31 March 2015

Windy, Windy, Windy

As far as weather is concerned, most people think that the Netherlands is just full of rain. It's true that it rains a lot here, but for the most part, it's a light rain. It's annoying to ride a bike through but it doesn't stop you from going out. The Dutch simply employ their amazing balance skills and ride with one hand holding an umbrella and the other checking their mobile and go about their business. 

Except when the wind comes through. You know all those windmills the Dutch are famous for? Well, they don't work unless you have a lot of strong wind, and often. Great for grinding wheat into flour, not so great for cycling against. Today, depending on which weather app I consult, the winds are expected to blow around 50 kph/30 mph with gusts up to 80 kph/50 mph. Let me tell you how excited I am to ride to work...

I'm not.

This cutesy "wind" symbol doesn't properly express the dread
you ought to feel about leaving the house today.

A day like today can more than double a cyclist's commute if riding against the wind, and increase the travel time by about 50% if the wind is at your side. Admittedly, riding with the wind at your back gets you where you're going faster, but at the risk of taking flight if you hit a bump. Even living and cycling in Chicago, the Windy City*, doesn't prepare you for this sort of wind. The wind tunnels from the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago have nothing on the relatively open streets of Tilburg. Even as I'm typing I'm watching the tree tops stay bent at 30 degree angles for what feels like an impossible amount of time. 

Will that stop the Dutch cyclists? No. They'll look miserable going against the wind, but they'll be out in regular numbers because that's just what you do. I'll be along side them today, with bricks in my bags to keep my wheels on the ground.

Have you ridden through the Dutch winds? Or experienced some crazy wind elsewhere?

*As a history geek, I NEED to point out that while Chicago does get a lot of wind and can have strong gusts, the real reason for the nickname is the "windbag" politicians of the mid- to late-1800s. Know your cliches, kids.


  1. In Southern California we have Santa Ana's which are really strong dry hot winds and how I miss them! As a kid at school us girls mastered the holding down of our uniform skirts while clutching our books and papers while not eating a mouthful of hair!

    1. LOL! Hot winds sound much better than what we've been having this week!

  2. They won't hesitate to check hopeless looking from the wind it manually, still they shall be apart for daily information as it's just how you will do.
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