Biking safely during Dutch winter
Dutch people are mad about bikes; it is common for them to bike no matter if it rains or shines. However, the frightful Dutch weather sometimes discourages internationals to cycle during winter.
As the days get shorter and the temperature goes lower, not only do we have to handle the cold (sometimes with additional wind and rain), but often we also have to bike in darkness.
Handy tips for cycling in the Netherlands during winter
Here are some handy tips for cycling during winter:
Pay extra attention to the road when cycling
If it looks shiny, it is more than likely that there is a layer of ice on it.
Adjust your bike seat to a low position
This way you can put your feet on the ground, so more support can be sought if you tend to slip and fall.
Stay away from the edge of the road
There is usually more snow and ice on the edge of the road.
Plan your routes through as many clean streets as possible
Many municipalities publish which streets have already been gritted, or swept after snowfall on their websites.
Pay attention to cars
Cars and other vehicles need more time to stop and therefore have longer stopping distances and can slip more easily during this season.
Use winter wheels
Do-it-yourself tip: Use zip-ties for your bike tires (try at your own risk).
Avoid tram tracks at all costs
Especially when it is slippery, always cross a tram track so that your tyres do not fall between the gaps and get stuck in the rails.
Don't forget your bicycle lights
Visibility is a major concern when riding at dawn, dusk, in the rain or on a foggy day. Before you head out, be sure to check that your front and rear lights work, so you can cycle safely.
Wear layers of clothes
This helps maintain a flow of warm air between the layers. And remember: gloves are important- you don't want ice lollies for fingers.
All set and good to go?
Cycling during winter is actually not as bad as you think it might be. With good preparation and the support of the well-developed network of cycle paths in the Netherlands, this frosty season should not stop you from getting on your bike.