A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Four (random) things you need to know about biking in The Hague – for all newcomers to biking…
1) You cannot park your bike wherever you want, even if it seems like it
Whenever I need to park my bike for a longer time (more than 1h) I feel most comfortable leaving it behind in the company of other bikes. My thought behind this is two-folded: 1) If someone wants to steal a bike they might not even see my bike in the crowd, therefore it´s less likely to get stolen (this has worked out very well for me so far. Knock on wood. I am still with my first bike ;)) and 2) If many people decide to park their bikes at a certain spot, I assume that it is very likely to be a legal and save spot. This has not worked out too well… often the Gemeente is very strict with certain areas – like the Central Station – and confiscates those bikes that are not properly parked in the designated areas… In such cases, you have to check online, if your bike got registered, and is ready to be picked up for a charge of 25€ (http://www.fietsdepothaaglanden.nl/).
Lesson: Be careful where to park your bike. Best is, if you either find an empty slot in the parking area, or you are able to squeeze it somewhere in-between, preferably so that it doesn’t stick out too much – maybe the workers from the Gemeente will turn a blind eye to you.
2) You won’t leave Holland without having learned, how to put the chain of your bike back on
A fallen-off chain is, besides a stolen bike and flat tires, probably the most common problem you will encounter as an active biker. So you better learn how to put it back on (by studying the instructions on this website for example: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/cycling-weekly/toolbox-tips-getting-chain-back-132820) or befriend people, who are skillful with bike reparations.
3) You can survive without a bike pump
There will always be someone you can borrow it from, and if not, you will find pumps in front of most bike shops that bikers in need can use – free of charge, but usually only when the bike shop is open.
4) You will get stroooong muscles in the daily fight against storm and rain
Having lived in several cities located close to the sea, The Hague is by far the windiest. Occasionally, I even need to get off my bike – not because I am too weak, but because the wind is too strong! Or may be both 😉