We never saw it coming. Even though our driver from the airport in Amsterdam (where we began our trip through The Netherlands and Belgium) told us about the bikes, we never guessed the volume, speed, and daily dose of cycling we’d see first-hand.
But as soon as we arrived in Amsterdam, we were especially grateful for the driver’s warning: Don’t walk on the red path.
According to a 2020 article Cycling in Amsterdam, “The Netherlands has a population of 17.1 million people and about a quarter of those (4.25 million) cycle every day. There are actually more bikes than people – 22.8 million bikes or about 1.33 bikes per person.” And we believe it!
After walking in and around Centraal Station, we noted people locking up bikes, taking down bikes, getting on bikes, and sometimes wondering where the heck they parked their bikes!
But then we fell in love with the whole biking phenomenon. Aside from the fact that we’re older and haven’t ridden in years, there was a nostalgia factor going on here. We loved seeing cyclists — young and old — passing by gorgeous Dutch architecture in pursuit of the good life. And, if you ask us, we think they’ve found it. No wonder the trend has caught on!
On any working day between 8am and 9am almost 2 million bikes will be on Dutch roads.Cycling in Amsterdam
Some even line up for the ferry so they can bike in new places. Or reach a work destination.
After all, the ferry’s free, frequent, and full of interesting people!
Walkers and cyclists line up with bikes, babies in baskets or whatever they need for good times on the other side. And they seem pretty patient and understanding: When the horn blows, it’s too late to board. No pleading or sorrowful faces seem to matter. But another welcoming ferry comes along in only a few minutes.
The best thing about being in a city of cyclists? Watching people have fun.
Some are on a mission. But many are just cruising along the canals, taking in art at the galleries, or searching for an open-air cafe.
So, when in Amsterdam, watch out for red lanes. In fact, avoid them altogether when you can.
Or join the millions: rent a bike yourself to discover side streets, shops, and people enjoying life in The Netherlands. Feel the breeze blowing through your hair as you pedal yourself to new adventures.
Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.John F. Kennedy
Travel by bike,
Rusha & Bert
This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!