January 21, 2013

Fireman saves 65 coffee containers by putting foot in ship’s leak

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 9:18 am

Last Friday a diver of the Schoonhoven fire department saved millions of Dutch people a few jittery hours when he put his foot against the wall of a ship carrying coffee to stop water from flowing in.

The captain of the river boat Salamanca had noticed on Thursday evening that his boat, which was moored to the quay, was suddenly deeper in the water, Schuttevaer reports. When the fire brigade arrived the engine room was already flooded by a metre. The boat was moved to another location where fire trucks could get near it.

The hole turned out to measure about 5 by 2 centimetres. One of the divers who had entered the engine room to place the suction tube plugged the hole temporarily by placing his foot on it.

The Salamanca was transporting 65 containers filled with coffee. It is unknown how the boat sprung a leak.

The Dutch are among the most enthusiastic coffee drinkers in the world, consuming 8.4 kilograms per person a year. Only the Scandinavians drink more.

(Photo by Vitaly Volkov, some rights reserved)

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January 14, 2010

Zwolle lends commuters electric bicycles

Filed under: Bicycles,General,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 2:50 pm

The city of Zwolle will start a 1 million euro trial this year to lend commuters electric bicycles, Z24 reports.

The bicycle is one of the most popular forms of transport in the Netherlands, but only for short trips of up to 5 kilometres. Zwolle hopes to raise this radius to about 15 kilometres for some by providing powered loaners.

Electric bikes are regular bicycles with an auxiliary motor that you choose to switch on for instance during a climb or when cycling in a strong head wind. Powered bicycles have existed for a long time in the form of mopeds with pedals, but these tended to look (and operate?) rather unwieldy. The new e-bike looks just like a regular bicycle, but with a small battery pack.

Slightly off topic, cycling awareness blog Amsterdamize (aimed, obviously, at non-Dutchies), recently had a very nice photo series on how the cold and the snow and the ice manage to stop cycling in Amsterdam, i.e. not.

(Photo of a Schwinn Tailwind Electric Assist bike by Richard Masoner, some rights reserved)

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