Bikes in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2010
Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't been on a bike for twenty years, so landing in the Netherlands was an eye opener. EVERYBODY rides a bike around he place. Yes, they do have the the luck of having one hill in the country which is the size of a speed hump and they do have an infrastructure that gives bikes the right of way, but there are nine million bike riders on the roads there and I don't think I saw one person wearing a helmet over there... maybe not having the threat of a $154 fine for not wearing one is enough to keep them off their heads.
The other thing about Dutch bikes, they look comfortable. They have a nice padded seat to keep your tush happy. You sit upright, none of this stooping over nonsense. They have mud guards (spatborden according to Glen Waverley - essential he says - but I think there is innuendo involved with what he's saying) and sensible handlebars and everybody looks happy when they ride a bike. People have old fashioned lights and baskets and bags attached. They look fun. Though I'm not sure how I'd go cycling over wet cobblestones... or in sleet...
Bikes are just a way of life here. It's mad, but it's lovely. There are even bike parks near all the railway stations where thousands of bikes are parked during the day - like Australia's multi-story car parks, they have them for bikes.
If I had a real girlie bike like these ones I'd probably ride one more - that and I'd get rid of the cars on the road.