Yes..Bicycle! You have no idea how essential this vehicle is in Lowlands. Bicycle (or in Dutch = fiets) is very important! You cycle to your work, to carry your groceries, to drop off your kids to school, or just to do some errands, you ride your bicycle to everywhere so basically you can not live without it.
Cycling is definitely not one of the most important transportation means in Jakarta, my hometown. If you want to cycle to your work, we are going to yell in your face, ” Are you f***ing crazy?!! ” .. We normally go to work by cars, or use the public transportation or by taxi. It is impossible to cycle in the city because our city does not have secure bicycle paths, the air is way too polluted to inhale and that’s why people prefer to use their cars to the nearest shop because they are protected inside in their air conditioned cars. Easy peasy. And lazy. When I arrived in the Netherlands, I was really surprised that people still use bicycles in daily life. They even have a couple of kind of bikes. Like the most famous ones:
1. Omafiets (Granny bike)
This is the most popular bicycle in the Netherlands. A traditional omafiets is usually painted in black, high (that’s why I do not have this type of bike due to my height), and has a steel construction that makes it quite heavy to peddle. This kind of bike has a single-speed gear. Which is OK since the roads here are very flat 😀 !! In Indonesia, we call this bikes as sepeda jengki. Outside of the Netherlands, people call these bikes as Dutch bikes. You can not imagine that these bikes are valuable. A good omafiets can costs more than 100 euro!
The pictures are courtesy of here
Freight bikes or known as bakfietsen are multi-purpose bicycles. For decades many parents have been using this type of bike to transport their kids to places. Schools, daycare and home. It becomes more and more popular and also because of its agility and comfort, nowadays parents prefer to use bakfiets rather than cars.
In Indonesia we also have similar variant of bakfiets. We call it gerobak. Below is a picture of a bread mobile vendor in Indonesia. We usually buy bread from a mobile seller, they sell bread from kampoeng to kampoeng. My dad has a regular bread vendor back home, I think we have been buying bread from him for more than 10 years! Of course you also can buy bread at the stores or supermarkets, but to buy bread from a mobile vendor has its own charm. More personal, we chat and build relations with the seller too.
And what about me? .. I got my bike from a Dutch ebay = Marktplaats for about 50 euros (a second hand bike). My bike is in need to be pimped! I promise her (I give her a name, Ryu!). Her saddle is totally torn and rotten and she needs to be polished!! She gets a bit rusty cos I have left her outside of the apartment the whole winter. Now the spring is here I will be taking my bike to do errands 🙂 more often hehe…
EDIT: Ryu was broken in 2011. Someone stole its saddle after I had bought a new saddle, and the bike was just falling apart since then. My beloved bf, his parents and his nana gave me as a bday present in November, a super sturdy and awesome bike! I was utterly impressed by it. And boy, what that was a nice surprise!!! Here is a pic of my new bud..
A lady bike. Furnished with a very comfortable saddle, practical brake pedals, a big and yet light rattan basket on the front side (super handy for putting quick daily groceries). I love my new bud to bits! And last but not least..an useful tip for you who maybe just move to Holland. When you buy a fiets, please invest in a good (pad)locks for your bike. If needed, buy 2! You will need them. Trust me. Bikes are great for (dirty) business here