday evening only to find my back tyre completly flat. So I hauled the bike over to the special pump contraption they have at the station and proceeded to try and pump it up. Now I have no idea how these things work! After about a 30 mins workout where nothing seemed to be happening I gave up and walked home pushing my bike. I left it at the repair shop, but it meant I was bikeless for a whole day the next  (The bike actually had a fault with its tyre so that's why I kept getting punctures)

Being without my bike for a whole day, made me realise how necessary it is, I had to walk to the train station, walk to the nursery! walk to the shops after work! and walk to go and pick up the bike later, I realised that now I don't actually walk anywhere anymore.

Still after its second time at the repair shop in one week it still doesn't go fast, so it still must be me and although it is a necssesity in my life, I swear when I have my license I am never cycling again, I have done my Dutchness and thats it!!


  1. I don't blame you for never wanting to cycle again! Denmark is another country with a huge cycling culture. It never ceases to amaze me how some girls can ride whilst wearing heels, smoking a cigarette and talking on a phone..!!!

  2. I know! I can't believe how they do it balancing my handbag on the bars is a feat in itself

  3. I love the picture of the lady cycling with the three toddlers. Fantastic! Scary re no helmets though I suppose people are much better at watching out for bikes?

  4. hi Jacq,

    It is a good picture isn't it! I saw a young lad cycling today whilst texting on his mobile, no hands!
    Nope no helmets here, Bicycles do rule, they are always in the right and if there is ever an accident involving bicycle and car, the car is aleays in the wrong no matter what the cyclist did or did not do as may be the case!

  5. This post has brought back many happy memories of my short time in the Netherlands! Will be popping back to catch up soon. Great blog.

  6. Wow what an eye-opener!
    I think most people are aware of the proclivity for cycling throughout much of Europe and in the Netherlands in particular but you have given me such insight into what cycling in your pocket of the world really means.

    Like Jacq I loved the image of the lady and her toddlers [the mind boggles] and the first photo which made me think that having a baby seat with a windshield could also be a bonus for the parent on wet and windy days!

    I'm visiting via Allison's Rewind but will enjoy following your adventures in the Windmill Fields.

    x Felicity

  7. well hello, I'm here on the rewind - fancy seeing you here :) and another really interesting post. I am really enjoying learning about all these Dutch things.

  8. Wow, this is like reading something from another planet. I didn't know any of this about The Netherlands. And yet it's all so practical and makes sense - boxes and baskets for babies and pets. Oh course!
    'Ting Ting' is also a perfect name for a bike.

  9. So interesting. We are doing the expat thing in California (from Australia). We have lived here before but this time around we have found ourselves in this incredibly bike friendly community. It is so not what anybody expects to see in the US. So I am actually considering getting a bike and learning to get about town with 2 wheels instead of 4. I have also noticed some pretty interesting kids on bike contraptions here.

  10. Hilarious! (but I'm glad it was you and not me!). I haven't read forward yet but I hope for your sake you are now doing all this by car. I've only been bicycle dependent when I lived in Japan (no children!) and some days I loved it, some days I hated it. I know it's not very PC to say so but I really do love my car ...

  11. Oh wow - we visited Breda a few years ago as The Builder has family there. I was bemused by the mums cycling around with up to four kids in tow. Extraordinary stuff. Poor Ting Ting. Very sad. I just love the cycling culture though. Love it.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

  12. Hi popped over from Weekend Rewind. Great blog post and that photo of the lady and 3 littles is just amazing.

  13. It makes so much sense! I am in Adelaide - which is mostly flat and full of cycle lanes. We cycle a lot.But nowhere NEAR as much as in makes me nostalgic!

    (Visiting from the Fibro...)

  14. I just clicked away accidentally and lost my awesome comment (facepalm)!

    Here we go:

    I haven't had my bike stolen yet (touch wood), but I do get endless flat tyres from punctures. it seems to be a national passtime throwing sharp rubbish on the ground and breaking glass bottles...

    I don't think I could face driving to work though each day. It's actually faster by bike in Almere and the car traffic is nuts! Plus, it's good for my heart and I manage to cycle a solid 10 months of the year, only chickening out when it's really slippery (icy). This year I'll be more brave though as the bus just does my head in.

  15. Hello...

    Nice to read your blog and find out how bike take a major part for transportation in Netherlands.

    I'm biking myself for sport not for work, considering hot weather would be a problem for getting too much sweating.

    Greetings from Indonesia.. yes.. Indonesia


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