7 reasons why wielrenners (lycra bikers) need an intervention 

The lycra, my god 🫣

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a wielrenner. 🥴 Although, seeing as they’re decked out in skin-tight spandex from head-to-toe, ‘Superman’ might be what they were going for. 

Let’s just say, it takes a special kind of person to wriggle into a full-body lycra suit every morning (which probably also requires lying down and asking for the assistance of a family member) and then mount an athletically superior, two-wheeled machine designed to intimidate teenagers on their oma-fiets. 

We’re not talking about motorcyclists, no — we’re talking about wielrenners in the Netherlands: lycra-clad hobby cyclists zooming around on €3000 race bikes. 

Who are the real men beneath the masks/helmets? In their normal lives, they’re dads, husbands, grocers, cops, or bankers. But once they put on that suit, and step into their alter-egos, it’s as though they become one with their racefiets

Here are seven reasons why an intervention is truly needed: 

1. They bike too fast

Picture this: you’re cruising through the bike lane minding your own business, birds are twittering, and your thoughts are in a peaceful, meditative state. 

…Until the scene is rudely interrupted by a spandex-coated flash of lightning whizzing past you, very nearly severing your arm.

Wielrenners cycle at dangerous speed levels that never really seem justifiable. Seriously, 150 kilometres per hour on a normal bike path? And for what? 

READ MORE | 5 reasons the Dutch cycle without bike helmets

Sorry, but you breaking your personal fitness record can’t be more important to you than everyone else keeping their limbs intact…right? 

Every encounter with a wielrenner feels like a “close shave” that had a high chance of causing a crash — one that would entirely be their fault. 

The way they lean forward makes it seem like they’re always bracing for impact. Which…can and does happen, apparently 😬: 

2. They shout at everyone because…no bell 

If your peaceful biking session isn’t cut off by the abrupt presence of an unwanted spandex-clad pest — I mean, guest — maybe you’ll hear them first. 

Ah yes, the sound all other bikers and pedestrians have come to recognise. Piercing through the harmonious silence of nature, the sound of a grown man 15 metres behind you shouting: 

“PAS OP!”

“Watch out!”, he’ll say. Hah! Good one. 

Only you physically can’t watch out, because if you turn around to investigate the source of this noise, you run the risk of being decapitated. 

Also, his ticked-off tone implies that you’re the one who’s a nuisance to society for calmly trying to make your way to work. 

Seeing as a lycra biker’s skimpy racefiets usually doesn’t support a bell, their preferred method of alerting others to their unpredictable presence is, you guessed it, screeching bloody murder at the top of their lungs. 

At best, it’s just a bit anti-social. At worst, it’ll induce cardiac arrest for the faint of heart. 

Lycra bikers, we know you mean well, but please just tone the volume down a notch — it’s not as if we’re all wearing noise-cancelling headphones. 

3. They’re often on roads they shouldn’t be on 

Whether you’re on a horse trail, driving through the motorway, or walking, a wielrenner can manifest himself. They are omnipresent, and nobody’s safe. 

Try as you might, you can never entirely manage to escape the wrath of wielrenners

Remember, these people are shapeshifters, godlike entities existing outside of space and time, and normal traffic rules seem to evade them. 

If you wanna work out your glutes and hamstrings, that’s cool and all, just please don’t subject the rest of us to it everywhere, constantly.  

It’s a very dangerous sport, and maybe people should find a different way to blow off steam on weekends with buddies or take out their (potentially marital) frustration. 

4. They have visible netherregions no one asked to see 

Riddle me this: what’s more frightening than a wielrenner on a fiets

As it turns out, the answer to that is a wielrenner off of a fiets. Specifically, one that’s strolling around a shopping street just wheeling his bike beside him.

closeup-of-mans-crotch-wearing-lycra-for-road-cycling
The children, think of the children! Image: Freepik

A word of advice: if you want to spare your retinas from being scarred, avert your eyes. Pretend to be fixated on something that’s a 45 degree angle above their head. 

Whatever you do, don’t look down. Lycra is unforgivingly revealing, probably doesn’t allow room for boxer-shorts, and leaves very little to the imagination. 

READ MORE | 24 TikToks explaining why the Dutch are ahead of their time with bikes

5. They feel way too self-important

We get it, you own a racefiets, are among the only people in the Netherlands to wear helmets, and don’t have many other hobbies. But please come back down to Earth. 

