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Dutch promote cycling’s ‘triple whammy’

More than 200 orange-clad cyclists accompanied Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in exploring and promoting Calgary’s bike paths yesterday.

More than 200 orange-clad cyclists accompanied Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in exploring and promoting Calgary’s bike paths yesterday.

Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike! came to Calgary for the first time this year though the Netherlands has hosted the event in other Canadian cities.

Hans Driesser, the consul general in Vancouver, calls biking “a triple whammy: It’s good for your health; it’s good for transportation; and it’s good for the environment.”

“We have a very ancient biking culture in the Netherlands. In Calgary it is just beginning,” said Driesser. “You must lure people in a light way to using the bicycle.”

He hopes the event will do just that, and help promote the Netherlands on the side.

Will Van Tiel, a Calgarian from the Netherlands, enjoyed the festivities with his mother and kids.

“In the Netherlands, everyone rides their bikes,” Van Tiel said. When there’s a special occasion or something, you see bikes stacked up. In this city it’s getting expensive to park downtown, but you can park your bike anywhere!

“I do see that in Calgary, there’s a lot of recreational biking, but I do not see many people going shopping or commuting on bikes,” he said.

In the Netherlands, where there are more bicycles than people, 27 per cent of all trips are made by bikes.