Op je fiets (On your bike)

The entire time I've been living here we have only used the car once to go somewhere local. Hey it was a rainy night and we felt like curries (Mmmm, oh how we miss Sages).

We literally go everywhere by bike and why not? The steepest street is up a bridge over the river. Fietspaden (cycle ways) are footpaths especially for bikes and scooters. At major intersections they have their own traffic lights but normally bikes have the right of way. This is pretty scary at first deliberately biking into the path of an oncoming car but they stop. Glad I'm not coming from Holland to New Zealand.

Nijmegen is a student town so there are a lot of young people but its also home to many older people and disabled (I can't remember the current politically correct term). They are just as quick on the fietspaden with their supercharged mobility scooters. Maybe Top Gear should do an episode of them. I wonder how many scooter vs. car accidents there are.

The local constabulary often patrol the streets on their bikes and will sting you 20 euros for every light not lit if you're riding at night. Other than that there aren't many rules. Helmets are not required so even in the forest and road riders hardly ever wear helmets.

If you need to catch a train you ca either lock your bike up in a special garage at the station or better yet just take a fold up bike.

dutch kids on bikePeople ride around town, two bags full of groceries on the back, two kids sitting in child seats, one front and one back. One hand holding an umbrella, one holding a cigarette whilst talking on their mobile phone. The children that are old enough to double hold onto their parents like Koala bears.

Except for the hot weather biking (fietsen) is a fast and safe way to get around town and even between towns or countries. Often you can get somewhere faster by bike than by car.

Auckland needs to certainly needs to buck up their ideas and add more dedicated cycle paths. I don't mean the kind that doubles as a bus lane. Buses and bikes don't mix.

For me biking in Holland is a fantastic way to get around. I still need to learn the Dutch way of riding slowly hand in hand having a chat along the way.

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