The turquoise says it all: I Pimped My Bike!
Half of the fun of walking around the cities of the Netherlands is checking out how individuals deck out their bikes. While there are some common themes – the addition of color or flowers, different styles of baskets and seats, modifications for children – the Dutch have some very interesting ways of decking out their bicycles. And, if you’ve been following this blog, bicycles are an essential aspect of Dutch society. Bikes are not just an ecologically sound form of transport (a very considerable concern here), they are a statement of independence and a (pardon the pun) free-wheeling joie de vie.
So this blog is less about yakking, and more about showing you
some of the more interesting decked-out bikes I’ve seen in my travels around Utrecht, Amsterdam and den Haag. I do want to point out that the vast majority of bikes are not well-decorated, probably because the nicer the bike, the more likely it is to get stolen. In the words of my Dutch friend, Corinne, “You don’t want a really nice bike – it will get stolen.” So here’s to the brave souls who risk theft just to have a unique bicycle that reflects the owner’s personality.
Flower Power Bikes
Probably the most common form of bike decoration is the twining of artificial flowers among handlebars, seats, and other bike parts.
Probably the most common form of functional modification is the different types of additions made to bikes to accommodate children. I have seen bicycles with 2 and 3 kids strapped into various types of seats, front and aft. Then there are what I call the “baby barrows” – front end attachments that look like wheelbarrows that can hold up to 4 kids in them. Or merchandise, plants or dogs.
Adding panniers or baskets also expresses some individuality:
And just the smaller touches, adding color, new seating,
bells or even….wheel widgets and polka dots!
In Amsterdam, we saw a number of bicycle taxis. Probably the coolest looking one was this:
And there is the creative bicycle parking, from en masse chainings to rails and lamp posts to double decker bike stands….
…to multi-plex bicycle garages:
And, wrapping this up, the bicycle bumper sticker, as with bumper stickers everywhere, states a political message. In this case, to voice support for a national student’s organization, JSVU. (Still haven’t figured out what the letters stand for. And even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to pronounce it: go see “Dutch is a Pirate Language”.)