I have always been intrigued by the Dutch concept of sharing, equality, pairs, and twosomes. I even did a photo essay about them a while back called Curious Couples. But the concept of ‘Going Dutch’ took on an expanded meaning for me while listening to Bikes Belong spokesperson Zach Vanderkooy. Zach and I were panelists at a symposium for Dutch Design Week in San Francisco called Seeing Orange. Biking is wildly popular with all age groups in Holland. Zach explained why and how this came to be.
It turns out that biking in Holland is designed to be as much about fun as it is about efficiency. The sharing and social part of riding is actually built into the urban infrastructure. For example, whenever possible, bike lanes are made wide enough for people to ride two abreast, rather than in single file. This way people can talk and share the ride together – another expansion of the meaning of ‘going Dutch’.
It makes perfect sense. Imagine if we were forced to use single file sidewalks – a line of alienated human units proceeding along. Boring, awkward, even a little nightmarish. Walking can often be as much about conversation as mobility. And walking deserves wider sidewalks that make interaction possible. And the same should be true of biking. We all prefer to ride with friends and for social reasons (unless we’re just hustling to get someplace or out purely for exercise). But we tend to value bikes more for the independence they give us, and less for their potential to connect us socially.
So now we’re really dreaming: building bike lanes in the US wide enough for two people? This may seem farfetched when many cities have trouble getting approval for any type of bike lane. But in reality, some strides are being made. In fact you can already see examples of doublewide lanes in Manhattan and in other cities in the US. We can learn from the Dutch – they ask us to look at the world a little different. It may be easier for them to think outside the box: they have cities built around canals and clogs made of wood.
We’re going Dutch this Season: 10% off Pairs
Buy any two bikes on one order for us this season, and we’ll give you 10% discount on both bikes. Our new Ready to Ride home delivery option makes this gift option feasible for anyone. Bikes arrive 99% assembled. This offer is valid through Dec 15th. Visualize a pair of bikes for the holidays. (You may want to take this possibility into account when deciding on the size of this year’s tree). Just make the order online and we’ll take 10% off on both bikes after your order – or call us to make your order if you prefer.
Yakkay Cambridge Complete Helmet – $175
Yes – you can actually look stylish in a helmet. Yakkay helmets, designed in Denmark, have taken Europe by storm in the past two years, and we are pleased to introduce them to the US market this season. They are the first helmets to meet our strict safety standards and our needs for a helmet with the fashionable appearance of a good-looking cap.