If you are familiar with Holland at all, you know there are more bikes than people in this country. And because I’m a stickler for details, I have to point out that Holland is not actually a country. The Netherlands is a country of which North Holland and South Holland are provinces. Absolutely everyone rides a bike in the Netherlands – the Prime Minister on his way to the office, Crown Princess Amalia, and everyday Daan (most popular boy’s name at the moment).
The Dutch bike in all kinds of weather. Rain is expected on a nearly daily basis, of course, but even when we get those few centimeters of snow, the Lowlanders will be out there on their bikes. When the wind off the North Sea gusts so hard you worry your house is going to blow over, they’re out there biking. I’ve actually managed to stand still while pedaling against that wind. (That was my last time biking in a storm by the way.)
The Dutch also bike under all kinds of circumstances. They bike in dresses and high heels. They carry crutches, crates of beer, overfilled grocery bags … You name it and they’ve probably figured out a way to bike with it. They even have special hooks in which to put their hockey sticks. (Field hockey that is. They are crazy about field hockey as attested by the numerous Olympic medals.)
I no longer have a car and bike all over The Hague. I’ve gotten to the point where I now race against the time Google Maps thinks it will take me to arrive at my destination. One reason I bike a lot is my love for adult beverages. Yes, I’m talking wine and beer here. It’s impossible to go anywhere without those lovely adult beverages making an appearance. From the opening of a UN institute to a tennis game, beer and wine will be available.
Biking is a good option to ensure you don’t get behind the wheel after having one too many. But the thing about biking while having had a drink or two is that you still need to balance yourself. Once you’ve managed that feat, you have to bike in a somewhat straight line. If you’re biking home with a friend, you have to manage the straight line while not running into your friend AND staying on the bike path. (Bike paths are often lower than the sidewalk. Hitting the edge of the sidewalk unexpectedly can be more than a little dangerous if you’ve decided to hit the pub after a wine tasting.)
This is the conversation I had with my Dutch hubby after biking home last week after a Thirsty Thursday gathering:
Me: Home safe. Me have hick ups. (sic)
Hubby: Are you drunk?
Hubby: Did you bike home?
Me: With a friend! On a bike path!
Hubby: I’m so proud of you. Well integrated love
There you have it folks! I have passed my adult biking test. Happy weekend!