Kindergarden? Kinderfiets!

IMG_5393_editIt’s true in any language: children seem to have the most honest and authentic observations about life. Take for instance, my cousin’s young daughter, Marike. When we proudly showed her family the “One Minute in Holland” post, she turned to her mother and said matter-of-factly, “That’s normal. What’s so special about that?!”

And that is exactly the point. The Dutch are so accustomed to their outstanding bike route network that, from a child’s perspective, there isn’t anything remarkable at all about it. Children are introduced to bicycles and the cycling culture from a very early age. They ride on their mothers’ bikes in little front seat as soon as they can sit and learn to ride their own small bikes not long after they learn to walk. Biking to school and to play with friends (often alone) is absolutely accepted and normal here. They develop the skills to ride confidently on separate bike paths and quiet streets as naturally as they would learn how to read or write.

All of these children are learning that cycling is a way of life in The Netherlands. It provides an easy, efficient and healthy mode of transportation, not to mention a form of freedom and independence that many American children won’t experience until they receive their drivers licenses. It also means that every year, there are more people in the world who see the value in cycling over driving, that there are that many more people who will fight for more and improved cycling infrastructure and that there are that many more who will enjoy the benefits of cycling culture throughout The Netherlands. Perhaps some of them will even take this way of life beyond the borders of their country. Maybe one day people traveling to The Netherlands won’t need to post blog entries celebrating the Dutch cycling network because it will be ‘normal’ in their cities and countries as well.Kin

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One Response to “Kindergarden? Kinderfiets!”

  1. Michele Radcliffe Says:

    If the little one only knew how difficult it is for us to bicycle here. But, we live at 1000 ft, which we call a hill and easterners call a mountain (see Cadillac Mtn, Maine). There is rarely flat like in Holland.
    The pictures were wonderful! Thanks so much for taking the time to write a blog and illustrate it.
    Continue safely! Flying to Germany and then onto Holland on the 29th.
    Take care.
    Michele

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