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Double riding or carrying a passenger (a.k.a. “dinking”) is a common, everyday method of bicycling in Amsterdam.

I have an affinity when I see two people together on one bike. Even though I was mildly perplexed at first why someone wouldn’t want to ride their own bike. But after double riding for the first time, I was hooked. My only stipulation is that I get to pedal. Either way, it’s just a fun and sociable way for two people to visit a park, go to movies or head over to a bar.

Couple double riding on one bike in Amsterdam

Curious, I conducted a survey and created some infographics. I found there are four main ways of double riding. I was also interested in the relationship between men and women and included them in my findings. This is my tribute to this iconic biking practice.

Counting bicyclists Double Riding in Amsterdam

I casually counted 1500 bicyclists carrying passengers over the course of 18 months. There is less than a 2% margin of error. I would record five bicyclists at a time to my phone. I found that I could easily remember this number before things get muddled in my head. If I wasn’t 100% certain of the accuracy of the five, I dismissed the count and started again at zero.

Are there more ways of double riding?

Of course! But they would constitute less than 1% of the total number of bicyclists with passengers so they weren’t included. Children and young adolescents weren’t counted since their bodies can contort into all kinds of positions, creating a low percentage of anomalies.

1. Side-saddle

double riding side-saddle infographic

The common ‘side-saddle’ makes up 77% of all double riding in Amsterdam, making it the most common style of double riding. It’s the preferred method for women to hitch a ride with their male counterparts. It’s also the most popular way for Dutch dames to ride together. Since a majority of bikes in Amsterdam have back racks, it’s the easiest and most convenient way to travel.

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | The Side-saddle

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | The Side-saddle

2. Wheelbarrow

double riding wheelbarrow infographic

Arguably the most comfortable ride, but at just 3.5% is the bull frog style of riding. It certain instances in can also be the most difficult. Steering can mimic that of a loaded wheelbarrow if the front-rack isn’t attached to the down tube. There is variance with this riding style, but it can be the most sociable way to travel when the passenger faces the driver.

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | Wheelbarrow method

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | Wheelbarrow method

3. Bullfrog

double riding bullfrog infographic

I refer to this style of riding as the ‘Bullfrog.’ The dangling legs of the passenger often resemble those of a frog when viewed from behind. With the pelvis right behind the driver’s rear end, it’s the least feminine way to travel. It’s the most common style for Dutch men to ride together.

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | The Bullfrog

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | The Bullfrog

4. Top Tube

double riding top tube infographic

The least common but perhaps the most endearing style of riding is with a passenger sitting on the top tube. Women are almost exclusively the passengers. Credit must go to the Dutch bicycle brand Vanmoof that contributes to a higher percentage of this style of riding. The thick, straight top tube provides a more stable ride while being straddled by the drivers arms.

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | Top Tube method

Carrying a Passenger in Amsterdam | Top Tube method

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Jim Moore says:

    I suggest there would be much more top-tubing if there were more bikes with them in AMS but IIRC about 60% of all bikes in AMS don’t have them, because they’re unisex and not “girl’s bikes”.
    I suspect there’s also a strong correlation with the sexuality that passengers want to portray and the style chosen.

  • Nikolay says:

    My wife prefers standing on the back rack. Russia. But ppl often find it’s amusing. “Hey, are you from a circus or what?”

    • Gus says:

      Haha. That’s great and keep it up! It’s mainly kids that stand on the back rack in Amsterdam but I’ve seen a few adults do it too.

  • Mary Rose says:

    Is there not a weight limit to all of those riding positions? I’ve been trying to figure out how to give a friend a ride on my bike, and I can’t find a rack that can support more than 130 lbs. Most adult Americans weigh more than this, which may be part of the difference in accessibility – people in Amsterdam probably weigh less than most Americans.

    • Gus says:

      Hi Mary. Most back racks have a weight limit between 25-40 kilos and aren’t meant for carrying adults. Weight on the tire would be a more of a concern. But people do it anyways.

      Typically these are pretty short commutes as well, 10 minutes or less where comfort becomes more of an issue.

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