July 23, 2020

Dutch building biggest bike bridge in Europe

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 4:45 pm

The Blauwe loper (‘Blue carpet’) is a 800-metre-long bike bridge that will connect Winschoten to Blauwestad (‘Blue City’, a new village being built on reclaimed land) Groningen, making it Europe’s longest bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. It might also end up being a whole kilometre long if they connect it to the middle of the new town, and should be completed in late 2020.

It will be painted ‘bat-friendly’ green, with LED lighting designed to help the bats commute from the nearby nature reserve to the Oldambtmeer (‘Oldambt lake’). The bridge has been designed to last for at least 80 years and is made from wood sourced from Gabon, Africa. The wood has some sort of venting system rather than being pressed together, explains project leader Reinder Lanting.

Europe’s current longest bike bridge is 756 metres long and is located in Sölvesborg, Sweden, extending across the Sölvesborg Bay. However, the Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in China, designed by the Danish design firm Dissing + Weitling, is a whopping 7.6km long.

Although there’s not always something to see, there’s a webcam link if you like to watch Dutch motorway traffic when there’s no bridge construction.

(Link: theguardian.com, Photo blauwestad.nl)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

July 2, 2020

French ban ‘fearmongering’ Dutch bicycle advert

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 2:03 pm

A television advert for Dutch VanMoof bikes has been banned from French television because it causes anxiety, which is illegal in France. In the words of VanMoof, ‘reflecting on the rat race of the past proves too controversial.’ In the words of France’s advertising watchdog it creates a ‘climate of fear’ about cars and uses non-car related elements to get its point across.

A French friend said there’s three reasons the advert was banned: Renault, Peugeot and Citroën, all three French car manufacturers. Twitter has more jokes about the banned advert as well.

Despite being aired on Dutch and German television, the Autorité de régulation professionnelle de la publicité (ARPP) said the ad for the VanMoof bike unfairly discredited the automobile industry. The advert features a shiny black car on which are reflected images of chimneys, the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and traffic jams. The vehicle melts away to transform into the Dutch company’s latest e-bike, accompanied by the tag line: “Time to ride the future”.

This comes at a time when the progressive mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is turning big boulevards into bike paths, getting her much praise.

“Some images in the reflection of the car are, in our opinion, unbalanced and discredit the entire car sector,” the ARPP said in a letter sent to VanMoof. “The images of factories/chimneys and an accident create a climate of fear. So they will have to be adapted.”

VanMoof has accused the watchdog of wanting to protect the French car industry after sales plummeted during the health crisis. VanMoof is not going to edit the advert, and because television doesn’t have the weight it used to have, everybody is going online to view the video and find out why it was banned.

The French are saying the video is openly criticising the automobile industry which is a bad thing to do at the moment, while the Dutch are pointing out that there’s nothing wrong with encouraging cycling using imagery that implies cars as bad. Gotta love Europe.

(Link: theguardian.com)

Tags: , ,

August 6, 2019

Biggest bicycle parking in the world in Utrecht

Filed under: Bicycles,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 7:40 pm

Back in 2013 we told you that the world’s biggest bike garage was to be built in Utrecht. Although it was open for use in November 2018, we never talked about it again, so it’s time to do that.

Located under Utrecht Central Station, also the country’s biggest train station, there’s a huge bicycle garage that can fit 12,500 bikes, but does not already. In 2018, when 7,600 spots were opened, the garage was full in no time and people couldn’t park their bikes.

In the summer of 2020, if all goes well, the garage will add another 4,900 spots to the now existing 7,600 for a total of 12,500. There are now 22,000 public places to park your bike around the station, and another 11,000 will be added in nearby businesses and the former post office a few hundreds metres away with another 700.

The three storey bicycle garage was part of a wider redevelopment of the Central Station area, which is really impressive and so much nicer than the Hoog Catharijne shopping mall annex train station used to be.

(Links: designboom.com, ad.nl, Photo: designboom.com)

Tags: , , ,

August 3, 2019

American tech site retracts claims about VanMoof ebikes

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 2:54 pm

When we wrote about VanMoof launching a bike with an anti-theft system, we ended our post with “Let’s see how the anti-theft system will pan out then.”

The answer is so far so good, as long as you use the bike properly.

Recently, American site Digital Trends ran a story about the VanMoof S2 ebike entitled “This ebike is allegedly impossible to steal. We stole it in 60 seconds.” and now they’ve humbly issued a long retraction. Apparently, Digital Trends forgot one crucial step: the bike that they ‘stole’ wasn’t locked. That means the alarm won’t go off, the bike won’t lock itself and the electric motor cannot be blocked either.

VanMoof produced a blog post and a video showing the bike functioning correctly and clearing up the air. Both Digital Trends and VanMoof worked together to fix any damage done by the badly written tech piece, which is refreshing in this day and age.

(Links: digitaltrends.com, bright.nl, photo: dezeen.com)

Tags: ,

July 31, 2019

Dutch recumbent bike designed to go 120 km/h

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:07 pm

TUDelft

The National Military Museum located on the former air base at Soesterberg had a special attraction recently that had nothing to do with old planes, helicopters, tanks or military equipment: a recumbent bike that is made to go 120 kilometres an hour.

