Whatever the Weather – Rainy Cycling in the Netherlands

Cyclists ride past bike parking in Utrecht, Netherlands on a rainy day.It’s a bit of a rainy day here in Vancouver, so I kept inside this afternoon and looked back at some of the images I made during my bicycle tour of the Netherlands for Momentum Mag a few years back. Between tours, meetings and presentations from Dutch cycling organizations, I popped outside for quick snaps as the country passed me by, literally on two wheels. As it happened, it rained every day for the week I was there but in every city we visited people went about their daily business on bikes as usual. The difference being perhaps less smiles on their faces, probably a little less traffic on the cycletracks but downpour or not, they ride.

Here in Vancouver the slightest chance of a shower and many casual riders either take transit or suit up top to bottom in some form of waterproof/breathable. The yellow rain jacket from MEC was the de facto uniform identifying you as a cyclist in years past. I’m happy to report, these days more people ride whatever the weather and year round in our city. Nothing wrong with putting away the bike on a particularly nasty day, but I find cycling in the (warm) rain can be a very pleasant experience. The quiet patter of the raindrops, the mist hydrating your face, the muck caught by your fenders, not your pants. With the recent announcement that Vancouver now claims a 10% cycling mode share for commuting to work, it seems we’re on the right track.

What I like about these (hastily shot) images is the diversity of people riding, and the ‘dress for your destination’ mindset that is still visible even under poncho or umbrella. And speaking of, umbrellas are great to ride under! Taking it slow and easy, along dedicated cycling routes, is essentially like walking – only slightly faster, sitting slightly taller and yea, you can go a lot further than on foot. Why change modes when the weather changes? Embrace the fact we’re creatures of the environment and saddle up for a misty ride one of these days. As someone’s grandma once said: ‘you’re not made of sugar, sweetie’. Ride on, whatever the weather!

Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft
The Netherlands, 2014.

<click the first image below to view large – recommended!>

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