There were many other cyclists, locals not touring, and most exchanged a friendly 'Gitt Dag'. The year before we had done a similar tour of Denmark and had noticed that people used bicycles extensively for transport, but rarely for recreation. In the Netherlands we saw family groups and couples just out for a spin along the bike paths. There were often three generations in a group, and smartly dressed women of all ages, some in their eighties and nineties.
We bought a picnic lunch at a supermarket in Oldemarkt and ate at a table by the river along the way. It was a hot day, over 30 degrees and it was a Monday. All the shops we passed after lunch were shut and there was nowhere to get a drink or top up our water bottles. Our throats became increasingly parched.
We had a, mistaken, idea that cafes opened at 4pm and detoured to a small village to try to find one. We found a cafe a few minutes before four o'clock and asked the lady in the house next door if it would open, or if there was anywhere nearby where we could buy a drink. She said no, but offered us a beer in her garden. She made us comfortable and went into the house to get the beer. It was some time before she returned and it later became apparent that she had been rounding up her two sons and a couple of their friends to meet us for an impromptu English lesson. The two boys were full of energy, wiry and fit, but polite and well behaved. They were clearly well brought up, and if that is typical of Dutch children we are more than impressed.
Most Dutch people speak some English and most young people are quite fluent. Apart from learning it at school much of the popular culture, TV, music and the Internet is in English. We didn't attempt to learn any Dutch. Learning useful phrases is worse than useless if you can't understand the reply. The exception is learning how to pronounce place names to ask directions; although keeping the map handy helps.