Holland is well known throughout the world for its love for the bike, so it could be a good mode of transport to explore its main cities. With dedicated paths for cyclists (complete with their own traffic lights) and more bicycles than people, Holland is a paradise for cyclists. Thanks to the relatively flat terrain, the visitor can cover a fair amount of distance on two wheels. There are biking routes in all areas, either with a dedicated bicycle path or a special lane adjacent to the road. In contrast to the United Kingdom, cyclists have right of way on crossroads and roundabouts, but it is still well worth to be careful at major intersections.
- Padded shorts! They may feel strange when you walk around, but when there is to return to the bike in the second day, it is worth having them.
- Sugary snacks, for when you need a little added momentum.
- Sturdy bags. If you have a luggage rack on your bike, it is well worth the investment. Although the extra weight in the rear of the bike makes uphill climbs harder than with a backpack, Holland is so flat that you will not feel the tension on the shoulders and would probably be very much appreciated.
- If you have an iPhone, download the application with routes to trace your path via GPS.
- A decent lock (D-locks are the best) is essential to maintain your bike or take out insurance – there is a major problem with the bicycle theft, especially in Amsterdam.
What kind of bike? It should be borne in mind that the Dutch bicycles are often with a single speed and visitors will have to pay more for a bicycle with gears. Some bicycles in the city have also ‘pedaling brakes’, which can be difficult to get used to it. Make sure that you do a quick test drive to ensure that you feel comfortable with the type of bike you rent and all the pieces are in good working condition prior to the payment.
Bicycle Rush Hour Utrecht (Netherlands) I
A sunny June morning at 8 o´clock on a busy bicycle street in the center of Utrecht (Netherlands). The camera captured 20 minutes of people passing; hundreds of them and most are on a bicycle. They are going to work, school, study, or they are taking their children to school or day-care. We see a cross-section of the Utrecht population (300000). Young, old, of every possible background, just going about their daily routine. The video is sped up to get a quicker view, sometimes up to 8 times. But there are parts in normal speed too, to have an even better look at examples of just how normal cycling is to the Dutch. Remember: anyone Dutch watching this video sees nothing unusual. To anyone from the Netherlands this is a very ordinary street. We see chatting school girls trying to keep their balance, people texting and calling on mobile phones, a bike messenger in full gear and with a helmet, men in suits, a guy with no hands on the handlebars while he is adjusting his head phones, a woman smoking, and a guy jumping on the back rack of his girl friend´s bike. They just took the bike from the racks. Many other people are parking their bikes. We see a lot of ´public transport bicycles´, the bikes with blue and yellow fenders. Rented at the Central Railway Station that is just behind the camera. Trains pass all the time, as can be heard. There are birds singing in the trees and an accordion is played the entire duration of the video in the tunnel under the railway tracks.
Holland has around 20 thousand kilometers of dedicated bike lanes. To the large number of Dutch that moves per bicycle, you have to add the large number of tourists who also take this custom to move through the city. In many places you can book guided bike tours. If this is your choice, keep in mind that traffic can be a little chaotic, especially in large cities. There are many people who use the bike and the bike lanes are marked as our roads for cars and these signals must be respected.