A surprising oddity in Germany, at least for me as a Dutch person, is how they here think you MUST change into weird looking sports gear before you step on a bicycle. It's a weird cult, IMHO ;)

Reading through the comments here and over on Twitter - it seems to be that as bicycles are (still) for quite some not a normal mode of transportation like walking, they fall for the marketing geniuses that instill in them a need to "dress up" for this very special occasion ;)

And that is probably the main thing. For me, riding a bicycle for up to 25 km doesn't count as sport activity to prepare for. It's just going from A to B. On my elegant, heavy Gazelle. In my normal day outfit.

Here’s a well-made explanation of the (not only) Dutch way of looking at bicycles like the one I have.

@jwildeboer It's part of the «bicycle is not for everyone» culture, and allows for not bothering for bicycle as a mean of transportation.

Same in France.

@jwildeboer Do they use sports gear when doing sport in The Netherlands?
Normal people don't wear something different when cycling. 🙂

It's the same in Germany.

@jwildeboer I find that the Belgians are a lot like that as well.

@jwildeboer especially when theyre prancing around the Office in that attire for everyone to see that they performed their monthly bike ride

The MAMIL ratio might be different on route and time of day, but I can't say that they are the largest part of fellow cyclists I met in Munich #BergAmLaim or surrounding districts.

Since bike routes are sometimes rather bad, I understand everybody who uses a bike with wide tires, wide handle bars and shock absorbers.

@bergamlaimerin my daily commute (Trudering to Technopark Vaterstetten) is filled with office drones in Lycra :) And I welcome every single one of them for using a bicycle instead of a car. But sometimes I really struggle to not laugh out loud. It’s just too funny. But I also drive this one. So really, fundamentally different approach.



This is typical south.

In the north it's "you are born with 'fiets unnern Mors" (born with bike under your back). The only sportive clothing is our Ostfriesennerz (a, mostly yellow, heavy rain coat)

OK, to be honnest, friesland reaches from the island of Terschelling along the German coastline up to the island Ameland in Denmark.

Holland is only a small province south of Friesland.


I don't think so, that it is typical south, I've seen "sporty" persons with "proper bike clothing" in all european countries, north and south.

Its more a mind set between "I am doing a SPORT with the PROPER EQUIPMENT" or "I am just using this bike since it is a nice way to travel, I do the sport just casually (or at least don't admit to do it with some intensity)". Everyday cyclists with normal clothing are many in Munich.


@coastgnu @jwildeboer

There are more helmets, thought. And some cyclists use signal coloured wests or such, in the hope they might be seen by the notoriously blind German car drivers.

@bergamlaimerin @coastgnu I just really wish more pedestrians would wear those. The amount of times I nearly hit one of those "evening walks with the dogs" people wearing very dark jackets and trousers - it's just unbelievable.

I once drove down a bike way in rural Germany and suddenly sth started gasping and sth else started screaming. Only then I realized a dog's leach had gotten into my front wheel. It was a "night walker" and his tiny dog. One on the left and the other one on the right side of the way. The dog survived fortunately.
@bergamlaimerin @coastgnu

@jwildeboer @coastgnu

I once nearly hit a mother with a pram - no light, no reflector, on a street without sidewalk where cars were allowed.

After that I invested in a really bright light for my bike.

(And the pram we had for our child was enhanced with reflectors and lights.)

A lot of dogs colors now have these LED lights, luckily.



Did You know, for aboriginal frisians Osnabrueck is a suburb of Palermo.

So my previous post also had this intention.

You call us 'Saupreisn', for us you are Sicilians.

And so is the view Frisians have to Holland.

My post was a teasing remark between Frisians and Hollanders and also between Frisians and 'Sicilians'.

You've been tricked...


Let's be honest though, you also are not very casual with your bike :)

I mean it is a city bike, yes, but you clearly spent some time on choosing it and relevant gear which fits your style. The bags look really cool btw.

So I'd say you are also geeky about it, just in a slightly different direction :)

@bookwar It's really mostly standard, except for the bags. And the little camera holder. The bags are very special. My grandfather had (of course) the same kind of bicycle. And these are his bags. Hand made, around 80 years ago. From good leather. My mother has kept them after he passed away. And gave them to me as soon as she saw the bike :)

@bookwar It's definitely a little dream to have the Tour Populair. Gazelle has made this model for most of the time they exist. It's still, for me, THE incarnation of The Dutch Bicycle, yes :) I am proud to have it!

