Bikes are everywhere here in Holland, they're like oxygen but almost more important. The entire county is based around the bike transport system. The fietspad or bike path runs along all the major roads, there are serious biking rules and even stop lights for the bikes. To say the least, its intense and amazing! Bikes are the best form of free transport and I'm so obsessed with the omafiets granny bikes here. Today I rode in the bakfiets ("cargo bike") which is a stretched out bicycle that has a big wooden bucket on the front. I've aways been a supporter of bicycle global domination and I'm glad to see this bike obsessed style is (finally) starting to catch on in other cities. I remember being younger and small enough to fit on the back of my mom's bike, we would ride around for hours on these great wooded bike paths and sing songs from the Sound of Music! But, I digress and here is a visual of the bakfiets.
The bakfiets are great for stacking groceries, flowers, puppies and children inside! My first bakfiets experience was with groceries. I passed that (wobbly) test with out crashing. Honestly, I was a bit dizzy the first few minutes because finding balance was quite an accomplishment. Oh sure, riding a bike isn't hard but this thing definitely takes lessons. On top of obtaining bakfiets skills I always have in the back of my mind that this thing costs about 4 times my monthly salary! I wasn't kidding about the Dutch really loving bicycles!
Today, I moved up a level in bakfiets skills, and used it to pick up the boy from school. I was fascinated while I waited for school to let out, gawking at all the parents on all these different, magical styles of bikes to pick up their kids. I think it was more intense to be completely surrounded by crazy cool bikes, because they're pretty commonly seen around town. These bicycles had different seating arrangements and things stacked on here and there...its just so efficient! I successfully made it to school and back, with a child in tow, on the bakfiets, in the rain, in Amsterdam! Score for me!
The next level I suppose is having two kids in there which really makes me concerned since its a common fact that children like to wiggle around. Riding (driving?) the bakfiets still feels like I'm just learning how to bike ride. It's balancing act on wet cobblestone streets. Oh and of course there are all the street signs in Dutch and the other more experienced bikes rushing past me. So, I've still got some practice but I haven't crashed and that's whats important!
Heres a really fabulous, leopard print bakfiets that found.
I am currently searching for a nice omafiets and fell in love with this one. Awesome perks for this bike aside from totally cuteness: front basket, and back holder useful for carrying bags, flowers, other people, etc.
And let me share with you this beautiful dream bicycle - that is completely out of my price range - I just looooove so much. She will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine! (That's correct, I just quoted Wayne's World on my blog). My friend in Leiden had a Gazelle bike and it was so lovely. Its a worthy investemnt that just I'm just not financially capable of at the moment...but one day!