The Dutch and the bikes are nail and flesh. Our first contact with this transport takes place at six months, when our parents begin to take us in a chair on the handlebar of his or her bike. From that moment we learn to resist the wind, the cold and the rain, since the only thing that protects us is a plastic like a windbreaker and a rain jacket. At two or three years old they give us our first tricycle, but seeing so many adults on a bike, we get bored quickly from the three wheels, because it does not catch enough speed.
When the fourth birthday arrives, we wake up with our first bike with wheels waiting for us in the living room of the house, decorated with balloons and garlands. In most cases it is not a new bike, but a second-hand one: you have to be practical, since it will be too small for you. It is in that same moment when love arises at first sight and when our great cycling adventure begins. The first laps are done with fear and we need someone to push us, but then we get the trick!
Those of us who live in the city have to learn the driving rules soon: it is not enough to know the meaning of the different colors of the traffic light. At age 10 we are obliged to take a theoretical and practical exam at school. And nobody wears a helmet! Many times you have to bike more than half an hour to get to the institute. And what can be more fun than going all together, chatting all the way and falling all to the ground if one gets distracted and the handlebar goes away?
If it rains, the most presumptuous go with an umbrella, with an accident insured, while the rest of us put on our rain suits that stand out for their great elegance. When our parents let us move around the center alone, the game starts to make fun of tourists, who, in general, do not usually know the rules well. How we like to scare them off! Already of students, we use the bikes to go home at night after partying and more than one goes drunk doing zigzag.
As you can see, in every phase of a Dutchman’s life the bike plays an important role. From the Mickey Mouse bell and the colorful balls on the radios, we evolved to decorate it with plastic flowers and vintage style baskets. And how useful are the bags hanging in the back to take home shopping!
Does the bike have no negative aspect? Yes, since there is no one who has never had an accident, and even many of us have been fined by the police for not carrying lights at night. And why talk about the daily theft of bikes.
The bikes and the Dutch people… There is nothing that separates us. How much I miss that feeling of freedom and balance, of being able to go to work in the morning watching people open the curtains while the street activity begins and I let my hair dry in the wind. When I think of my bike, I smile.