I knew how to ride a bike before moving to the Netherlands. But it is clear to me now that I had not had the full 100% cycling experience before I came here. So now I try to learn from the Dutch, who act as if they were born on a bike.
illustratie Henk van Ruitenbeek
In the rain, in the snow, after snow when it is slippery, at 6am to go to work, at 6am when going home tipsy. The cycling capabilities of the Dutch are just unbelievable. With two full bags from the supermarket, and one from the flower shop, carrying the youngest child in front and the oldest behind, or carrying a friend on the back of the bike; they can bike under any circumstances. Calling or texting, drinking or snacking – there are no barriers for them.
I was surprised to see this, and my family and friends have the same experience when they come to visit me. I also enjoy (in retrospect) sharing with them all the crazy falls I have had due to my bike tyre getting stuck in a tramline, and my bike crashes because I didn’t indicate with my hand that I would turn left. Let’s say it’s a learning process. And I am improving. I can even bike ‘without hands’ now!
Irini Pegiou, a PhD candidate at Plant Physiology, from Greece
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