Bicycles in the Netherlands are an essential piece of daily transport used by about a third of the population every day.
Many people don’t own a car so the bike might be their only mode of transport.
Grocery shopping, delivering offspring to crèche, school, after school events, sports, visits to family members, friends for a cup of coffee, Birthday celebrations, annual events, and the massive miscellanea of everything else you can think of in-between, means that bikes come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
The most popular bikes are what look like what might be described as “old man” or “old lady” bikes. Thick sturdy frames, solid, heavy beasts.
Come on, think about it, just a few posts back, I showed you a photograph of my street… believe me, this type of Dutch street eats modern 10-speed bikes for breakfast and rattles them down to warn-out-nothings in next to no time.
Streets like mine, see a 10-speed coming and let out an evil chuckle.
The bikes built for speed are kept safely out of the way of the daily utilitarian chores that other bikes so dutifully preform and kept for recreation or serious sport on smoother cycleways, usually outside the city boundaries.
Your average 10-speed is also rather pathetically equipped to deal with the weight of your biggest kid on the back baggage rack and your youngest kid dangling in a kid seat by the handlebars in front of you. Carrying three on a bike made ideally for One, takes a bike that has fortitude and stamina and the guts for the job.
If a 10-speed could cut it, you’d be seeing millions of them around here. It’s been long since discovered that their flimsy lightweight frames quake at the approach of laughing children and the sight of laden grocery bags.
I went for a walk the other day and photographed just a few of the bikes on one side of a single canal…. they display the passion and stoical work ethic of this beloved and well used mode of transport.
The Dutch word for “bike” by the way, is “fiets“. Pronounce that as “feets” and you will have added another Dutch word to your vocabulary.
Some examples for the multi-kid and grocery carriers…
This one is decorated with plastic flowers, carries one kid, one adult and the groceries whilst another kid cycles along side.
This one looks like a cut-and-paste job, it’s clearly a mishmash of parts from bicycles of another life… check out the handlebars and the seat …. re”cycling” at it’s very best.
Owwwl, what a terrible pun, I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist !!!!
These all reflect the personalties of their owners…
Has this inspired you to get on your bike? I hope so…