August 12, 2017

Canta manufacturer has run out of parts for popular disability vehicle

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 5:21 pm

canta-tjerk-zweers

The iconic Canta mobility vehicle is no longer being produced, Volkskrant reports.

Last week the last Canta ever rolled off the conveyor belt at the Waaijenberg factory in Veenendaal. The manufacturer told the newspaper they are having troubles sourcing parts. Especially the moulds are worn out. Waaijenberg will use the few parts they still have for repairs.

Cantas have been coming under fire recently, with the city of Amsterdam wanting to ban them from the pavement. In a bizarre twist and for reasons unknown, the city even tried to take away Cantas from their users, for whom the microcar often means the difference between being able to live a full life and being condemned to wasting away at home.

Cantas are allowed to drive on the pavement, the bike path and the main road. They are made to measure for their drivers. A few are privately owned (and end up on the market), but most are property of the government. They often come in Ferrari racing red, although other colours are possible. In total 4,645 were produced in the past 22 years.

Waaijenberg expect to present a successor later this year.

See also: Canta, the little can-do car

Photo of a Canta on a bike path by Tjerk Zweers, some rights reserved.

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June 17, 2012

Canta, the little can-do car

Filed under: Art,Automobiles,Health by Branko Collin @ 2:35 pm

On June 28 Dutch National Ballet will perform a dance that includes a group of disabled people in their Canta cars.

The ballet is part of a larger project that includes a documentary series by Maartje Nevejan and a book by Karin Spaink about the Canta microcar, the only car that can legally drive on bike paths and pavements in the Netherlands, exclusively sold to the disabled.

Spaink herself has Multiple sclerosis. In the book, De Benenwagen, she writes about the moment when it was time to face the hard truth, the moment she had to get an invalid car:

Everything changed. Using my crutches, my speed was 3 km/h and my range 500 metres. With the wheelchair I reached speeds of 8 to 10 km/h for up to five minutes. […]

[When I took my first test drive], the speed scared me. “Oh no”, I panicked, “I cannot do this! I am so sorry… Please take it back to the factory! I made a terrible mistake.”

The mechanic made me stop to catch my breath. “Don’t worry, really, you’ll get used to it.” […] He was right. I got used to it in no time. […] The Arola [the Canta’s predecessor] gave me a large part of the freedom back that I had had to give up due to my disability.

The book talks about the history of the Canta, how it was designed by former Ferrari F40 racing driver Dick Waaijenberg, how it is the one car in the Netherlands that may drive on bike paths and pavements (other microcars are treated like mopeds before the law), and how Waaijenberg only sells them to the disabled. There are companies and organisations that own them, but they have to find theirs on the second hand market.

Karin Spaink does a good job of explaining the various aspects of the Canta and its predecessor Arola. The chapter where she joins the mechanic for his daily round is both insightful and moving. It provides a glimpse into the sort of people that need a Canta, and through Spaink we witness a man who gets sentenced to a life of decreased mobility, as his handicap has advanced too much for him to safely drive a microcar any more.

Benenwagen literally means ‘leg car’, and is used in an expression. If whiny kids ask their parents “but how will I get there?” when a distance is trivial, the answer will be “use the leg car”.

De benenwagen, Het succesverhaal van de Canta, Karin Spaink, ISBN 9789038894928.

Disclaimer: I have known Karin Spaink for almost two decades, and have supplied one of the photos for the book. The photo shown here though is by the prolific Facemepls, and is ‘some rights reserved‘.

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June 3, 2012

Mobility scooter club wins VPRO Dream City Award

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:12 pm

After Richard Min’s wife died, he got lonely and decided to do something about it. He founded the Scootmobielclub (‘mobility scooter club’), which tours through pretty parts of The Hague.

Apart from getting Richard out of isolation, the club also won VPRO’s Dream City award for grassroots contributions to the liveable city. Part of the award was a 1,500 euro prize.

Other contestants were the Repair Caf├ęs and an initiave that lets children become journalists for their neighbourhoods, Wijktijgerpersbureau.

The audience award was won by another initiative from The Hague, the FAST surfers’ village.

(Link: The Pop-Up City)

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May 26, 2009

Foldable mobile office with desk and chairs

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 8:37 am

When Tim Vinke says mobile office, he means mobile office. His Kruikantoor—the name is a pun on the word for wheelbarrow, kruiwagen—can be folded and wheeled anywhere.

Bright adds (Dutch) that this was his graduation project at the Minerva Academy in Groningen earlier this year. The object will be displayed at the graduation exhibition (Dutch) from July 4 through July 9.

Source photo: TimVinke.nl.

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