The VeloX 9 recumbent bike – a bicycle that places the rider in a reclining position – was designed by 16 students of the Delft University of Technology and the University of Amsterdam for the World Human Powered Speed Challenge to be held September 8-14 in Nevada, in the United States. Team VeloX 9’s goal is to break the women’s record of 121.8 kilometres per hour with Dutch riders Rosa Bas from Utrecht and Jennifer Breet from Leiden.

The highest speed ever achieved in the Netherlands on the bike is 70 kilometres an hour purely due to lack of a free, straight track to be able to fully test it. Even at the airfield, it could only go 50 km. What must be a breeze to test in the United States is a space issue in the Netherlands, but that’s never stopped the Dutch before.

(Link: rtvutrecht.nl, Photo of Delft University of Technology by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , , , ,

May 15, 2019

Amsterdam Central Station builds huge underwater bike stall

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 8:36 pm

According to Mark Wagenbuur, the Cycling Ambassador for the Dutch Cycling Embassy at Bicycle Dutch, Amsterdam is building an underground, underwater parking facility for 7,000 bicycles at Amsterdam Central Station.

Folks online were wondering if there was a way to follow the construction by way of a webcam, and lo and behold there is! The project is call De Entree (‘The Entrance’) and it’s really big and disruptive if you need to get around Central Station, but that’s life.

And according to Wikipedia, Amsterdam Central Station is the largest railway station of Amsterdam and is used by 162,000 passengers a day, making it the second busiest railway station in the country after Utrecht Central Station, which deals with 176,000 passengers a day. Amsterdam Central Station is the most visited national monument of the Netherlands and boast a royal waiting room you can finally see partially from the outside.

(Link: wijnemenjemee.nl by Flickr user UggBoy hearts UggGirl, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

March 14, 2019

New traffic sign warns cyclists for tram rails

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 2:46 pm

The Netherlands is a country with a sign for a ‘singing bike path’, a silly walks pedestrian crossing and this riddle about horses, but now it’s time for a sign that warns cyclists about tram rails.

Only Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are used to dealing with trams, and sadly, cyclists are also used to cycling over trails and sometimes getting a wheel stuck in them. Today, a sign was unveiled in The Hague, and the idea behind it is to avoid injuries, which apparently happens more than we all think. To be sure everybody gets it, under the new sign it says in Dutch ‘Watch out, tram rails’.

Back in 2017 start-up SafeRails found a solution to this problem (see video), using a profile from recycled plastic that can be inserted into existing tram rails, but that never materialised. Ironically, they wanted to start with The Hague.

Moral of the story: scoring election points (we have elections on 20 March) is better than actually implementing a solution.

(Link: nos.nl)

Tags: , , ,

January 14, 2019

Dutchman makes bicycle from recycled plastic

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm

Inspired by a two-year stay in Mexico City where designer Thomas Hoogewerf saw plastic strewn about town and lots of car traffic, he decided to design a bicycle, addressing both problems at once and called it the ‘Better to transport’ project.

Most of the prototype is make from plastic, although the chain is made from steel. Hoogewerf explains that the bicycle is still not perfect, and has had help from Precious Plastic, a worldwide network of people who build recycling machines. He has also received help from people in India and the United States to help improve the frame and the front fork.

The idea is to point out, at the very least, the problem of mobility and used plastic in a city of millions.

It’s easy to have a discussion about cities being more bike friendly when you come from the Netherlands or Denmark, but the added value of making a bicycle out of rubbish as it were makes a statement and can be applied elsewhere in the world where there are similar problems.

One good thing about having a bicycle made from plastic is that if something breaks, you can replace it easily enough. And plastic doesn’t rust – great for big cities with a lot of rain. As well, the plastic is free and ripe for the picking.

(Link and photo: vice.com)

Tags: , ,

November 19, 2018

Amsterdam cyclists are too good for red lights

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 12:16 pm

It’s definitely common to hear that cyclists in Amsterdam generally don’t obey traffic lights, but here’s some proof how bad and also how lucrative it can be.

The police decided to stop and fine cyclists blowing through red lights downtown Amsterdam on the Raadhuisstraat, close to the Palace on Dam Square. The cops weren’t even hiding their presence either and fined a whopping 50 cyclists in one hour, too good to wait for a green light.

Fining 50 cyclists at 90 euro a pop, means 4500 euro for one hour’s work. And we all thought parking was easy money for the city of Amsterdam.

The police say blowing through a red light saves them two minutes of waiting, 90 euro if they get caught and avoiding road accidents. The latter seems to be a brilliant idea.

(Link: at5.nl)

Tags: , , ,

November 9, 2018

Famous IKEA photo of Amsterdam explained in documentary

Filed under: Art,Bicycles,Photography by Orangemaster @ 3:27 pm

Amusingly called Vilshult, named after a very small town in Sweden, this famous IKEA picture of an Amsterdam canal is world famous. It was taken by photographer Fernando Bengoechea, originally from Argentina. However, sadly, he apparently died during a surfing trip in Sri Lanka in 2004 when a tsunami hit, and his body was never found. You’ll need to watch the whole video below to get the entire story.

After having received the picture from his girlfriend as a present, Dutch director Tom Roes decided to find out all about the black and white picture with the red bike. He has been made fun of a lot and told he had no taste, which probably pushed him to make this documentary. And whether people like it or not, IKEA has sold a whopping 427,000 copies of it.

Here’s the Dutch documentary about the famous IKEA picture of Amsterdam here (cc available in English):

(Link and photo: vice.com)

Tags: ,