City Bicycles - The Netherlands

 What I’m about to tell you is quite important and sometimes commonly known when it comes to cycling on a city bicycle. Some of you probably already know this, but for those like us who don’t, listen up. This could very well possibly save your life as well as a whole lot of embarrassment.

My fiancé and I both have experience riding bicycles and were comfortable with the idea of having bicycles while living in The Netherlands. For the first few days in Holland we hired bicycles from the hotel. We had a taste of what it was like riding a bicycle in Holland. We became familiarised with how a bicycle works - lock, bell, breaks etc. Very easy, no problem. On day 3, Ryan was loaned a company bicycle to make his way to and from work and the hotel. However, Ryan’s bicycle had no breaks – or so we thought.


I met Ryan outside the hotel when he arrived back from work on his first trip with the company bicycle. He arrived a bit frightened and white in the face, but laughing as he was explaining what ordeal he had just been through. When he drove off from work he realised that the bicycle had no breaks. He continued, as normal, like everyone else, without asking questions. After all, you don’t want to look like a complete newb and/or inexperienced at riding a bicycle - not now, especially in The Netherlands.


While cycling, he gained a bit of speed to keep up with cyclists to avoid huffing, puffing and road rage. It was when he had to slow down that he realised… this was a fooockup.


Every time he had to stop, he used his shoes as breaks...


... and took corners, drifting.


This went on for a few days. Every day was an adventure. As time went on, Ryan became a pro at cycling with no breaks.

When we got our own bicycles - for the first time ever – we were given a quick break down on the mechanics. I’m not sure if the sales guy did this because we looked like complete idiots when asking questions about general safety and well, breaks. I was told to sit on my bicycle to get a feel of things. Playing around, I turned the pedals backwards and was very confused by the pedals suddenly locking. I asked the sales guy to have a look because clearly something isn’t right… and with a very unamused facial expression followed with a tone of sarcasm, he told me “those are also breaks”.


Claudia Jones

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