This story happened a while ago, but I thought I would tell it now anyway, as I’m blogging and all. As you may or may not be aware, the Netherlands is a country of bicycles. Because the landscape is so flat (and perhaps because the Dutch are oh-so-economical), over the last 150 years or so the bicycle has proven to be a very popular form of transportation in this country. There are almost as many bicycles here as people, and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the huge family rolls-royce model with two child seats and saddlebags for the shopping, to the tiny fold-away ones you can take on the train without even having to buy a ticket for them (again, very economical). They even have a mobile street bar propelled by the patrons.

One particularly useul species of bicycle is the bakfiets, or ‘container bike’. It’s a bike with an enormous receptacle on the front that you can use to transport things like, oh I don’t know, home-grown vegetables to market, street organs, Ikea purchases, that type of thing. So when one of Michiel’s neighbours dumped an irresistible 2-seater couch in front of their house, we both agreed that the only thing to do was to get a bakfiets and get it over to my place toot-sweet. So I rented one for the afternoon for 3 euros from the biological vegetable farm down the road, went down to Michiel’s and chucked the couch into it.

Of course, it didn’t fit.

So, with one hand on the handlebars, and the other holding the couch in place, I cycled along the busy road at a glacial pace for 20 minutes, and miraculously made it back to my place with both me and the couch in one piece. Then, happy with my accomplishments, we unloaded the couch and proceeded to carry it up the stairs.

Of course, it didn’t fit.

So I removed one of the handrails and managed to get it up the first flight, around the corner and into the doorway of the second flight of stairs.

Of course, it didn’t fit.

This time there wasn’t even a handrail to unscrew, so I had to concede defeat and take the couch back down the stairs and onto the street. And when I returned to it around half an hour later, it was gone! The economy of the Dutch proves to be advantageous yet again!

Just before I go, here’s another fine example of Dutch bicycle technology:

Random quote of the day:

Counting is for people who can’t dance.”


3 Responses to “Bakfiets”

  1. 16 April, 2008 at 8:31 am

    there are so many things in this post that were hilarious.

    also, I realize now how “of course, it didn’t fit” is such an accurate way to describe life here.

  2. 2 Maria Pia
    16 April, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I love the quote of the day!

    Soooo true! 🙂

  3. 3 Taya
    16 April, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I can see the look on your face as you realised it really was impossible… (shattered that i missed it)

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