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Commuting tips from the Netherlands ;)

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Commuting tips from the Netherlands ;)

Old 07-22-08, 11:48 AM
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The difference is that in the Netherlands, and to a lesser extent places like Portland where they increasingly ride in a fashion approaching the Netherlands style, land use patterns have evolved back to a proximity-based fashion where short trips are the norm. The distance riders whom you see and are baffled by are riding in the manner most appropriate for their trips. Their typical trips tend to be longer (due to poor proximity) and on a very different sort of route than you would use. These factors cause them to adapt very different strategies than you would. For instance, I am currently considering whether to ride to a business meeting. That meeting is about twenty km away on a highway on which automobiles regularly travel 90-100 kph, with two hills with grades over 10%. There is no transit to the location.
This is a situation that you, in the Netherlands, do not often experience. I, however, experience it as the rule, not the exception. Whereas you follow the strategy of using an inexpensive comfort bike and street clothes for your trip, the distance and speeds I will need to cover on mine cause me to select for a faster, more expensive bike - in my case a recumbent - with significantly more attention placed on comfort, security, and the like.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:50 AM
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That rolling bar is the greatest thing ever. It's really too bad that that kind of thing wouldn't be allowed here, or else I would have just found my new business.

I do have a question about biking in your country. I see so many pictures of families riding with three people on a bike, but a lot of times the kids look old enough to be riding their own bikes. I've even seen kids that look to be like 12 or so riding with their parents. Why don't they ride their own bikes? Here, no kid that age would dare to be seen being pedaled around by his mom.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JusticeZero
The difference is that in the Netherlands, and to a lesser extent places like Portland where they increasingly ride in a fashion approaching the Netherlands style, land use patterns have evolved back to a proximity-based fashion where short trips are the norm. The distance riders whom you see and are baffled by are riding in the manner most appropriate for their trips. Their typical trips tend to be longer (due to poor proximity) and on a very different sort of route than you would use. These factors cause them to adapt very different strategies than you would...
Many cyclists here travel 30-40km every day. For example, not far from my house is a school and many kids who study there come from small towns that are 20-30km out of the city (has to do with the fact that it's some kind of special Christian Reformed school that is quite rare). I see these kids arrive at around 7.30 in the morning on all kinds of bikes: oldfashioned "gentelman's" bikes, mountainbikes, racebikes etc. Most, if not all, wear "normal" clothing. As for roads, out of the cities its not uncommon that you'll have to ride on the same road as cars that do 80-100+ kmh.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by OttR
I do have a question about biking in your country. I see so many pictures of families riding with three people on a bike, but a lot of times the kids look old enough to be riding their own bikes. I've even seen kids that look to be like 12 or so riding with their parents. Why don't they ride their own bikes? Here, no kid that age would dare to be seen being pedaled around by his mom.
Every kid has his/her own bike. Why they ride with the parents? I'm not sure actually, they'll probably get dropped off at grannys or so. One reason could be that they can't keep up with mum who, despite her 'full' figure, averages 15mph
A 12 year old is not that common, mostly you'll see kids up to 7-8 riding with mum.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:25 PM
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If I remember correctly, the Amsterdam city council was planning to ban the bar bikes, because sort of everybody on it gets pissed, and these bikes are still a part of traffic. Since most people can pedal, they'd all be in violation of the traffic law, which would be kinda funny. One vehicle, 12 drunken drivers.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:27 PM
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I'm envious of how engrained cycling is into your culture and everyday life. However, Amsterdam is a different place than Minneapolis with a much more moderate climate and I'm guessing on average, much shorter commutes. You do see some folks here on the same style of bikes commonly seen in Amsterdam, but they tend to be people going shorter distances and I would guess they appreciate the "look" of the bike as much as or more than the utility.

If I'm riding under 3 miles or riding with my young kids, I don't bother with spandex either. I actually see relatively few commuters wearing spandex here. When I do wear spandex it's for comfort and not because I'm trying to make any sort statement or fit into any group. For me, my commute is not only a way to get to work, it's exercise and training as well. Yes I get sweaty and I shower at work. It takes no more time to shower at work than it does at home. It also gets quite cold here in the winter and if I were to limit my wardrobe to what I'd normally wear to work, I'd be one miserable guy while riding. In fact, it could be down right dangerous.