@bookwar I did swap out the handlebar. As I bought it in Munich, it came with the German style 45° handlebar. Which I absolutely do NOT accept :) I swapped it out for the dutch 85° version. Tradition demands it :)

@jwildeboer I remember how I visited Amsterdam once. And we got far away from a usual touristic routes and to some business area.

And then there was a huge business building - glass and metal skyscraper. And the bicycle parking lot in front of it - completely full with bicycles, hundreds of them. And _all_ those bicycles were black.

Only one single bright orange was popping in that crowd.

And we joked that it is either a janitor or a CEO of the company.

@jwildeboer This is so awesome, and so Dutch :)

Bicycle bags as a family heirloom.

@jwildeboer If I sit on my bike to do actual sports (riding multiple hours), I find sports clothing to be really practical. If I just roll down to the cafe, I *might* slap on sun glasses for the way and that's it.

But then I'm not in Germany :-)

@betabug I don't put on my running shoes to walk to the shop either ;)

@jwildeboer As typical for Germany, this is highly regional. Bicycles are seen as completely normal means of transportation in the north of the country. If you put something on to get on a bike, it's of these special raincoats.

@sqrt2 Sure there are regional differences. And sure it is more obvious here in the southern part. Also when thinking in the mountains. The North Face/Jack Wolfskin army ;) While I put on my hiking boots and wear whatever is comfy.

@jwildeboer @sqrt2 I disagree that this is a north vs. south thing. People in Freiburg (which is in the south for most folks) don't wear sportswear while cycling the city, unless they intend to do sport.

But Freiburg is a bicycle city, cycling is a normal daily activity not needing anything special (outside of a helmet maybe). And I guess that's the pattern I would expect: if cycling is normal in your region, you'll not see many people in colorful dresses.

@schaueho @sqrt2 It was just a funny observation from my side :) There are other weird things in Germany too. Like the "we only wear very dark clothes when walking the dog in the dark" thing that I really fail to understand. Especially in Autumn/winter. Wear some bright colours, people! :) Jackets don't have to always be dark green, brown or black :)

@jwildeboer If I get a second bicycle someday, it is going to be one of those comfortable city bikes. But as I own only one now, I had to choose a more universal thing which fits both 500m to the supermarket scenario as well as for day trip for 60 km of the Ruhrtalweg.

But I did get two rear baskets for the comfortable shopping experience. And I don't change clothes to go shopping or to the office :)

@jwildeboer This makes a lot of sense to me. When I was younger, I tried using a bicycle to get around UC Berkeley for a while. The hostile traffic system and steep hills were a major problem, but so was the technical complexity of my bicycle and associated equipment.

Switching gears was very difficult in particular, taking careful concentration, and practically impossible for me to do correctly while dealing with anyone else on the road.

@jwildeboer I used to ride in a low sitting position. Until a friend recommended I raise the saddle. So that's the one thing shown I don't get. I love to go fast wherever I go and that wouldn't be enjoyable if I was sitting low 🤔

Not Just Bikes is a very good channel regarding city planning.

@jwildeboer 25 km in the Netherlands or around Munchen means that serius uphill on the way is only a bridge. Here in Brno it means 300m up and down. That means sweat.


Wasn't there a similar thing for cars when they were new, in the early 1900s? People had special clothes for driving, special scarves and hats I think.

There might be some cultural reason for this?

@jwildeboer This is the thing that I have noticed from living in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Dutch people tend to see bikes as just another transport option, whereas in other countries cycling is seen more as a sporting or leisure activity.


Dutch people tend to see bikes as just another transport option

Absolutely. Much, much cheaper than a car, and hardly any problem parking it. And you don't get into trouble with the law if you drink a few beers and mount your bike ;-)

Most people I know, who use bikes every day, only use rain and winter clothing apart from their usual outfit.

People in bike clothing typically either look like ones that are really doing this as sport, or like ones that don't use their bikes very often.

@jwildeboer I have a theory there's a direct relationship between hilliness and weird looking sports gear for bicycle riding.

Osaka is flat as a pancake and there's a total absence of spandex.

Santa Cruz county in California is super hilly and it's spandex for everyone.

what happens if you don't change into such weird-looking clothes to bike? do they then give you weird looks, or do people go as far as trying to stop you to remind you to put them on? some of the most curious aspects of such unstated social norms is not so much the norm itself, but the "enforcement" mechanisms
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