We recently visited Netherlands for an extended duration - Given that we make Solar bags for cyclists, a visit to Netherlands was bound to happen! And what an eye-opening visit it was! To those who do not know, Netherlands is the Cycling capital of the world - they have more cycles than people!
We were fortunate to have a cycling ambassador in Netherlands - Maarten de Jonge, who hosted me and showed me around. The first leg of the visit was Amsterdam - roughly 43% of the population cycles regularly and that is one of the smallest percentages of cyclists in Netherlands! Look at this photo - this is a standard parking lot there with bikes outnumbering cars everywhere!
There were many things which were quite different from cycling in a city like Bangalore. In Bangalore, most commuter cyclists own a fairly fancy bike for their commute - we have road bikes, MTBs and Hybrids. However, most commuters own a single bike in Bangalore. In Netherlands, it is quite common to have anywhere from 2 to 5 cycles per person with each cycle serving a different use. While in Bangalore cyclists dress up quite differently, in Netherlands people cycle in their regular clothes and almost no one wears Helmets! In fact, is is very rare to find anyone wearing a helmet or cycling shorts or any other gear. The only rule is that cyclists need to have a red light at the back (after dark) and a white light in the front - and blinking red lights are banned!
|Random Parking in Amsterdam|
|Regular commuter in Amsterdam|
|Cost-effective pannier bags on cycles in Amsterdam|
|Multi-level Bike Parking in Netherlands|
|Bike Rentals in Netherlands|
|2-Sided Pannier bag on a bike|
|A Giant Racing bike in Netherlands|
|An awesome road to bike on!|
|Maarten (our cycling ambassador) riding on an inter-city road (not a highway)|
We also visited a cycle store in Netherlands and it was huge! You can literally take a cycle and ride it inside the store for a check.
And one last thing. So, what do people do when they are physically not enabled to cycle (due to health problems or old age)? One would think they would simply start using a car. But no, in Netherlands, they simply get aids to help them cycle! E-bikes, where you are provided electrical assistance on a bike are quite popular in Netherlands!
|Vintage bike in the store|
|Bikes hung creatively inside the store to save space|
|A cool MTB|
|You could literally ride inside the large bike stores!|
|A 300mAh battery pack, which supports the E-bike|