In my final post for the moment about Hollands Spoor Station, I am always amazed about how many people in the Netherlands cycle… in fact there are said to be around 14 million bikes in the Netherlands, and with a population of about 17 million people that’s some serious cycling.
What’s even more amazing is how often these bikes are used… forget just taking the bike out for a Sunday jaunt maybe if the weather is nice, No: the Dutch ride their bikes daily, in rain, hail, sleet and shine.
Due to my lung condition I’m the only non-cyclist in our household, but our home still currently boasts four bikes, plus a child’s ”step” (a non-motorised scooter) and a unicycle that Kiwi Daughter is admirably proficient in riding.
Until a short while ago we had several more kid bikes on top of this tally too but they’ve gone to the neighbours after our kids grew a bit big for them.
Bikes here in the Netherlands are regularly seen overloaded with goods you wouldn’t think possible on a bike: Amongst the things I’ve personally seen locals peddling down the city cycle paths with are: a mattress for a double bed (I was waiting for a tram and when this guy went past everyone in the tram halt laughed and then loudly cheered and encouraged him on), a man balancing large IKEA-like flat pack furniture, a bedside cabinet perched on the back carrier…
And then there are the human cargo’s: a girl peddling whilst her boyfriend on the back carrier held on to two crates of beer, one on each side, a young guy peddling with a girl on the bar, another on the handlebars and a third on the carrier behind, and people carrying kids, groceries, shopping parcels and flowers in such massive quantities that the tyres were squished almost flat to the road… and much more too much to detail in one blog post.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s common practice for Dutch train commuters to own two or three bikes: two will be old bikes that are hopefully not worth stealing… one gets ridden from home to the train station, and left locked up in the bike racks there, the other is waiting in a bike rack at the Station of their destination and get ridden from the station to work. The process is reversed for the journey home.
Often there will also be a “good” bike at home that lives in the hallway, or in the garden shed if you are lucky enough to have a garden or kept in a “fietsstalling“ ( with a paid local bike storage business). This is the more expensive bike that’s used for recreational touring, social trips etc.
This cycle “garage” at Hollands Spoor is actually rather small if you compare it to for instance the one at The Hague’s Central Station… but the limit is more imposed by lack of space around Hollands Spoor Station rather than by lack of numbers of bikes needing to be parked.
Over time, I’ve photographed it from a distance, from inside and from the trams that run alongside it: Let’s take a look…