Archive | February, 2011

Bike Parking at Amsterdam Zuid

26 Feb
bicycles leaving bike parking at Amsterdam Zuid

bicycles leaving bike parking at Amsterdam Zuid


This morning, I flew back to Amsterdam.

I arrived at Schiphol Airport, and took the train to Amsterdam Zuid, where my bicycle is parked in a subterranean bike parking. As if seeing it for the first time, it struck me how carefully organised that parking is; like the laid out tables of a dinner party, waiting for guests to arrive.

The bike parking is open 24 hours per day, each day of the year. Its bike stands are designed to save space, allowing bikes to be parked on two levels. Odd sized bikes – like the popular delivery bikes and bikes with crates – don’t fit in the two story stands, so separate space has been reserved for them. On your way to the slanted conveyor belt – which will take you out of the parking and into the heart of Amsterdam’s business district – you pass a traditional Dutch tyre pump. For long term residents like my bike, this is ideal – the air that slowly seeped out through the tyre’s microscopic cracks will have dropped the tyre pressure.
bicycles parked on two levels

bicycles parked on two levels

bikes with crates

bikes with crates: separate section

Parking is free for the first day. On day 2 and 3 parking costs € 0,50 per day, and from day 4 onwards parking costs € 2,00 per day. Bikes are tracked with tickets carrying the date they’re brought in, and are checked by the parking’s personnel on the way out. Membership costs € 55 per year, and is obviously more economical when you plan to stall your bike longer. So when I moved to Dublin and wanted to stall my bike there long term, I became a member. I got a sticker on my rear mudguard to prove it. Now, each time I leave the parking, the parking’s personnel – their purse with small change in hand – scan my bike for a day ticket until they see my sticker. I then get a small nod of understanding, as they direct their attention to the guy behind me.

The red signs, the orgy of bikes and the buzz of people entering and leaving have turned a tl-lit concrete parking space into an attraction. Apparently, I had to move away to Dublin before I could see it.

delivery bikes

delivery bikes: also a separate section

bicycle parking membership

two membership stickers on mudguard

bicycle parking office

bicycle parking office - where tickets are checked

bike parking exit

bike parking exit

Valentine Bikers

17 Feb

‘Send Your Lover a Saddle Cover’, was the slogan with which bear bicycles enticed Dubliners to deliver a message to their loved ones on St. Valentine’s Day.

The saddle covers were delivered by bear’s Valentine bikers — along with a personal note, a poem, or a love song.

All of the promotion’s profits went to the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

Click on the video, and join the Valentine ride.

Bikes and Brooms in Hanoi

11 Feb

My Mom and Dad have a clear way of dividing roles among them.

At home, Dad is in charge of wines and Mom does the cooking.

On holidays, Mom drives the car, while Dad navigates – always with his aviator sunglasses.

Finally, in supporting their son, tasks are also clearly divided: Dad sends me newspaper clippings of anything related  to bikes, while Mom sends photographs – of their walk in the Dutch dunes or a thick patch of December snow covering the garden table as if it was a flying saucer.

Currently, my Mom and Dad are travelling in Vietnam. Last Tuesday, Mom sent me these pictures of cyclists in Hanoi. She describes how Vietnamese stack goods on bicycles until the bike itself can no longer be seen, and all that remains are structures of metal and fruit and brooms and lampions – moving through the city like fruit stands on wheels.

Now that I’ve gotten my Mom’s pictures, I expect I will soon also receive clippings from Vietnamese newspapers. They will be neatly torn out of their original copies, and the margins will contain a handwritten note, in six words, by my Dad: “Interesting article; how is your Vietnamese”.


Nice Blue Bikes

6 Feb

blue bikes on the promenade des anglaisDublin has its Dublin bikes, Paris has its Velibes and London has its Barclays bikes. These bike schemes let people get to work faster; and the people think that’s nice.

But in the cold winter days, a bike scheme surely couldn´t be nicer than it is in Nice.

There, in the warm micro-climate of the Cote d’Azur, bright blue bikes (vélos bleues) are lined along the Boulevard des Anglais.The sun sparks off their steel handlebars; their blue colour is mirrored in the Meditarrean Sea in the background.

Like the people of Dublin, Paris, or London, the people of Nice love their city’s bike rental scheme. However – unlike the Dublin, Paris and London people – they seem to prefer to use them for cycling along the sunny promenade; rather than for racing to work.

Cyclist in Nice on the Promenade des AnglaisMale cyclist in Nice on blue bikeFemale cyclist in front of Hotel NegrescoCyclist on Nice Boulevardblue bike looking out to sea