If you are a tourist or fairly new to the Netherlands, you are an easy target for Dutch cyclists. Not that they are deliberately trying to kill you, you understand.
1. Bikes rule all. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a tank or you’re walking, you yield to the bike. And they take the hierarchy seriously. So stay off the red path and out of their way.
2. Bikes may rule, but Mother Nature trumps all, so when it snows, don’t expect ploughed bike paths. Long after the roads are cleared, the bike lanes will be piled high with snow. If you do not want to break a leg, do not try and copy the Dutch, who can happily cycle to work on ice in a roaring blizzard.
3. Back-pedal brakes. When you learned to ride a bike as a kid, you learned with hand brakes. But the Dutch, in an effort to be as cost effective as possible, have created a bike free of those pesky extra pieces and slapped the brakes to th pedals. Push forward to go and backwards to stop. Try not to fly over the handle bars.
4. Getting on. Notice how the Dutch get on a bike by standing to one side, putting their left foot on the left pedal, pushing off and then kicking their right leg over to the other side? All Dutch citizens – from infants who can’t yet speak to the elderly who should be using a zimmer frame – get on a bike this way. Try it some time. You’ll kick the seat and crash into the canal.
5. High alcohol beer. If you avoid the mass-produced Heineken stuff, you will discover the Dutch (and the Belgians for that matter) are unable to brew low alcohol beer. But they are able to invite you to the pub, order a few rounds, and expect you to bike home.