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