How can you continue biking when your body starts showing undeniable signs of ageing? Simple, just get an e-bike and bike for the rest of your life like a pro!
The Dutch love a good bike, so it’s no wonder they use plenty of e-bikes too — and while they’re often a danger to their surroundings, we kinda love the vibe! 💪🏽
What is it?
It’s no news that Dutch people bike — a lot. From when they’re very young, throughout their teenage years, the duration of their university lives, and into the grownup stage.
Dutchies bike and bike, wherever and whenever they need to go somewhere. 🚲 So, of course, old Dutch people bike as well.
People 65 to 75 cycle more than any adult group in the Netherlands.— Dutch Cycling Embassy (@Cycling_Embassy) January 6, 2022
Not because they’re super-human, but because of the traffic-calmed streets and segregated cycle networks. These environments allow them to participate in society far longer into old age.https://t.co/aQYOcZOPfY pic.twitter.com/uutvqTiQ8i
But what do you do when the joints start squeaking, the muscles start giving in, and the energy levels are not what they once were? You get an e-bike, duh!
Having lived in the Netherlands for three years, I cannot count the number of times I’ve stared in shock as a 90-something-year-old on an oma-fiets (grandma bike) overtakes me in the bike lane.
How on earth can she bike that fast when I’m already sweating!? It’s an e-bike, of course. 🧏🏽♀️
But it’s not all fun and games when the elderly Dutchies bring out their speedy bikes. Accidents are common, and some even end with fatalities.
It doesn’t help that those old Dutchies are just like younger ones: they don’t give a f*ck about pedestrians as long as they get from A to B as fast as humanly possible.
Crashing is a risk you accept when biking in the Netherlands. 🤷🏽♀️
Why do they do it?
One explanation might simply be that biking is such an integral part of the Dutch lifestyle, so it feels totally unnatural to give it up for something as insignificant as old age.
It is, after all, the easiest, healthiest, and most fun way you can get around in the Netherlands! It would be straight-up silly and boring to stop biking if you ask the Dutch.
Considering the (by now, well-established) fact that the Dutch bike all the time, you’d think they were super-healthy, right?
Well, the Netherlands actually ranks surprisingly low on the World Population Review’s overview of the world’s healthiest nations, at just 15th place (after both Spain and Israel, but just above Cameroon)…
Perhaps the elderly Dutchies have become aware of their potential for improvement and taken matters into their own hands to upgrade the national public health standard. 👨🏽⚕️
Why is it quirky?
While most old people accept defeat and stop moving when their bodies tell them to stop, Dutch people are not built for sitting still (or, apparently, sitting in a car).
Their determined and hard-working spirit shows up in more ways than one, but the unstoppable biking culture is probably the most noticeable one.
Why stop biking just because you can’t move like you once did? 👵🏽
Should you join in?
If you’re lucky enough to grow old in the Netherlands, you should definitely join in on the e-bike trend once your body starts resisting the traditional bike.
But be careful, and try not to turn into another traffic hazard if you can avoid it!
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2022 and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.