Cycling Utrecht like a boss

The New Normal. Yes, his socks match his bike. (And I need to improve my street photography)

The New Normal. Yes, his socks match his bike.

During commuting hours in the Netherlands, I have watched in-motion cyclists:

  1. Wear high-heels.
  2. Walk a dog.
  3. Walk two dogs.
  4. Transport an upright bass.
  5. Eat a sandwich.
  6. Hold hands.
  7. Pull along a rolling suitcase.
  8. Drink coffee from a regular ceramic coffee mug.
  9. Support a sleeping baby’s head with one hand while steering with the other.
  10. Compose emails using both hands (‘Blackberry style’) while remaining upright and blowing through intersections.

All a pleasant change from watching passengers on Hong Kong’s MTR (subway) apply make-up (tick), yell at Mainland Chinese (tick), rush for the open seats at Kowloon Tong or Hung Hom (tick, tick) or play Candy Crush on their Samsungs (tick to infinity). (I do, however, miss spotting cyclists in the New Territories blaring Cantonese opera from radios strapped to their handle bars while also transporting bulky fishing equipment.)

My own modest cycling feats in Utrecht have included:

  1. Cycling three children to the gelato shop and home again without dumping my bakfiets (cargo bike).
  2. Using Google Maps’ live ‘by bike’ directions to navigate Utrecht (my daughter holds up the phone for me).
  3. Improving my daughter’s math skills with the following line of questioning: There are 23 cyclists waiting at this red light, how many became tired of waiting and jumped the light? How many safe cyclists remain? How many light-jumpers were hit by the motor scooter, pizza delivery guy who just ran the red light?

Next bike challenge: Circle the city in heels and a dress while my daughter holds up a boom box (Say Anything-style) blaring Cantonese opera.


28 responses to “Cycling Utrecht like a boss

  1. Ah but have you seen a cyclist carrying a tree?
    A cyclist wheeling another bike?
    A cyclist with an umbrella?
    A cyclist with a crate of beer on the handlebars as well as one on the back?
    A barefooted pedlar with his surfboard?
    You’ll need to keep looking!

  2. This is awesome! I am very impressed with proficient bicycle commuters (especially high heels and eating a sandwich!).
    Here in Phuket, more people drive scooters (there are a few very brave bicyclists on the road) and I have seen:
    Up to 6 people on one scooter (2 adults, 4 children) all without helmets
    3 people and a wardrobe on one scooter
    4 dogs and one person on one scooter
    and most recently a scooter with a sidecar that held a pet monkey while two people were on the scooter.

    • I am amazed the dog walker, the two dogs and the bike, didn’t end up in a tangled heap on the pavement! They looked well practiced. Utrecht seems to be a ‘hidden gem.’

  3. Jennifer, in Copenhagen I saw a woman dressed to the nines with what looked like 8 inch stiletto heels … riding a bike. I was jogging in a city park in Cologne, and there was a guy, on my side of the trail, riding with not hands, and texting. He was so pre-occupied that I had to yell before he plowed into me. ~James

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  5. From your descript, it doesn’t seem that Utrecht is that much different from China in terms of bicycling – replace upright bass with a plastic bag filled with a ton of plastic bags or styrafoam balls, pull along a basket of chickens instead of rolling suitcase (or a rolling suitcase full of live chickens), hold hands with the baby swaddled to your chest in the front and the other standing on the spokes of the bicycle tires at the back. It’s just like you’ve never left. πŸ™‚

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