The Great Dutch National Bicycle Race

Cycling in Holland is an interesting experience, probably because it is such an intrinsic part of Dutch society. People here learn to cycle before they can walk and, up to a certain age, practically live on their bicycles. Dutch people are also quite competitive, which leads to a curious dynamic on the country’s cycle paths.

I own a car but tend to spend far more time cycling than driving, mainly because I hate sitting in traffic jams (Holland measures its jams in days rather than kilometres) but also because it is seems the best choice in a country designed around the bicycle. Over the past seven years of commuting to and from work I have spent a total of twelve weeks in the saddle and covered enough miles to circumnavigate the globe. This has given me plenty of opportunity to observe the Dutch and their “fietsen”.

My article in this issue of SciendaQ touches on one of the more entertaining aspects of cycling in Holland, namely the tendency for many to treat the whole thing as one big race. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to head to work. Plus there’s this new guy on my route who overtook me every day last week. I think he needs to be brought down a peg or two.

Kind regards,

P.A. Baines


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