International bike spotting – The Netherlands

To help us get through the next couple of colder months, dandyhorse is going to be profiling cyclists from around the world! Folks who love to cycle, here in Toronto and further afield, will give us insight into what it's like to cycle in their cities. Want to add your voice to the bikespotting series? Get in touch with us at:

Marieke - Student

What is it like biking in your city? 
At the moment I live in Amsterdam, and cycling around the city can be difficult. Mostly because it's not clear to tourists where they can and cannot walk. Tourists on bikes don't know how to cycle.

How are the bike lanes?
Apart from the tourists it's pretty great. There are cycle lanes, and cars are very careful.

What can the city do better?
I heard the council of Amsterdam is somehow going to cut down on rental places for tourists, that will be great for the locals!

What is the relationship between cars and bikes? 
Like I said people are pretty aware. I'm originally from Arnhem and everyone is even more careful with bikes! It's a privilege to live in the Netherlands when it comes to cycling.

If you could summarise city cycling in one word what would it be?


Bram - Student

What is it like biking in your city? 
I have lived in the city of Leiden for quite some time now, and getting around by bike here is quite fun.

My folding bik, the one you see on the photo, is my personal favourite when getting around cities. They're not as fast or slick as a full size bike but they make up for this because they're less likely to be stolen (you can take them indoors more easily) and they are free for charge when traveling by train! You can get a used one for just a few bucks.
How are the bike lanes?
In the centre of Leiden there are way too many bikes and sometimes it's hard to get around. I also have a racing bike.

What can the city do better?
I think the city council of Leiden treats cyclists very good. We have great bike lanes and cars take cyclists seriously. Bikers in the Netherlands have a place on the road and are respected. 

What is the relationship between cars and bikes? 
Cars are less likely to give you right of way, or be gentle on my racing bike. On my city bike it's easier. It's pretty clear that they're not used to racing bikes yet, but that will be a matter of time.

If you could summarise city cycling in one word what would it be? 
City cycling in one word: fun and easy.


Jan Willem - Amsterdam

What is it like biking in your city?
It sucks, there's too many people, there's not enough space for pedestrians and cyclists, too much space for cars.

How are the bike lanes?
Bike lanes are separated, which is good for the slow cyclist, they can commute easily to work or school, if you want to go faster than 20km you really want to be on the roads. School kids in the morning are a deathtrap because they go so slowly. Usually around those times I take the roads, which is a risk because you can be fined up to 220 Euros.

What can the city do better?
 Get rid of the tourist-bike, no cars, absolutely none, (except for emergency services) and fast/slow bike lanes.

What else would you like to see?
I would like to have a city "ring" around and above the city. Just like an innercity highway, superfast with highway rules for entering/ getting off.

What is the relationship between cars and bikes?
My relationship with cars is really love hate. If they are friendly and notice me I always smile or put my hand up in a friendly wave. When they don't see me and they almost hit me, I usually slap the bonnet.

If you could summarise city cycling in one word what would it be?
A fight (towards tourists, cars, slower cyclists, traffic lights and time)

Related Articles

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Bike Plans in Other Cities: Amsterdam, Calgary and Chicago

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