Riding a bicycle like an un-Dutchable
(I am un-Dutchable!)
I know you think riding a bike is easy. You put your left leg on the left paddle, your right leg balancing the bike. You shove off a little, and quickly lift your butt to the seat and your right leg to the pedal. You pedal to the metal.
Now the Dutch, I’ve come to realize, do it in a completely different way.
(You think this is the right way to ride a bike)
You have to trust the Dutch on this. Imagine, in Amsterdam alone, 490,000 daily journeys are made by bicycle… a day! AND this was back in 2008. There are of course alternative modes of transportation, like the trams, metro, and the main trains. But there is nothing like the feeling of getting on a bike first thing in the morning and feeling that cold brisk wind in your face as you start your day. Nothing better to wake you up. Nothing better to make sure you’re not hungover.
(Buying a bike… hopefully for his daughter)
The Dutch (it can be said) are born naturals at 3 things
1) Riding a bike
2) Fixing a bike
(Crossing the Leidseplein – the busiest bike crossing in Amsterdam)
Now I have no idea why this is true, but it is. I’ve seen kids age 3 cycling around Vondelpark. By the time they’re teenagers, they’re cycling super fast, weaving in and out of traffic, while eating a sandwich and texting at the same time and holding an umbrella. I am pretty serious about some parts of it though, like I constantly see cyclists cycling with one hand holding an umbrella. Or with no hands and texting.
(Cycling well into your old age keeps you healthy)
Even dates are surrounded around this activity. Instead of leaning back into the leather seat, your hand around the back of her chair, enjoying the quiet purr of a car, you see instead two bicycles riding next to each other on a bike lane (not recommended), one hand circling the girls back while they continue to paddle in unison. Or holding hands.
(Calling and cycling? Easy)
So back to getting on and off a bike like an un-Dutchable. The technique seems to differ for males and females (just like the design of the bicycles themselves).
(Cycling along Naadje Straat)
For men, keep your left foot on the left pedal. Right foot hooked behind the left leg. You push off with your right leg (which is still crossed behind your left leg) as the bicycle starts its motion, you swing your right leg across the back of the bike while leaning forward a little and place it on the right pedal. Cycle.
For the ladies, its quite similar, but lady bikes tend to have a low curve in the body of the bicycle, enabling easy cycling even in dresses or skirts. Similar to the men’s technique, you have your left foot on the left paddle. Your right foot is hooked behind your left and starts pushing the bike off, as the bike starts moving, a woman swoops her right foot from behind the left, across the front of the bike and onto the right pedal. Given that there is no direct metal bar on the front body of the bike you don’t have to lift your leg high. Cycle.
(Crossing the street)
You may think it’s easy, but it really isn’t and does take a while to practice getting on.
Then comes the next and worst part of all. Remembering where you parked your bike. Good luck! =)
(Remember where you park the bike!)