DUTCH CYCLING SERIES: Bicycle with baskets are synonymous with Dutch cycling, but front-mounted crates and pannier bags seem to get more everyday use by people cycling in the Netherlands.
As it may have become apparent to anybody looking close enough to our last three articles (1, 2, 3) in this series, the bicycles people cycle in the Netherlands are set up for carrying most people’s everyday loads and more.
Given that more and more Irish cycling commuters seem to be using Dutch-like solutions, some readers might find this article unnecessary and the solutions obvious. But the bicycle’s potential for carrying shopping, work gear, school books, and sports gear with relativity easy is still not fully understood in Ireland — and that is a barrier to cycling as a way of getting from A to B becoming more mainstream.
While cargo bicycles get a lot of coverage (including from us) for being able to carry a large weekly load of shopping, a more common method by bicycle in the Netherlands is loading bicycle panniers and baskets or crates.
On our visit to the Netherlands, the vast bulk of photographs we took which includes a few bicycles shows that having a front or rear rack, or both, is standard. Rear racks can carry pannier bags which hang down or the racks can carry any bag strapped on:
Putting the things you need to carry on your bicycle rather than on your back, is one of the ways it makes it easier for children to carry their bags to school:
Only 1 out of 5 of the children crossing at this green bicycle sequence had a backpack on — the rest are using a pannier, a crate, or a basket:
But it’s not just children who carry things on their bicycles, people of all ages do:
Baskets and panniers are often used together. Note that this basket is made stronger and steadier because it is fixed to a front-mounted rack, which are more secure than your average bicycle basket:
This bicycle parking outside the shop behind it, seemed to being used for a bit of shopping and the storage basket is left open awaiting the owner’s return:
On this trip to Dutch cities, crates seemed to be more common than baskets:
Front-mounted racks were also used for carrying bags:
You can also stuff your briefcase into a pannier:
Few others besides courriers prominently used large back packs:
As well as witnessing what Dutch people use we also visited the company Fietsklik, who have a vision for more a system of clickable rack system which will fit panniers and crate or child seat on a rear rack at the same time. Their foldable crate, which can be locked to the rack makes it an interesting solution, but one which does not yet seem to give more space than the typically used rear and front rack combo:
This series on Dutch cycling will continue, covering issues such mass bicycle parking, why we are more like the Dutch than we think, and more. Check some of the other articles in the series: