Although the Bikedispenser has been around since 2007, designed by Dutch firms Springtime and Post&Dekker, we thought it was high time to point it out, being the cycling fans that we are. We recently wrote about the modular Bike & Chill, which also shows how important cycling is as a mode of transportation.
“Bikedispenser noticed that bike use once people got to their destination by train was really taking off, which is why the lack of bike storage at train stations is a huge problem. Bicycles are just 17 cm apart in the Bikedispenser, while in regular bicycle racks they are 37,5 cm apart, or more like 75 cm, as they are in the Vélib system (see photo below) in Paris.” In a land with more bikes than inhabitants (more than 16 million) and a population density of 395/km2, space is everything in the Netherlands.
The Bikedispenser site also explains how interested it is in foreign markets. Convincing the Dutch to cycle to work or school is a no-brainer, but getting people to do the same in much bigger cities like Paris, Brussels or Barcelona requires having inexpensive, freely accessible bikes around town at people’s disposal.
The system in Brussels ressembles the one in Paris, but there, cyclists are required to wear specific glow-in-the-dark construction worker vests, an indication of how uncommon and even dangerous cycling around town still is. Paris took to their Vélibs and own it, cycling rather carefully but proudly the few times I was there. In Barcelona, the bike loan system together with the amount of Dutch-owned businesses renting out bikes to tourists has contributed to the sharp decline in stolen bikes.