December 7, 2012

Biking in the snow safely, Dutch style

Filed under: Bicycles,Design by Orangemaster @ 10:35 am

When snow starts falling in the Netherlands, the Dutch often continue to use their bikes to commute even when there’s ice on the ground. It’s dangerous and there are accidents. It can be done more safely, although this blogger lives in a small town that cannot compare to an Utrecht or Amsterdam as far as bike traffic is concerned, but it’s definitely a good primer.

Cesar van Rongen may have found a quick, easy and cheap solution for stubborn Dutch cyclists.

With Cesar van Rongen’s Bike Spikes wintry slips and slides are a thing of the past, without having to change tyres. A rubber casing with iron spikes to cover the bicycle tyre gives you grip on icy stretches, and on ordinary asphalt they will still be comfortable. The special winter bike tyre can easily be fixed to any city bike with the little key that comes with it. And when it thaws, the Bike Spikes can be taken off in an instant and folded into a compact little package.

Bike Spikes By Cesar van Rongen from Design Academy Eindhoven on Vimeo.

(Links:,, Photo: Cesar van Rongen)

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November 5, 2010

Winter tires in the Netherlands: useful or marketing stunt?

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 10:22 am


The debate about winter tires is back in time for Christmas. In February when there was actual long-staying snow on the ground, I wrote a big posting about why winter tires are a good thing, but not always necessary.

The ANWB (Royal Dutch Automobile Association), Veilig Verkeer Nederland (Safe Traffic association) and others are highly recommending winter tires this year and guess what? We’re apparently facing a winter tire shortage, if we can believe the hype over at newspaper De Telegraaf (in Dutch).

It could easily be seen as a marketing stunt in a country where winter tires are not obligatory and are only useful maybe a few weeks out of the year if at all, depending on which part of the country you live in and if we actually get some snow and/or ice. Anyone who drives to Gemany or Austria to go skiing is obliged to switch tires, but many people go by bus that have winter tires or fly to their skiing destination.

“Winter tires are good when the road is covered with snow and is slippery. All-seasons are good in many conditions, but don’t have the grip of winter tires and braking takes longer. Ordinary tires are cheaper, but much more dangerous altogether in winter conditions.”

It’s still a toss up. The car I drove last winter had what the Dutch call ‘summer tires’. We drove down to France, but waited until the snow had melted on the highway here to drive down safely. Driving more carefully and more slowly in winter was part of my driving theory exam here in the Netherlands. I like the bit about driving off in second gear to get more grip when there’s snow on the ground.

(Link: depers)

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