Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Functional Bicycles

When he bought a new bike about a year ago, Fred chose for this bike with a rack on the front. I looked online to see what the rack is called and I think the word someone used is voordrager, which literally means "front carrier." He likes it, and even after his bike was stolen a few months ago (it was insured), he chose the same style. It's helpful for carrying things and helpful to me because I don't have one on my bike. So I can usually get him to carry stuff when we're out.

The only downside is that it's sometimes difficult to park. Bikes without a voordrager slip into thin little spaces with relative ease. That rack takes up a lot of space. There are also bikes with milk crate type boxes on the front. This speaks to the functional part of me, but I like the ease of parking I have now with my sleek bike.

Another really functional bike they have here is the bakfiets. That's literally "carrier bike" according to my online dictionary. It's usually used for carting around kids. I think I've mentioned them before. It's a great idea. Fred's sister-in-law drove three little girls around in one of these for years. It's very practical. Kids get all bundled up and they ride along with little pink faces. There are also plastic covers you can attach to some in case of rain. The Dutch (and some non-Dutch) ride in all kinds of weather. There's even special rain gear available.

And when the kids are grown up, you can use it to ride around the city and collect the things you've picked out of the trash. (I said you can, not that you would.)

I don't think they have the strong distinction here as to what a boy's bike is and what a girl's bike is. In Texas, you wouldn't be caught dead riding a girl's bike if you were a boy. You might as well wear a dress. Here, it's not such a big deal. Some people think it's just a style difference. You either want the bar or you don't.

Call my a redneck, but I'm sticking with my boy's bike.


Mel said...

I just dream of the day when I have enough storage space and can afford to buy myself a recumbent bike.

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is why a boys bike has the higher bar? I mean I've seen so many men stop short & get "barred" you think that a man would want a bike with out that saftey concern?

I think that cargo bike is awesome. I seriously want one!

Anonymous said...

You're a redneck.

My bike doesn't have a crossbar, and after 4-and-a-bit years of being able to get on and off without having to get a leg over the back of it, I'd hate to go back to a bike with crossbar. It's handy for when I've got a kilt on as well.

But you're right - back home it would be unthinkable to have a "girl's" bike.


Unknown said...

You have become my "authority" for interpretations of all things Dutch! I have an "almost daughter" married to a Dutch guy living in Den Haag and now have several close younger Dutch friends. When I was there in March I was quite enthralled by the bikes, especially the tiny seats for very small children, and by what I would describe as soft sided canvas or plastic carriers (an example is the ones the mail carriers were using but those were even fancier). Not knowing the word for them was bothersome as I couldn't convey what I wanted to the family so they could find one for me! Any idea what the Dutch word is for what I am trying to describe?

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for a bakfiets exactly like the one in the picture (but mine will be red). It takes eight weeks from order to arrival. Things are slow in The Netherlands. That's ok. It gives me more time to anticipate.

I wish it would stop raining already.