Science - September 22, 2005

Q&A / The bicycle bag

Even before you came to the Netherlands you probably knew that the Dutch are famous for their bicycles. Amazingly, there are more bicycles (about 18 million) than there are people in the Netherlands (a little over 16 million). It’s hardly surprising then that the Netherlands is the country with the highest bicycle density in the world.

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Driving a car is impractical for most foreign students due to regulations and the expense, and taking the bus is not much use in Wageningen. So, you have probably already noticed how useful a bicycle can be, as the only other alternative within town is to go everywhere on foot.

So, the chances are you have already bought a bike. But have you ever wondered about how to get all your belongings on it as well when riding it? Groceries for example: maybe you have tried cycling with a plastic bag in your hand or hanging over the handlebars. If you haven’t learned how dangerous this is, you will do soon as your bag hits the wheel. If you are lucky only your groceries will have got mangled in the spokes, if not, you might hit the ground too.

To avoid this, you can of course use a backpack, but this is not very comfortable, especially when you have a long ride home and lots of groceries. There is a solution though: the bicycle bag! This consists of one bag on each side of the rear carrier of your bike. You may have seen them around, stuffed with groceries or being used by people delivering mail and newspapers by bike, but they are just as useful for children to put their feet in when they are sitting on the back. The bicycle bag is a real multipurpose article here in Holland.

Once you have become convinced of its usefulness, you can buy a bicycle bag in all bicycle shops, but the Hema also sells them for a reasonable price. Also, check out the bicycle equipment stall at the market on Wednesdays. You can get a good one for about fifteen euros. Once you’ve put it on your bike, don’t forget to close it when your bike is outside. Besides people using it at a trashcan, the rain has a habit of forming puddles at the bottom of the bags.

Laurien Holtjer