Dutch Bikes

Is your bicycle safe for child transport?

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Kids and bicycles go together like chocolate-chips and cookies, but there are few things worth bearing in mind before you saddle up with your wee one this summer…

Urkai Community

Urkai Child Bicycle Seats

We get a lot of questions regarding kids bicycle seats, and in many cases, we get photos of various bicycles and whether or not you can fit a bicycle seat on the bicycle. We never comment on the actual bicycle we don’t sell.

Every bicycle is engineered or designed with a certain purpose in mind, and all frames have a weight capacity. Road bikes are built to be lighter, in order to go faster. Mountain bikes are built lighter with better shock absorption to go down mountains. They all have their purpose and they are all great for the purpose they were built for, but not all bicycles can do everything!

Before thinking about buying a new bicycle or a kids bicycle seat for your family rides, do a little research.

1) When it comes to a child seat, always find out from the bicycle manufacturer what the weight capacity…

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Dutch style transport in Edinburgh

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me and Kristina, setting the trend in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Cycle Chic

It is great to see Dutch style transport in use in Edinburgh

WP_001900
by harrywalton1.

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Oh, to be a baby aboard a Dutch bike…

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This delightful music video really made my morning. #

To be a baby aboard a Dutch bike is truly to be king of the world.

The song is so good that we can even overlook the Sturmey Archer gear shifter on the handlebars…

Enjoy!

Cycling is not (intrinsically) dangerous

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2013 saw many articles written under titles referring to the ‘dangers of cycling’. A few random examples can be found here, here, here, and here. This one even talks about the ‘terrors’ faced by cyclists on the road.

Indeed, cycling can be a dangerous activity, but this is not because cycling itself is dangerous…

For instance, it isn’t dangerous to cycle without a helmet

no helmets

It isn’t dangerous to cycle without hi-viz
sit up and beg

It isn’t dangerous to cycle with a passenger…

The bike is king of the road in The Netherlands

Dutch bikes - an altogether more civilised way of getting around town.

Looks like fun, huh?

cycling with a passenger

…no matter what age you are!

these guys aren't having too much trouble

Even a couple of passengers (and a suitcase) is no big deal

cycling with two passengers

Cycling with kids isn’t dangerous either
DSC_7251

Riding your bike in the park on a summer afternoon... Such a simple pleasure that is so unreasonably denied to us in the UK

and it isn’t dangerous to cycle with an umbrella

So long as it's not too windy, I find that cycling in heavy rain is actually more difficult without an umbrella.

cycling with umbrella

It certainly isn’t dangerous to cycle next to your friends
children 5 abreast assen oost subjective safety

Even four-legged friends are safe to ride with.

Sometimes up front…
cycling with dogs

…or alongside
alongside

Whether you’re a little bit older…

Gustaf Håkansso
Gustaf Håkansso

a little older

…or a little younger

Vondelpark provides a totally safe environment for kids to ride their bikes

cycling a little younger

…cycling itself is not a dangerous activity.

What these photographs illustrate is how the physical environment affects the relative danger of riding a bike. Many of the pictures also show how good infrastructure is the key factor in determining whether or not cycling is actually safe.

As we move into 2014, I am hopeful that governing bodies in the UK (and elsewhere, for that matter) pick up on the merits of cycling and do what is needed to protect people who ride bikes. At present (and from my perspective), city dwellers face an unappealing trilemma when deciding upon transportation; they can either:

1. Contribute to the city’s pollution and congestion by paying through the nose for a car (+driving licence/insurance/MOT/VED/petrol/parking etc.).
2. Pay to take crowded/crappy (and notoriously unreliable) public transport.
3. Ride a bike but risk their lives by sharing the road with heavy/powerful/fast moving motor vehicles.

If a person is able to ride a bike (i.e. if their health permits it), then it should be in everybody’s interest to support them. Biker riders take up less space on the roads, and so there is less congestion for everyone else; they are not pumping out pollution into the air that we all have to breath; they are exercising their bodies and so easing pressure on an NHS that is currently strained by an obesity epidemic; they aren’t damaging the roads to nearly the same degree that other vehicles do (thus saving tax-payers money); they don’t run people over (and if they do, injuries are usually minor); and last but not least, motor-vehicle dominated cities are noisy and unpleasant places, and so bikes offer a quiet and civilised remedy to this.

I think that cycling is brilliant, not just for the bike rider but for the world. I intend to keep up the pace this year with my campaigning, and I hope to keep you updated with any developments/innovations that might be of interest.

All the best

Dogs + Bicycles = Happiness

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Dogs and bicycles – what two simple things could bring a person more happiness?

Amsterdam Cycle Chic

Hi Amsterdam Cycle Chic team,
I never had a driving license and I have never missed it because my bike brings me everywhere! Cycling is freedom.What is nicer than discovering the city by bike? I cycle a Bub by Batavus now but years ago I had a real old omafiets, and… a very sweet Jack Russell puppy. Maybe a nice picture for your blog?
Best regards,
Louise

Dog in bike basket

We love it to receive an email like this. People sharing their bicycle stories with us. In that way we get to know our readers a bit. So thanks for sharing Louise!

After seeing Louise’s picture I went through our own photos and selected a few dogs in baskets (or crates) for you, something you see a lot in the streets of Amsterdam. And you see, big dogs, small dogs, they all love to go for a ride!

Waiting to go for a cycle

Amsterdam cycling

by MeredithJust chillin'

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London, Cargo Bikes, Police, and Perception

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London, Cargo Bikes, Police, and Perception

A father was recently pulled over by the police while trying to take his kids to school in a perfectly roadworthy cargo bike.

traffic dad

Even though the family had been travelling this way for four years, London’s Transport Police didn’t quite know what to make of it.

traffic dad 2

Admittedly, the daughters’ helmets aren’t fitted very well, and the roads in London are polluted and dangerous at the best of times, but I still see this man as a pioneer of a more sustainable transport movement.

traffic dad 3
The father criticised the officer in question for not knowing the law, saying: ‘This policeman called me over and said “is that bike legal?” I thought “well you’re the policeman surely you should be telling me whether its legal or not”‘.

By referring to the Dutch cargo bike as a ‘rickety wheelbarrow bike’, the Daily Mail’s coverage of this incident is embarrassing because of its clear ignorance of Continental cycling culture.

The cargo bike is a brilliant and useful alternative to a car that is both cheap and environmentally friendly. Indeed, the cargo bike itself is not the problem in this situation, it is simply the poor cycling infrastructure and the speed + proximity of motor vehicles that make this man’s choice of transport questionable.

This story was also covered (more objectively) in the Evening Standard

Absolutely brilliant short film about Amsterdam as a city of cycling – top recommendation

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Absolutely brilliant short film about Amsterdam as a city of cycling – top recommendation

I just came across this video (embedded in the link above) and after 10 seconds I knew that I had to share it.

The movie illustrates the whole ‘bikes > cars’ philosophy, and shows how it can be made to work for everyone’s benefit even in a busy capital city. When you put bikes first and cars second, the whole urban environment is transformed for the better.

One of the interviewees talks about how people are connected when they are on bikes and I completely understood what they meant – having lived in Amsterdam for a year I quickly picked up on the shared mentality and emergent camaraderie that exists between people on bikes and stands opposed to the isolation of the motorists.

Top video – thorough recommendation