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:

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September 27, 2018

Ban on mobile phone use for cyclists in 2019

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 2:44 pm

Anyone who lives here and who has visited this country and its bigger cities knows how dangerous cyclists fiddling with their mobile phones can be, and I for one welcome a ban on this hazardous activity that makes them a danger to others.

As of July 2019 the Dutch government will impose a ban on using a mobile phone, tablet or media player while cycling. But that’s not all: it will also affect tram drivers and drivers of vehicles used by the disabled.

Since there are more cyclists on bike paths and cycling speeds have increased due to the arrival of electric bikes, the lack of keeping your eyes on the road has also increased. There’s no word yet as to how much a fine will be, but the fine for motorists using mobile phones while driving is 230 euro, to give you an idea.

In the Netherlands bikes outnumber people, with nearly 23 million bikes for some 17 million people. The use of mobile phones is a growing hazard, with a smartphone involved in one in five bike accidents involving young people, according to the Dutch Road Safety organisation.

What about using your phone for navigation? Then it needs to be in a holder, not in your hands. Will there be enough police or other authorities to fine folks? That’s always the question.


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July 1, 2018

Dutch men adversely affected by cycling, study says

Filed under: Bicycles,Health by Orangemaster @ 11:44 pm

In an American study entitled ‘Effect of Oscillation on Perineal Pressure in Cyclists: Implications for Micro-Trauma’, the all-male authors report that “genital numbness and erectile dysfunction in [male] cyclists may result from repeated perineal impacts on the bicycle saddle (micro-trauma) that occur during routine cycling. And if there’s a country we know that has men who into routine cycling, it’s definitely the Netherlands. Slots two and three are taken up by Denmark and Germany, with Sweden, Norway, Finland, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium and China rounding out the Top 10.

The study’s authors concluded that there was a strong linear relationship between oscillation magnitude and perineal pressure during cycling and that using shock absorption in bicycle design may reduce this perineal micro-trauma while possibly improving cycling-associated perineal numbness and erectile dysfunction.


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June 28, 2018

VanMoof launches bike with anti-theft system

Filed under: Bicycles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:14 pm

Dutch bicycle company VanMoof of Amsterdam has launched a high-security electric bicycle it claims is impossible to ride or even sell if when it gets stolen.

“The Electrified S2 and X2 model bicycles boast “stealth locking” that activates with a kick, rider-recognition technology that automatically unlocks the bike on approach and an alarm system that activates if tampering is detected. The security features negate the need for a traditional bike lock.”

And I want to believe that this is all true and that it works fine, but only time will tell. It’s also true that many folks who live in the Netherlands avoid buying expensive-looking bikes so they won’t get stolen, and if when it happens, it won’t be an expensive loss. In that sense, VanMoof is onto something: just making bigger locks won’t deter thieves, so it’s cool that they have come up with something, but will it work?

Based on casual observation in Amsterdam, if when you get your bike stolen, you’ll probably need to buy a new one fast if you use it to commute. At that point, quite a few people think about buying a stolen one, having felt cheated because they were decent enough not to buy a stolen one in the first place. Flaunting an expensive bike that looks like it doesn’t have a lock might also attract thieves.

Let’s see how the anti-theft system will pan out then.

(Link and photo:

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April 26, 2018

So many signs, still many bike removals

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 2:08 pm


Downtown Amsterdam near the Leidseplein, one of the main party areas, a total of 54 bright signs asking folks to remove their bikes before April 23 was not enough to make it happen, forcing the city to remove 115 bikes.

A few of my Facebook friends took pictures of the sheer amount of signs they saw while biking, cracking all the jokes. However, the city is legally obliged to put signs at pretty much every bike rack, which would explain why there are so many. We also know how annoying it is to have to deal with the bike depot folks who remove ‘wrongly parked bikes’ due to a lack of bike racks in the first place and bring them to a bike purgatory 10 kilometres away from the city centre.

(Link and photo:

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April 23, 2018

Flying a hydrofoil boat is like riding a bike

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:10 am


Controlling a single-track hydrofoil is like controlling a bicycle, two Masters student from Delft University claim in a paper published in Naval Engineers Journal last month.

