Biking in the Netherlands

Alex Salinas
Sales and Business Marketing and Spanish Major
HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

It’s been a miracle that I haven’t gotten run over by a bike here. The Netherlands is known as one of the friendliest biking countries in the world where people literally bike all year-round: rain, snow, or sunshine they don’t care. You see people of all ages biking, young and old. I’m not used to bikes zooming by left and right all the time, and just hearing bells ringing to get out of the way, it’s definitely an adjustment. Since everyone bikes here, I had to get a bike right away and I ended up renting one for 12 euros a month which is a great deal.

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I used to bike quite a bit in Kalamazoo, but biking here is completely different. Let’s start off with the bike that I had. The bike I rented was a nice cruiser bike (or a granny bike as the Dutch call them) that had no handle brakes. Wait what now, no handle brakes!? That’s right so, in order to brake I had to back pedal. Last time I had to back pedal to break I was 7, so it was an adjustment for the first few days. Besides adjusting to the bike, I had to learn how to bike Dutch style. There are biking lanes everywhere here that have traffic lights specifically for bikes.  Also, while biking you communicate by ringing your bell which I can’t get used to, I’m more of a vocal person.

The first few weeks biking in Utrecht was terrifying not just because I had to get use to the biking culture and the bike itself, but because I had no idea where I was going. Getting lost in this beautiful city isn’t the worst thing though. By getting lost I have discovered beautiful parks and buildings that I would have never seen. Now that I know my way around the city it’s the best thing ever. I can get anywhere I want in less than 15 minutes by bike. The biking culture is one of the biggest things I’m going to miss once my study abroad is over. I just have to enjoy it as much as possible before my time is up in the Netherlands.

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