I do like the additional options you have for transporting kids and other stuff. At the same time in one of the pics I saw a tag-along parked which is what we use and it works well for us, as did the burley when the kids were younger.

So while I appreciate what you have there, I also like the choices we have here for bikes and clothing. If the kind of bike I ride would get stolen in seconds there, it sounds like maybe there's a certain level appreciation for what we ride as well.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thdave
Is that a bicycle bar?

What good does patron pedaling do? Does it help move the bar?
Yes. It move's the whole thing. I've seen one go by my house on two separate occasions. They call it the "Pedal Pub". I've got pictures somewhere...
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Old 07-22-08, 12:49 PM
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So I know how roadies pee during races, but where do you pee on the bar bike? Do the stools double as toilets?
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Old 07-22-08, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by envane
We don't wan't to ride your dorkbikes, eurotrash.
You need to learn to use more smilies .

This comes off sounding like someone who is jealous of the more civilised cycling culture in Europe .

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Old 07-22-08, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
So I know how roadies pee during races
How?
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Old 07-22-08, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
I'm envious of how engrained cycling is into your culture and everyday life. However, Amsterdam is a different place than Minneapolis with a much more moderate climate and I'm guessing on average, much shorter commutes. You do see some folks here on the same style of bikes commonly seen in Amsterdam, but they tend to be people going shorter distances and I would guess they appreciate the "look" of the bike as much as or more than the utility.

If I'm riding under 3 miles or riding with my young kids, I don't bother with spandex either. I actually see relatively few commuters wearing spandex here. When I do wear spandex it's for comfort and not because I'm trying to make any sort statement or fit into any group. For me, my commute is not only a way to get to work, it's exercise and training as well. Yes I get sweaty and I shower at work. It takes no more time to shower at work than it does at home. It also gets quite cold here in the winter and if I were to limit my wardrobe to what I'd normally wear to work, I'd be one miserable guy while riding. In fact, it could be down right dangerous.

I do like the additional options you have for transporting kids and other stuff. At the same time in one of the pics I saw a tag-along parked which is what we use and it works well for us, as did the burley when the kids were younger.

So while I appreciate what you have there, I also like the choices we have here for bikes and clothing. If the kind of bike I ride would get stolen in seconds there, it sounds like maybe there's a certain level appreciation for what we ride as well.

You don't need spandex for anything under 20 miles one way I'd say. Maybe more. That stuff is made for guys who do long tour de france races.

I do 13 one way and it's totally not needed to dress up like a superhero.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by capolover
You don't need spandex for anything under 20 miles one way I'd say. Maybe more. That stuff is made for guys who do long tour de france races.

I do 13 one way and it's totally not needed to dress up like a superhero.
Sigh...

Why is that people feel the need to decide what is appropriate for somebody else to wear?

It's not about what about what somebody else needs or doesn't need. It's about what's comfortable for me.

I wear black tri-shorts in the summer with a wicking shirt of some sort. That is if I have any that aren't too nasty. Otherwise it's a T-shirt. I don't even own a cycling jersey. If that violates someone else's sense of good taste, that is their problem.

Outside of commuting, racing, or training rides (of which commuting is one type), I typically wear whatever I happen to have on at the time.
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Old 07-22-08, 02:36 PM
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Really enjoyed the post. I'd like to wear my work clothes while riding to work, but the commute length and perspiration make me lean toward "riding clothes" so I don't offend when I finally arrive at work!

And, I also do not second the post from envane... We could learn a few things from Europe.
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Old 07-22-08, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by icedmocha
How?
This should answer your question.
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Old 07-22-08, 03:14 PM
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I like to look normal (not look like I came on a bicycle) when I'm at work or shopping or at a friend's house. So I'll only wear bike tights if it'll save time, if it's above 85, and if it's longer than 20 miles. If I'm not commuting and on a bike ride, I still prefer to wear normal clothes!
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Old 07-22-08, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus
I know this is selfish, but I would hate to putter along in a crowd of bicycles, going 10 mph (that's 16 kph viplala ) Fewer bikes on American roads means I can go just as fast as I please.
'Till you hit one of those darn SUV things right smack in the side!

It's something of a misnomer to claim you can ride as fast as you please when the reality is that you have to watch for traffic, stop for lights, and essentially "putter along" with smoky automobiles vice a crowd of fellow humans on two wheelers.

