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Over here in Holland we use bikes for all of that. It gets you some free exercise and it's less polluting.

One helpful factor for bicycling in Holland is the flatness. It's relatively easy to get to work or shopping without having to climb a big hill. Other parts of the world aren't so blessed, and people who do ride to work feel like they have to shower before the work day, which reduces some people's desire to do so.

The weather also surely helps. I live in a moderately warm city (Buenos Aires), and temperatures go up to 30º or even almost 40º in the summer, and biking is a trip to hell and back.

I can't even imagine people closer to tropical climates trying to ride bikes anytime except winter.

What do people do who can't bike?

First, we have a law called Wet Maatschappelijke Ondersteuning[0] (and a 2015 update to it), which means "law for societal support", specifically aimed at helping everyone partake in society. Part of that is monetary support to buy, for example, a mobility scooter[1] if you have a disability that limits you in your freedom of movement otherwise. Many elderly use this.

Also gaining in popularity recently is the so-called "Duofiets", which is a two-person side-by-side tricycle[2], which lets people without a disability help out. Here's a video of a project that combines student housing with elderly care[3] (also an interesting project in itself) that shows off the bike halfway. My grandma was taken on daytrips with such a bike in the last years of her life, and it really brightened her day.

[0] https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/zorg-en-ondersteuni...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobility_scooter

[2] http://www.koekange.info/2015/03/fietsen-op-duofiets/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjRtaulQsZU

Cyclists never retire, they just buy a tricycle.

Hase Bikes in Germany build a wonderful range of adapted bicycles and tricycles that can accommodate almost any disability. If you're capable of moving your arms or legs, there's a cycle that will work for you.


That's the answer I was kind of expecting, thanks.

I presume that they learn how to bike.

If you meant to ask "What about people that physically can't ever bike (but can drive)?"

What percentage of the population, honestly, do you think that is? Out of shape people can lose weight and eventually learn to bike. Very few people can-drive-but-not-bike, and surely exceptions can be made for them.

Funny coincidence: just yesterday I helped out a (to all appearances) rather old man who had dropped his keys and had trouble leaning down to pick them up. His hands were shaking as I handed him the keys, and he gave off a very frail impression. He was cycling when he dropped his keys.

I remember being impressed by the fact that while this guy had so much trouble bending down, he was riding a (regular) bike.

I've also seen 'seriously' pregnant women bike around, men/women with a kid strapped to the front and back of the bike, with sometimes a third kid in a kart behind the bike. I also regularly see groups of elderly people on sports bikes (often with some electrical help though), as well as really young children.

There are plenty of people who really can't ride bikes, but probably far fewer than people from non-biking places assume.

No doubt. I wouldn't take away anyone's bike (unless I was their child or spouse, maybe), but I'd worry about old "frail" people on bikes. Their strength and flexibility declines (in general with individual exceptions), and a fall can debilitate or kill old people. Glad to see that three-wheelers are an option.

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