Amsterdammers whining about Bakfietsen

lots of bakfiets cargobikes parked on an amsterdam sidewalk

Just like we predicted a few years ago, bakfietsen, Cargobikes and transport bikes are now an unavoidable part of the Amsterdam street scene. They’re especially popular in some neighborhoods with many young families. But all changes bring complaints and this one is no exception; Childless residents are complaining that the sidewalks are covered with big bikes.

My opinion: Its true, the bikes shouldn’t be crowding pedestrians on the sidewalks. They should be crowding cars off the streets! I vote for gradually converting automobile parking spots to bicycle parking spots. Problem solved.

Of course such a plan is great for the livability of the city, but will obviously find many opponents since the city derives considerable revenues from the parking permits and meters. Parking a car in Amsterdam is very expensive, but I’d expect any plans to charge for on-street bicycle parking to go over like a lead balloon. Besides, bicycles aren’t even registered here (anymore) making it nearly impossible to manage anyway.

Photo by Lukas Göbel from the Volkskrant (newspaper) 10.11.2007. In this photo you can spot the following:

  • Bakfiets.nl Cargobike Long and Short
  • Bakfiets.nl Biporteur (an early transport bike from Maarten van Andel)
  • Christiania trike
  • Sparta Pickup
  • Kronan (looks like it might even be in working condition!)
  • Lots of kids bikes
  • Lots of panniers (we leave them on the bike here)
  • Lots of front carriers
  • Plenty of child seats
  • 8 Responses to “Amsterdammers whining about Bakfietsen”

    1. Velorution, London's urban cycle store Says:

      […] In Amsterdam Cargo-bikes clog pavements – “Childless residents are complaining that the pavements are covered with big bikes. My opinion: Its true, the bikes shouldn’t be crowding pedestrians on the pavements. They should be crowding cars off the streets!” [Bakfiets en meer] […]

    2. James Says:

      The comment about the Kronan seems to suggest that they didn’t hold up so well outside of pretty fashion and design lite magazines. Nice taillight though. I was under the impression that they went out of business and we brought back by a dutch distributor that sent production to china, is that right?

    3. henry Says:

      James,
      That’s pretty much dead-on about the Kronan’s suitability as a daily rider. Rusted and broken Kronans litter the bike racks of Amsterdam. When you see a decent one you know its basically new.

      The Kronan story is somewhat different though I don’t know the details. Kronan seems to have gone bankrupt in 20003 and Accell Group (who make Batavus, Sparta and Koga Miyata) either purchased the rights to the name or the company itself. Once the word spread that the bikes sucked the Kronan hype died pretty quickly. Accell Group stopped production in 2004-2005 and sold Kronan to another Swedish firm.

      Kronans have been made in Poland and China, and perhaps other places as well. I don’t think they were ever made in Sweden though.

    4. Car Parking Says:

      The kronan story is somewhat different though I don’t know the details.I don’t think they were ever made in sweden though.

      ************

      john

    5. henry Says:

      Car Parking, Actually my Kronan story is correct. I don’t know whether ANY Kronans were made in Sweden but certainly if they were it would only have been some of the very first ones.

    6. Frits B Says:

      Not just people in Amsterdam. This is from Groningen:
      http://www.rtvnoord.nl/nieuws/indexvideo.asp?pid=94699&video=1&autoplay=ja

    7. The Fashion Whistle Says:

      The Fashion Whistle…

      […]Bakfiets en Meer » Blog Archive » Amsterdammers whining about Bakfietsen[…]…

    8. Homemade Pedelecs | Mit dem Fahrrad zur Arbeit | WestRad.de Says:

      […] Hänger – daher noch einmal hier der Hinweis an den werdenen Papa: ein Bakfiet braucht einen ebenerdigen Abstellplatz und ist weder wendig noch leicht. Ich finde nach wie vor Anhänger für den Kindertransport […]

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