Biking is crazy

Text author: Ralph van der Zijden

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Crazy enough?

When you grow up in The Netherlands, like I did, it is most likely you start riding a bicycle soon after you learn how to walk, and only stop shortly before you can’t walk anymore. That basically means that the average Dutch person bikes between the age of 3 and 80. No matter if you’re rich or poor, nerd or cool, girl or boy, gay or straight, unemployed or prime-minister: everybody bikes.

When something becomes as common as breathing, the sun coming up every day, brushing your teeth or the sun going down every day, you don’t wonder about it too much. The same is true for cycling in Holland. You go to school by bike, you go to parties by bike, you go shopping by bike and you go to work by bike. You bike when it’s sunny, you bike when it’s raining, you bike when it’s hot and you bike when it’s cold.


I never wondered about biking as being something special until I moved to Belgrade in 2011. I started iBikeBelgrade, showing Belgrade to visitors, by bike. It seems very logical to me to go around Belgrade by bike. Belgrade is too big to go around by foot, and bike-tours are very common in all big cities in Europe. But soon enough I noticed that people in Belgrade thought I was some professional biker, or some pro-bike-activist, and most definitely crazy. 

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Dutch prime-minister cycling in the rain

Only when I came back in Holland after my first months of biking in Belgrade I realized that it is not strange that not many people bike in Belgrade, but that it is Holland which is strange. Belgrade had made me realize that biking every day, everywhere isn’t normal at all. Bikers are actually crazy, thus so am I. But oh, how great it feels to be crazy together with 16 million other crazy people!

So let’s hope that more people in Belgrade will become crazy. Already every last Saturday of the month 50, 60 , sometimes 100 people meet with their bikes at Republic Square in Belgrade to ride around the city for an hour. And every month, for an hour, it feels good to know I’m not the only crazy person in Belgrade…


Text author: Ralph van der Zijden

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