The Dutch like cycling. Many Dutchmen travel by bike daily to go to work or to go to school. In big cities as Amsterdam it is even faster to travel by bike than by car. And parking your bike is for free. (“gratis”). Dutch like ‘gratis’, and maybe that is also a reason to take the bike in stead of using your car, even when it is raining cats and dogs…
Did you know we have over 23 million bikes riding in our streets? We have even more bikes than inhabitants!
History of Bikes
Although we are really a bike-country, the first bikes were imported from the UK in late 19th century. These bikes were very different from the models we have in our modern times. Riding these bikes, called ‘draisines’, looked more like walking.
But technology for riding bikes developed very quickly. The UK was leading in this and British bikes were known for the good quality. And very soon, bikes became very popular, also in Holland. It created a real bicycle boom, and in 1868 the first Dutch bikes were made by J.T. Scholte in Amsterdam. Nowadays, many Dutch ride on famous Dutch brands as Gazelle, Sparta, Batavus and Union.
And we also have a special bike to cross the canals: our water-bikes.
So wherever you are in Holland, you can use a bike!
Holland = bicycle country
We have all sorts of bikes in Holland. We use them for work and for pleasure. We have various citybikes, racing bikes, All Terrain Bikes (ATB), mountainbikes (you can use them here, despite having no Dutch mountains) and electrical bikes. We have even special models for transporting kids to school; they are nicknamed as Yup-bikes.
When you are in the countryside, you can do biking tours and enjoy the beautiful nature. Every region has many of these tours. You can even follow the track of the elfstedentocht, Hollands most famous ice skating event. This tour in Friesland is over 200 kilometers long.
Our cities are well prepared for cycling. We have special bike lanes, just as we have bus lanes. So this helps to travel fast, as you can simply pass the congested car roads.
The Dutch take care of their bikes and lock them when they have arrived at their destination. But the bikes are so popular, that frequently the bike is still gone when you have returned. But most of the Dutch are very well insured against this risk. So after a bike-theft we simply buy a new one and –of course- a better bike. So that is why we have more bikes than people here!