Amsterdam through British eyes

How to cycle when you’re drunk


We’ve all been there. It’s already 4am and you’ve had one too many drinks in the bar. Now, you have four choices. You can either wait for the night bus, walk, get a taxi, or you can cycle tipsy and hope that you get home in one piece. Most people will attest to the fact that the night bus is a pain. It comes once every half an hour or so and it takes forever to get home. Taxi’s are too expensive (no, I am not paying 20 euro to get 5km away thanks), and walking – depending on how far away from home you are, is long and annoying, especially at 4am in the morning.

Of course cycling while you’re drunk is illegal, and the possibilities for getting injured are even higher (think concussions, broken limbs, and generally painful things). I recently saw a post advising against drink cycling, but the problem with telling people not to cycle when they’re tipsy/drunk, is that we are dealing with people whose judgement is impaired. Hello Amsterdam.

To reiterate, cycling while drunk is illegal (in case you weren’t sure already), so if you do something really stupid and cause an accident then you will be the one in trouble. However, if you’re going to cycle when you’re drunk I’ve put together some handy tips on how.

Cycle slower than you normally would: Many people have said to me when they cycle home drunk they feel like they are cycling really fast, when they are probably going slower than they normally would. Still. Slow. Down. Your reaction time is slower, so if you’re cycling at a normal pace the time it will take you to brake is going to be longer than if you were sober (obviously).

Don’t take anyone on the back or the front of your bike: This is a recipe for disaster – not only do you have to deal with your centre of balance, but add an extra person in and the possibilities for falling off are endless (especially if they are planning on running alongside you while you get moving and then hopping on the back). Don’t do it.

Focus on the horizon regularly: This will help you to balance more effectively, but make sure the horzion isn’t your only focus – you need to pay as much attention as possible to other cyclists, cars and traffic lights. And make sure you don’t jump a red light either.

Forget cycling in icy or snowy conditions: Unless you want to give the pavement a kiss. Black ice is bad even when you’re not drinking. Pay for a taxi, wait for the bus, or walk.

Make sure your bell and lights are working: This goes hand in hand with the cycling slower. The more people that can see and hear you, the less likely you are to have an accident. You could also sing loudly, but that might invite unwanted attention from the police.

broken bike bell

Not a good bike bell to use to cycle when you’re drunk

Ladies, don’t cycle in heels unless you’re a pro at it when you’re sober: If you’re even a little bit tipsy and not very confident on heels you could get injured. (Yes, I did sprain my ankle while cycling home once, and it was really painful – I even had flat shoes in my bag).


This is a terrible idea

DISCLAIMER . If you do choose to cycle under the influence, I will not be held responsible for what happens. I do not claim to be giving legal, medical, or professional advice. The information I provide is for entertainment purposes only, so if you choose to use any of the information available on this site, you do so strictly at your own risk.




    Oh, I loved this article! I’m always the first one to get on my bike when going home from a party… It usually ends well, but last year I actually ended up in an river after cycling on a bridge. Luckily I got saved by a nearby hunk 🙂

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