The satisfied expression on their faces always seems to suggest, “Move, I’m a wielrenner. I’m better than you”. 

Not only are they convinced their legs have developed a superhuman strength that could out-pedal anyone — and to be fair, it is a little impressive — but they also expect to be given the right of way in any circumstance. 

Anecdotally speaking, I’ve seen them refuse to stop for even a sweet, old granny crossing the road.

They believe everyone should also respect what they see as a profound art form, but is truly just a recreational sport that needs to be taken less seriously.

Seeing how they aggressively dominate other bikes and pedestrian spaces makes you wonder if they’re not just in need of a thorough psychiatric evaluation. 🤷‍♀️ 

6. They creep up on you silently 

Silent but violent. Like a jaguar stalking its prey in complete stillness before it’s ready to pounce. 

The tires of a wielrenner’s bike are very thin, to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics, rolling resistance…yeah, who cares. 

The bottom line is that as the wheels of the bike go round and round, you won’t hear a sound.  

On one hand, this means they take up less space (luckily), but on the other hand, the ambush is made all the more petrifying — like a horror movie jumpscare. 

READ MORE | Where to buy a bike in the Netherlands: the ultimate beginner’s guide

7. They often come in large groups 

It’s basically a cult. Think dad’s fantasy football league but on wheels. 

That means if there’s one there’s bound to be several more, following in sudden succession. A full-blown herd stampeding through the clear, with smoke blowing out behind them. 

group-of-sports-cyclists-biking-on-cement-road-outdoors-wearing-multi-coloured-lycra-suits-and-helmets
This is just pure friendship. Image: Depositphotos

The hive mentality of the sport also means they’re trapped in an echo chamber of mutual encouragement from each other. And that is why they’ll never stop. 

Then again, we’re not sure life would be the same without them. Maybe the fabric of reality would disintegrate if we didn’t have to hold our breath anytime we make a turn while biking, or hear the familiar sound of voices screaming to “get out of the way”. 


In all seriousness, it’s fine, we get it, they’re just doing their thing. But maybe they could invest in a nice bell from HEMA from time to time?

How do you feel about wielrenners? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Feature Image:Freepik
Ellen Ranebo
Ellen Ranebo
As someone half Swedish and half Irish who has lived in the Netherlands, the UK, and attended an American School, Ellen is a cocktail of various nationalities. Having had her fair share of bike accidents, near-death experiences involving canals, and miscommunications while living here (Swedish and Dutch have deceptively similar words with very different meanings), she hopes to have (and document) plenty more in future.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. As a wielrenner myself (h living in the USA), I couldn’t agree with you more! Every point is, well… on point! I don’t really wear spandex (much) but do get to fairly high speeds. However, my philosophy is always, unless I have the right of way, nobody should have to brake for me, or have to go out of my way. Here in the US it’s mainly drivers that would be impacted and when I see wielrenners being dicks I always think, “You’re a driver too, you MUST know how annoying your behaviour is!” Besides, if (62 y/o in decent shape) can keep up with them, or pass them, they are not training for any prizes 😛
    So yes! Many, if not most, wielrenners definitely need an intervention!

  2. I biked in NL but was spared being assaulted by wielrenners. Just my luck I suppose. My first experience with such rudeness was in Arizona USA where I enjoy a leisurely ride on irrigation canal access roads. Meeting other bikers was pleasant until beginning to be forced off the path by spandex clad things coming straight at me head down out of control. Even if they saw obstacles ahead of them, they couldn’t avoid hitting anything unable to jump out of the way. I’ve always loved two wheeling and it feels strange to have the experience spoiled by such selfish boors. Boeren, houdt mij niet schuldig. In’t Engels een boor is iets anders.

  3. As an admirer of “High Speed Lycra-Clad Male Cyclists”, I would not want any intervention or change regarding their appealling outfits, as they whizz across the surfaces. The clear contours revealed of the Secondary Male Sexual Characteristics is (for a Dutch gay recreational long-distance & commuter cyclist like myself) wonderful to see and should be and is celebrated by many. I disagree vehemently that ‘the nether-regions should not be seen’. A massive continual display of female contours in the public domain is rife, it is time and fair for Secondary Male Sexual Characteristics to shine also! Believe me, even as a child I was not shocked by lycra-clad male cyclists. I am shocked (hetero) sexual women are so quickly offended. They clearly have a ‘blind spot’ for its beauty.

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