Biking around in the Netherlands

That the Netherlands is home to lots and lots of bikes (for the interested) is a fact well-known worldwide, and it needn’t be explained further.

The TU’s biking track next to the Mekelpark

So, it’s but natural for a biking enthusiast (enthusiast, not a pro!) to try biking around in this country and write a blog post(s) about it! Here goes the first one.

 

My daily route along the Delftweg, right next to the canal. Can’t afford to swerve too much!

Sometimes, lights guide me home

(“Biking” seems to be the term in vogue here, when it comes to referring to the act of riding a bicycle. I was used to referring to it as “cycling” before coming to the Netherlands. Language variations, I guess.)

Along one of the routes between my house and the university campus

For anyone who comes from a place where bicycles aren’t given enough respect, seeing a thin mysterious lane with a bicycle painted on it next to a regular vehicle lane would certainly come as a surprise! But it wouldn’t take more than a few (milli-) seconds to figure out what such lanes are for, especially when there’s a whole bunch of bicycles being ridden over them so frequently. It takes a lot of effort to not see a bicycle within a 100-metre (or less) radius while in the Netherlands!

Cycling through one of the many parks in the Hague

I currently stay in a city called the Hague (“Den Haag”), which was the only option left for me since I was too late in my search for a place, and couldn’t get one in Delft. Though my house happens to be located about 10 km from the TU’s campus, there’s a nice train station located less than a kilometre away, and a train takes less than 10 minutes to reach the Delft station. Sounds perfect!

Can one really complain about getting views like this one?

So, what do I do? Of course, I  take the train since it makes sense go on a nice long bike journey every day to Delft and back, just because it’s enjoyable! (Yes, there are some associated health benefits too.) It does gobble up around an hour of my daily life, but given that bike lanes are almost exclusively for bikes, I feel fairly comfortable not focusing entirely on my all my senses while at it. I make use of this time for other activities – listening to podcasts, music, and audiobooks (and of late, Dutch audio lessons!) en route; however, I wouldn’t endorse the idea as being fit for everyone, especially if they’re new to biking. Moreover, the route from my house to Delft and back isn’t a busy route, and hence I come across very few junctions on the way.

Bridging the gap for me, daily

It has worked out well so far. There’s mental relaxation, physical fitness, and language learning all at once, so to speak! But…

Brrr…iking in the c-c-c-old will be challenging

…the winters will have a different story to tell, I believe, and will force me to switch to the good ol’ NS trein. It probably isn’t a good idea biking around when it’s almost 0 degrees Celsius, raining/snowing, and windy, but, as we say for any adversity, let’s see!

TL;DR – Biking is fun, and one should exercise their free will to bike when possible.

Another biking track, this one being next to the Delftse Hout

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About Aniket

A Master's student from India at TU Delft, with Embedded Systems as my specialization. Graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Instrumentation from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in 2016, and worked for a couple of years at National Instruments R&D in Bangalore, before moving to Delft in 2018 to delve deeper into some personal technological fascinations. Generally curious about everything around, with the "How", and (probably) more importantly the "Why", being the most compelling facets that drive my curiosity. Always in a state of flux.
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