People who ride bikes in the UK are mostly fit, confident young and middle-aged men. Sure there are outliers of course (such as retired tricyclist blogger Zandranna) but these are exceptions to the rule and do not make up numbers of significance. Cycling in the UK does not offer equal opportunities for all.
These picture posts aim to show how good quality infrastructure means that people of all ages and abilities choose to use a bike for transport and leisure, unlike the UK style of riding on the road with cars and vans, which will mainly appeal to those fit, confident men aged 20-50.
So here I present photos of older people riding bikes. These are scenes which are rare in the UK but are commonplace and unexceptional in the Netherlands. As with my previous picture post, my brief trips to the Netherlands yielded so many photos that I had a hard time selecting which ones to use. I dare say you could hang around for a month in most British towns and never find any scenes like these.
The first photo shows a group of people out for a ride together. Note the friend in a mobility scooter further ahead. In the Netherlands, cycle infrastructure is designed to also be suitable for people with disabilities, which means that everyone has very high levels of independence and freedom.
Let’s see your Bikeability achieve that, Franklin fans!
And finally, an old favourite! I like this one a lot because it really does demonstrate how the Dutch infrastructure allows people of all ages and abilities to get around safely and easily. Can you imagine this man having the freedom to ride a bike around your town or village, or in the British countryside?
7 responses to “Cycling in the Netherlands picture post #5: Older people”
You do have one picture – fifth one down, chap in a short-sleeved check shirt – who I’d guess is about my age. I’m still battling the streets of London, but that will only be for another 2 1/2 years until I retire from full-time work, after which I suspect I will become an endangered species.
For Christmas I treated myself to a bike like that – German rather than Dutch, perrhaps with more gears to choose from, but otherwise much the same – and it really was a pleasurable sensation, feeling an impetus to slow down rather than to speed up which is the normal London riding instinct. Or at least until the bus driver in Aldwych attempted to spare the welfare state from paying for my care in my old age! Just as well then that I was only getting it home to “the country” where it will serve as my shopper.
Riding a bike also makes you FEEL less old. For those of us suffering from arthrosis, biking is a good way to keep the joints less stiff, even or especially in cold weather.Easier than walking and certainly much better than sitting on your bum in a car.
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