Almost every time images of Dutch people cycling are published in some form, someone will comment that it looks great, but then ask the question: “But what happens when it rains?” Well yes, it does rain in the Netherlands, but not as often as people seem to think. Let’s look (again) at what happens in the rain in this week’s post and video. Spoiler alert: we keep on cycling.
Recently user @urbanthoughts11 showed a short excerpt of a video of cycling in Utrecht on Twitter. It was a clip from a video called “Stroming” (steaming or flowing) from the YouTube channel Small places, showing the flow of cyclists in Utrecht, admittedly in very good weather. Inevitably someone (who does describe himself as grumpy) posed the question:
Interesting. However what happens when it’s raining…[…] It’s not the 1950’s anymore. Pure propaganda. I’m surprised there were no unicorns in shot.
That we even have a cycling culture seems to surprise some expats living in the Netherlands:
“seriously, in a country where it rains so much it surprises me that the bike is such a popular mode of transport. […] During a particularly heavy rainfall it can seem as though the entire country is submerged under an inch of water. And no good can come of a large puddle of water and an exposed cyclist. Whether it’s by the splashback from your own tyres or the huge spray generated by a mean-spirited motorist, you’re going to get wet.”
Another person asked the question on a forum:
How do people in the Netherlands ride bicycles to work during winter or rainy weather?
A Dutch person rightfully answered:
The same way they do on a sunny day; they sit on the seat and push the pedals. The only difference is in the clothes 😉
Although people don’t like rain, our investigation shows that 4 out of 5 people who generally cycle to work are not stopped by it. Despite the rain they still take their bicycles. Most will opt to ride 5 to 10 minutes later to wait for the rain to pass. And why not? Of the respondents 73% states that their employer is understanding when they are a little later for work due to the weather circumstances.
This is an interesting observation. Since so many of the Dutch cycle we are all in this together. Nobody bats an eye when people walk around in wet trousers or a wet skirt on a rainy day, or when they step into a meeting with rain dripping from their hair. That is easily accepted when half the people in the office walk around like that.
The company also studied historic weather records, which unveiled some interesting stats.
Summer is the wettest season
Wednesday is the least wet working day
It rains least between 9am and 10am
That last bit of information resonated with me. Indeed, whenever I got wet riding to work in the morning, I would still be sitting at my desk with my trousers all wet and the rain would always stop. I now know that feeling is right!
If you need concrete tips on how to combat the rain while cycling (in the Netherlands). The blog Iamexpat has you covered.
So what does happen when it rains? We deal with it and cycle on!
It wasn’t the first time I saw people riding in the Rotterdam rain. I filmed for this post on Wednesday 3 February 2021. The same day I also filmed the Maastunnel. I rode to that tunnel in this weather and I also did not wear a rain suit.