Dutch ride in rain. Germans are sugar.


Photo by “AmsterDame

According to the Fietsersbond (Dutch cyclist’s union) only 18% of Dutch will be deterred from cycling by rain and that makes them real bad weather cyclists. “Surely in comparison with the Germans. They are of sugar since at least 40% leave their bike in the shed with the appearance of a rain cloud. The Danish are somewhat tougher, there 25% let the bike stand in bad weather.”

Of the Dutch about 63% sit on a bicycle at least three times per week. Amongst the Germans and Danes that is 45%. A third of the Dutch cycle 10 to 20 kilometers per week. The Germans ride slightly less distance but more than the Danes.

No sources are given for the study but I found it in print so it must be true.

16 Responses to “Dutch ride in rain. Germans are sugar.”

  1. nemo Says:

    Do you have the statistics for french?…

  2. henry Says:

    Well, if the Germans are made of sugar then the French must be…

    No, the article only mentioned the statistics above about the Dutch, Germans and Danish. But urban cycling has only been reborn in France in the last couple years so I’d imagine the statistics don’t look very good yet. I understand that’s changing quickly in Paris and other cities.

  3. Andy in Germany Says:

    I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I rarely see a German cycling like the person in the picture- possibly because in our area there are lots of cars and not many cycle facilities so you need both hands and eyes working 100% to avoid them. In the village we lives previously, it was too far to go anywhere holding a brolley…

    OTOH, maybe Germans are a bit too used to being cosseted by their subsidised metal monsters. I was told be a friend that Mercedes have now developed a seat belt that help you put it on. I think that says it all.

  4. David Hembrow Says:

    This was in a Fietsberaad nieuwsbrief back in November. I covered it at the time, and there were links at that time too. However, they now seem to be dead, which is rather a shame. There were other aspects of the comparison too, such as how likely people in the different countries are to use bikes at all, and how they use them.

  5. henry Says:

    Hi David,
    Oops, sorry. I didn’t catch in on your blog. I just saw it in the Vogelvrije Fietser without any attribution and posted it mostly just so I could translate the Dutch expression “…zijn van suiker”.

  6. Todd Edelman Says:

    In Berlin – at least in my area of town (Kreuzberg and Neukolln) bikepaths were not cleared of ice during our recent very cold January. I am sure it partly had to do with preventing de-icing agents from getting into the greenery, but then again less toxic versions are available and using them in just a narrow area would make cycling easier. No such luck. At the same the streets were dry as a bone. Fortunately you are allowed to ride in the street if the off-street path is not clear… but that just contradicts the reason for the separated infrastructure… I am curious what kind of de-icing materials are used on bikepaths in Amsterdam or other Dutch cities and towns.

    Anyway, since we are talking about moisture I would appreciate some info on powdercoating used on WorkCycles bikes… what is it, exactly?

  7. louis Says:

    Here in California, it’s not even terribly cold (mostly) when it rains. The issue is that auto drivers have such poor rain driving skills that the danger from cars seems to increase disproportionately in the rain. I didn’t feel the same way when living in Seattle or Portland, fwiw. I’m lucky in that I can choose to walk to the train station on rainy days to get to work, but many people don’t have the same option.

  8. Dave Says:

    Quite a few people ride in the rain in Portland, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with an umbrella – for one, most people ride road bikes, which are rather difficult to ride with one hand, and secondly, I think most people wouldn’t put up with the negative aerodynamics – they are mostly all huffing and puffing to go as fast as possible đŸ™‚

  9. henry Says:

    Can we start working on changing this silly term “road” bike. All bikes meant to be used on roads are “road bikes” while the common usage of the term specifically refers to “racing bikes” or “fast sport bikes” or something like that.

    In any case cycling with an umbrella only works when sitting upright and not going especially fast.

  10. henry Says:

    Todd, powder coating is paint finish that’s “blown” on as a dry powder, sticking to an electrostatically charged part. It’s then baked in an oven to cure. We use a couple different versions, all in multiple layers including an anticorrosion base layer with zinc. Some have two layers above that and others just a color layer.

  11. Dave Says:

    ok, racing bike it is đŸ™‚

  12. henry Says:

    Thanks Dave! From now on all bikes formerly known as “road bikes” will be referred to as “racing bikes”. It’s fitting considering that ‘racing’ is the point, whether it be against others, or just for the fun of it. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s different from bikes meant for transportation.

  13. Dottie Says:

    Cool picture! I rode in a heavy rain tonight (the first rain I’ve seen, instead of snow, in several months), but I was not holding an umbrella – too busy not getting run over by SUVs going over the speed limit paying no attention to the girl on her bike.

  14. henry Says:

    Dottie, I never ride with an umbrella either – not really my style. Quite a few people do though.

    The photo is great, and I take no credit for it!

  15. Todd Edelman Says:

    Another anecdote about the Dutch and rain: In autumn 2004 I was at a workshop in Groningen (north part of the country) where most of the post participants were from the ex-Soviet Union.

    We were walking across town in a light rain which turned a bit heavy. The Dutch woman who led the group keep on walking but the Georgians, Armenians, Estonias etc ran for cover.

    This probably has something to with how children are raised in both places. For example in a lot of ex-Soviet or Soviet bloc countries gas (methane) was very cheap so many homes were over-heated. I am not sure about the Netherlands….

  16. ubrayj02 Says:

    I’m sorry to jump into this discussion almost a year after it started, but I’d like to plug riding in the rain on one of Henry’s bicycles while holding an umbrella in one hand.

    The other night it was pissing down rain in Los Angeles (we got a few inches in one evening alone), and I had to ride my bike home in the “cold” weather (It got down to 40 Fahrenheit! Brrr.). I ride a Workcycles Bakfiets, and I had the rain tent up to protect some cargo. With one small umbrella, and the excellent design of this bicycle, the only thing that got wet on my ride home were the very tips of my toes and my right hand.

    Maybe you should start selling single water-proof gloves with each bike, Henry?

    I laughed and recalled the first night I rode the bike (two years ago) when I was brought to tears out of pure joy and a release of the grasp that driving holds over those of us raising kids in Los Angeles. Bravo on your fine bikes.

Leave a Reply