Before I start, I would like for you to watch this video:
Riding bikes is not something you learn in the Netherlands – I mean, you do, but it’s like learning to walk, you can’t remember ever not knowing how to do it.
Your “steel horse” is so much more than something you use for exercising: it’s a means of transportation, it is for all ages, it’s good for the environment, it’s easy to manoeuvre, it takes up little space, and sure it’s good for you too.
Families go out on tours on weekends and easily ride 20km without batting an eyelid. The old cities have narrow roads and little space for parking, cars that is. You can go anywhere on your own no matter your age, because no one needs to pick you up.
And you can style your hair any which way you like in the morning and not have to worry about helmet hair.
I rode my bike around town the other day here in Australia when someone yelled out to me from their car.
“Hey! Aren’t you supposed to wear a helmet?”
“Yeah,” I shouted back, “but I forgot.”
The guy laughed: “Don’t tell the cops that!”
I had planned my trip so carefully. I would ride my bike to the station, take it on the train, and ride to my destination in Melbourne. So much easier than worrying about what tram to catch – also because I always seem to catch the wrong one.
So I left home with the nagging feeling I’d forgotten something. I double checked the contents of my backpack and went over my list of things-to-do in my head again. Nothing. Can’t be too big a deal then, I thought when I hopped on my bike and took off. I was nearly at the station when it hit me. No helmet! Oh no…
For 29 years I lived without owning a bike helmet, without worrying about helmet hair. Sure, I’ve fallen off my fair share of bikes (mainly my dad’s). I have sustained a broken jaw by falling of my tiny bike aged four, but a helmet wouldn’t have prevented that. Besides, imagine riding to work in your suit and tie late for your morning meeting, and when you finally get to work you have to step into the powder room to sort your helmet hair out.
Bike helmets – the eternal point of discussion for the Dutchie-abroad.