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How do I survive cycling in Utrecht?

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The road to success is one of trial and error. The same applies to student life. As a veteran, fifth-year student Nina explains how things should not be done. For example, it is not convenient to spend your newly paid student grant on gin-tonic’s - even if they are only 5 euros. Today: how do I survive cycling in Utrecht?

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I grew up in Eindhoven, characterised by a spacious and well-arranged infrastructure. At my high school, there was a boy who cycled with a helmet on and who always exaggeratedly indicated his direction with his hand. I thought he was a loser. But now that I live in Utrecht, I have to reconsider the opinion of my 14-year-old self. This man understood the way the world worked. Every cycling trip through Utrecht is equivalent to a suicide attempt

Failed the bicycle exam
The problem in Utrecht is two-fold. First of all, you have your fellow traffic users. I do not believe that anyone in Utrecht has passed his bicycle exam, because it is genuinely a survival of the fittest. You should not be surprised if you are cut by someone who overtakes you on the right and then also gives you the finger. You are not going to change that, so you can only try to be the least irritated as possible.

Of course, I am a source of annoyance myself sometimes as well. For example, it is not advisable to cycle for the first time standing up and without hands in the bustle of Utrecht. Certainly not if you aren’t even capable of doing that while sitting. I tried that once, and you might not expect it, but it didn't go very smoothly. And my fellow road users could not particularly appreciate it.

Not de Uithof, but Bunnik
The second problem that you encounter as a brand new cyclist in Utrecht is that there is little logic to the road network. The history of the city is visible. There are alleys, courtyards, corners and opportunities to cross everywhere. For example, in my first year I accidentally cycled to Bunnik instead of De Uithof. Experience is a more loyal friend than your telephone here, not in the least because that would make you risk that fine of 95 euros.

If you are nevertheless determined to participate in the Utrecht cycling jungle, then you, of course, must have a bicycle. In the past five years, my bicycles have been stolen a billion times and I have made some fatal crashes, making others unusable. You can buy your stolen bicycle back on any street corner, but - with a bleeding heart - I have always opted for the ethically justifiable route. However, after bike number eight it became so expensive that I switched to those bikes with the blue tires that every student ever cycles on. Not to be mentioned brand, I am eternally grateful to you.

Do you wonder how you can survive something in the student life in Utrecht? Cantussen, bus 12, student slang, or do you just want a suggestion for your Tinderbio? App your question / comment / flirt to Nina on +31618975307. Advice is guaranteed. Whether it will get you anywhere, is yet to be seen.

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