My Dutch Behind on a Macedonian Bicycle

Article published on May 18, 2010
Article published on May 18, 2010
Author: Mariska Regtvoort I’m from the country with the highest bicycle density in the world. They sometimes say that we are born on our bicycles. I think that can be true. In The Netherlands everyone has one or more bikes and you can see them everywhere. We use them every day to go to school, work and to go to the shop. And now I live in Skopje, Macedonia. There aren’t a lot of bikes here.
Everybody goes by car, takes the bus or just walks. Every day I walk more than 30 minutes to the office and back. I can’t imagine doing that at home. I know exactly one person who does that, but he’s an exception (in many ways). But I must say, I got used to it and now I even like it.

People in The Netherlands use their bikes all the time, for all kind of occasions. You can see people in casual clothes, but also in suits, in neat dresses, short skirts, sport clothes, it doesn’t matter. A bike is an easy and fast way to travel, especially in the city. Also it doesn’t matter if it’s cold or not, if the sun shines, or if it’s raining. The only thing that people may prevent from riding a bike is when everything is covered by a lot of snow.

In Skopje, that’s totally different. If people have a bike, they will wait till the spring has come and the weather is nice. For me that’s very strange and illogical. Why do you want to walk through the cold if you have a bike? I would be more than happy with a bike in that case, because it brings me home much quicker.

But now the spring has arrived, together with the nice weather. And now I’ve got my bike too. It’s fantastic!

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