If you know anything about the Netherlands at all, then you might know that we are fanatic cyclists. We cycle everywhere: to university, to the grocery store, to a party late at night. Nothing will stop us from taking our bike when going out, not even the weather. So, as a true Dutchie, one of the first things I bought here was, of course, a bike. However, I soon realised that the experience of cycling here was quite different than what I was used to. Therefore, I decided to help my fellow bike lovers out with some tips on how to survive cycling in Ireland.
Tip 1: Getting Started
My first tip does not have anything to do with cycling itself, but with how and where to buy a bike. There is a nice website called www.donedeal.ie which is ideal for buying or selling second hand products. The marketplace on Facebook is also a great way to search for a bike, however, be on the lookout for scammers.
Tip 2: Get a bike that works
To prevent any accidents from happening, make sure that your bike is in good working order. While in Rotterdam I might have gotten away with not properly working brakes and no lights (always living on the edge), here in Ireland that is an absolute no go. Every Tuesday, a bike mechanic is at the UL courtyard to fix minor issues regarding your bike for free! Additionally, I would recommend getting a bike with a mudguard, this will save you a lot of trouble with wet clothes ;).
Tip 3: Left, right or somewhere in between
This tip might sound obvious, but make sure you stay on the left side of the road. This one is for all those out there who are not used to being on the left side of the road.
Tip 4: Watch out for cars
Cars here do not like people on bikes, I repeat, cars here do not like people on bikes. I have been told that almost all car drivers are silently cursing out people on bikes when they encounter some. In my own experience, I have noticed that even at pedestrian crossings, it is not a hundred percent sure that they will stop for you. Therefore, you always need to be careful, especially when biking on the road when there are no cycling lanes available.
Tip 5: Have fun!
Lastly, it is important to just have fun! Go out for a ride with your friends. The route alongside the river Shannon is beautiful, especially now in autumn. Cycling is a fun and easy way to explore the area and to stay fit at the same time. A win-win situation!