I thought that Japan had an abundance of bikes/cyclists, that was before arriving in the Netherlands. People had warned me, I even read about it in books, but nothing could prepare me for the for what I would encounter here. Nearly everyone rides bicycles here. Seriously. In Japan bike transportation was primarily used by jr/senior high school students and those who were too old to drive a car or motor bike. Not the case here, students, commuters even entire families use the 2 wheel mode of transportation. Kids can ride a bike around the same time they can walk. In addition the bike paths here are great. They are usually separate from roads and are well marked. There’s even a website similar to googlemaps dedicated only to Dutch bike paths. The bike love here extends far beyond anything I could have imagined.
I have not just one but three bikes to use during my stay. A ママチェリ or cruiser bike with sweet floral panniers for errands around town. When I have the kids we take the minivan of the bicycle world, the cargo bike. The box has benches and we buckle the kids in for trips around town. These trips are quite short as it get much more difficult/ heavy to ride with 4 kids in the box.
I also have a racing bike to use. That’s right a real racing bike. I had a decent bike in Japan but I sufferd from a severe case of bike-lust. I couldn’t take my eyes off other bikes, they seemed so great, lightweight, more functional than my own. I wasn’t cheating on my bike, I was just looking. My case grew even worse upon arrival to the Netherlands. There were racing bikes everywhere, I just looked on longingly, thinking how great it would be to explore the country with a bike made for distance. Then I found out that my host family had a an older racing bike that’s my size and I can use for the year. I almost cried tears of joy. Since getting the bike I’ve been tearing up the roads between Rotterdam and the Hague. There’s even some plans of multiday rides in the works. I’m basically a riding machine. There’s no stopping meeeeeeeeeeeee (insert freddy mercury via don’t stop me now)