Oh sure you can indeed go for a nice long ride in the country... and hey, you can do the same thing in Europe too... probably even see drop bar bikes and riders in lycra.... without helmets.
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Old 07-22-08, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
Sigh...

Why is that people feel the need to decide what is appropriate for somebody else to wear?

It's not about what about what somebody else needs or doesn't need. It's about what's comfortable for me.

I wear black tri-shorts in the summer with a wicking shirt of some sort. That is if I have any that aren't too nasty. Otherwise it's a T-shirt. I don't even own a cycling jersey. If that violates someone else's sense of good taste, that is their problem.

Outside of commuting, racing, or training rides (of which commuting is one type), I typically wear whatever I happen to have on at the time.
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Old 07-22-08, 04:26 PM
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My little town has more than twice as much elevation gain than your entire country does. HTH
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Old 07-22-08, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by capolover
You don't need spandex for anything under 20 miles one way I'd say. Maybe more. That stuff is made for guys who do long tour de france races.

I do 13 one way and it's totally not needed to dress up like a superhero.
You've obviously never had a rash or a saddle sore. Good for you. Many of us need these clothes to be able to walk comfortably when we are not on a bike

Now, where did I put that cape????
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Old 07-22-08, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
Sigh...

Why is that people feel the need to decide what is appropriate for somebody else to wear?

It's not about what about what somebody else needs or doesn't need. It's about what's comfortable for me.

I wear black tri-shorts in the summer with a wicking shirt of some sort. That is if I have any that aren't too nasty. Otherwise it's a T-shirt. I don't even own a cycling jersey. If that violates someone else's sense of good taste, that is their problem.

Outside of commuting, racing, or training rides (of which commuting is one type), I typically wear whatever I happen to have on at the time.
Fail.
I'm not dictating anything.
I'm saying you don't NEED it physically to be comfortable. End of story.

I don't see how you could get a rash doing that little. Unless you ride on a saddle made for touring.... and that's just your fault.
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Old 07-22-08, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by capolover
Fail.
I'm not dictating anything.
I'm saying you don't NEED it physically to be comfortable. End of story.

I don't see how you could get a rash doing that little. Unless you ride on a saddle made for touring.... and that's just your fault.
There you go again, assuming everyones hide is as tough as yours. It's not like we all were born with cycling chamois on, we converted for a reason. Most of us, after thinking it was stupid and you don't really need it.

I DO NEED IT physically to be comfortable. End of story.

Edit - I can walk comfortably for miles in a size 13 running shoe. That means everyone can, right?

Last edited by kwrides; 07-22-08 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-22-08, 06:29 PM
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This is healthy, getting input on bike commuting from people with the know-how. Hope to see more initiated threads and contributions on Bike Forum from across the pond.
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Old 07-22-08, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bkrownd
My little town has more than twice as much elevation gain than your entire country does. HTH
And Chicago is probably the same as NL. Many states have mountain ranges within them too; so what? How many people choose to bicycle commute up and down them? Most US cities where bike commuting is considered a practical option are not built on mountain sides.

Let's hear about all those "distance riders" in cities and places with all kinds of elevation gain and just how representative they are of the bicycle commuting population.

I know those stories can be found on BF from a few cycling enthusiasts. I don't doubt there is a tiny slice of the bicycling population and an infinitesimal slice of of the general population who might consider regular bicycle commuting for distance on hilly terrain, especially in anything less than perfect weather.

Maybe someone else will chime in about the different size of The Netherlands vice the U.S. or Canada and how that explains the difference in the commuting environment. That's just as relevant as the elevations found in a city in Hawaii.
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Old 07-22-08, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by viplala
squirt some WD40 or whatever happens to lie around when the creaking of the chain becomes too annoying and thats it, good enough for a decade or two.
You treat your bikes like how we treat our cars. So generally speaking, there isn't that big of a culture difference. Just a difference of maintenance cost.
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Old 07-22-08, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by capolover
You don't need spandex for anything under 20 miles one way I'd say. Maybe more. That stuff is made for guys who do long tour de france races.

I do 13 one way and it's totally not needed to dress up like a superhero.
You have no clue. No one ever said its NEEDED. But then this isnt the first time you keep saying these same statements. Your obvious failure to comprehend and learn says a lot about you. Of course most of it was also obvious from your posts content.
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