The Dutch really love to ride their bikes even in rain or snow. Did you know adult pedals about 1,000 kilometers per year, and the teenagers do double, yes, 2,000 kilometers per year. Everybody bikes, even old or young and 25% of seniors ride their bike every day.
Cycling is just a unique lifestyle in the Netherlands, the Dutch use their bike for most of their journeys. If you think the Dutch have some kind of cycling magic, so we will not argue with you. In fact, we have got some reasons why the Dutch are in love with their bikes.
1. There are over 35,000 kilometers of dedicated bikeways in the Netherlands so you never run out of great bikeways to ride.
It’s not so hard to get the Dutch idea. They have thousands of kilometers of scenic bike routes to enjoy so there is no reason not to explore it. It’s just plain fun to while away a day on their bike. But don’t think cycling is just for sightseeing the gorgeous countryside of the Netherlands, you will change your mind when you enter the dedicated bike lanes thru cities like Utrecht and Amsterdam, there’re actually 55,000 kilometers of bike-friendly ways!
2. 22 Million bikes in the country of 17 million people.
Yup, I’m not mistaken, every Dutch has 1.3 bikes. China has more bikes for sure (>500 million) but with 1.37 billion people, it’s not a large number and doesn’t even close to the Netherlands. Do you want to compare with the U.S? There are just 70 million bikes with 325 million people.
3. Even babies are biking almost from birth in their bakfiets.
Bakfiets literally means “box bike,” and it’s actually just a super-popular cargo bike that the Dutch use for almost everything, including pedaling their kids from place to place. It’s common to see fathers, mothers, even grandparents pedaling a bakfiets with two or even three little kindergartens around the Amsterdam’s streets full of tulips.
4. They even teach necessary cycling proficiency classes to the student.
It’s true. Dutch schoolchildren take their bicycle traffic test every Spring. It’s a great idea, too, since most the secondary school students (generally >12) pedal from home to school (and vice versa) each day. Dutch kids pedal as many as 15 kilometers to school each way. They have a lot of time on the road.
5. Traffic rules are so friendly for the bike, the Dutch don’t even wear helmets.
The infrastructure in the Netherlands is very well prepared, biking accidents are relatively never heard before. They have special methods to reduce vehicle traffic, keep a safe area for two-wheeled traffic. And because the Dutch do everything on their bikes -even go to weddings or fancy galas- a helmet simply wouldn’t do.
6. No one wears spandex to ride
In the United States, cyclists wear lots of special kits when they riding on the road by their bikes—and it often involves a lot of spandex. On the other hands, Dutch wear their normal clothes (after all, they do most of the daily trips by bike). There is no one can change in and out their exercise clothes five or six times a day. In the Netherlands, only the wielrenner wears lycra, not your average cyclist.
7. They have the biggest parking lot in the world.
If your bike tour takes you to Utrecht, be sure and check out the huge underground bike lot under the train station. About 40% of the visitors come to visit Utrecht by bike, so the city needed infrastructure to accommodate all those visitors.
8. The Dutch solar bike paths actually generate electricity.
The Dutch are very proud of their green credentials—have you ever ridden the Dutch Green Heart? But they take it to a whole new level with their special solar bike paths. A pilot program in Amsterdam really replaced normal bike paths with solar panels which turned out to be a good idea. In the first year, the 70 km of solar path generated 9,800 kWh of electricity.
9. Bicycle rush hour is a thing of strange beauty.
In Utrecht, a city of about 325,000 people, about 125,000 people cycle on the streets daily, more than 33,000 people on a particularly busy street. And not a chaotic scene, it’s an amazing sight, unintentionally choreographed scene you absolutely have to see to believe.
10. The safest place in the world for riding a bike.
Based on bicycle safety statistics throughout Europe each year of the European Cyclists Federation, the Netherlands always takes the top position of this statistics table. That’s probably really good for a country with a large number of cyclists like this.
11. The Hovenring in Eindhoven
There are a lot of amazing sights and experiences on a bike tour of the Netherlands, but maybe none are unusual and just awesome as the Hovenring in Eindhoven. You are asking yourself about Hovenring? Oh, just an unbelievable flying-saucer shaped cycling bridge floating over the entrance to the city. And who could blame you if you want to go there just to ride around it a few times?
12. The Van Gogh bike path
Vincent van Gogh is the most famous son of Eindhoven, so it’s only suitable for a local artist, Daan Roosegaarde, would design a gorgeous, glowing bike path in the style of van Gogh’s Starry Night masterpiece. You can pedal along a path full of thousands of green and blue fairy lights and of course, it’s solar powered.
13. The dogs also love biking too.
Many European cities are dog-friendly, but in the Netherlands, the Dutch really bond with their dogs. You’ll see dogs going around with their owners—which also means riding with them on their bikes. You can small dogs in baskets, big dogs in bakfietsen, and even dogs balancing cleverly on a child’s bike seat.
14. So many ways to bike with someone you love.
Riding bike somewhere beautiful with someone you really love is one of the most romantic ways to spend your holiday. And the Dutch do cycling for two and it’s better than most—tandem or family bikes, and even just holding hands while pedaling along a canal.
So are you ready to fall in love with cycling Dutch-style? Let’s go!