“We used a mathematical model to validate whether a single-track hydrofoil using two foils, one behind the other in the water, would remain stable in the same way as we stay upright on a bike,” one of the students, Gijsbert van Marrewijk, told Delft University last week. The principle of staying upright on a bike is the one of steering into the fall.

Van Marrewijk and his co-author Johan Schonebaum were inspired by the hydrofoil boat of the Solar Boat team of their university, of which they were members. Hydrofoil boats have wings under the hull that lift the boat out of the water, reducing drag and, all other things being equal, increasing speed. Using a single-track hydrofoil reduces drag even further over the more conventional and more stable multi-track vehicle.

See the 2015 version of the Delft University Solar Boat team in action:

For some reason recent versions of the boat have returned to multi-track hydrofoils. The mathematical model developed by the two students should make it easier to test new designs in a computer simulation.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gbvm2, some rights reserved.

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December 22, 2017

Looking back at Dutch cycling in 2017

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 3:29 pm

Here are some cycling stories for starters, then you can watch a proper main course of Dutch cycling ups and down through the Netherlands and beyond from Bicycle Dutch here below.

This fall saw the opening of the world’s first printed bike bridge, made by the Dutch. Next, we had the success story of Amsterdam Central Station’s shared space, also mentioned in the video below.

And there’s a great one shot video with no editing whatsoever on a Canon Powershot (before mobiles had cameras) of my co-blogger and me getting ready to ride through Amsterdam with Christmas lights on our bike 11 years ago!

(Photo by Mike Porcenaluk, some rights reserved)

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October 20, 2017

Dutch boast world’s first printed bike bridge

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles,Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:49 pm


In June we told you about Amsterdam getting a 3D printed steel bridge, but the town of Gemert Noord-Om, Noord-Brabant has recently had a 3D steel printed bridge for cyclists installed, making it a world first.

The bridge was printed in June at the Eindhoven University of Technology and installed by construction company Royal Bam Group. It is made of pre-stressed and reinforced concrete, which is a feat of sustainability. “With 3D printing, you have more flexibility regarding the shape of the product. As well, 3D printing a bridge is also incredibly efficient: you need less concrete, but there is also no need for shuttering where the concrete is normally poured in. You just use exactly what you need, and there is no CO2 emissions”, explains BAM Director Marinus Schimmel.

And yes it’s a corporate film in Dutch, but you get to see how they made it.

(Links and image:,

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July 10, 2017

Bike path under Rijksmuseum is making millions

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

The bike path under Amsterdam’s world famous Rijksmuseum has turned into a veritable cash cow for the city. Although it is illegal for scooters and mopeds to use this bike path, between November 2014 and January 2017 no less than 27,000 fines of 90 euro were issued to these tenacious road users caught on camera, amounting to a staggering 2.4 million euro in fines.

The city has even put more obvious signs, but it’s not working. A few days ago, local TV station AT5 stood outside there for an hour and a half and saw four scooters get fined at what is now 95 euro a pop.

What’s the big deal? Well, even back in 2003 when the bike path was being renovated, there were discussions about making it off limits to cyclists, but the museum was quickly struck down on that point. The path had been open to cyclists for ages, so that wasn’t going to fly. However, making it illegal for scooters and mopeds was acceptable, but obviously not everyone thinks it applies to them.

Here’s our previous story about it: bike path under Rijksmuseum and read its entire glorious history from Bicycle Dutch.


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June 12, 2017

Amsterdam hosts world’s first Bicycle Architecture Biennale

Filed under: Bicycles,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 9:10 pm


On 14 June, Amsterdam will play host to the world’s first international Bicycle Architecture Biennale, an event organised by cycling innovation agency CycleSpace and held at the Zuiveringshal, located at a former industrial terrain in Amsterdam West.

The Biennale will show off the work of 14 international designers from around the world and aims to see how cycling can improve urban living and how design solutions can inspire and facilitate greater cycling uptake as well as meet transit needs.

One of the main themes is the bicycle in the hierarchy of architecture, having traditionally always been less important than cars and even horses. Amsterdam is known as putting cycling first in many cases and is seen as a proper starting point for the event. The Biennale will have architects, urban planners, designers and many other thinkers work on ideas for the future.

(Link:, Photo of the ‘De Groene Verbinding’ (‘The Green Connection’) by Mark Wagenbuur)

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