Saturday 24 October 2009

Nice weekend video. The Netherlands by bike in the 1950s.

Mark Wagenbuur has made a wonderful video combining views of cycling in the Netherlands in the 1950s.

The remarkable thing about it is how familiar all of it looks. There's exactly the same level of cycle helmet wearing as in the country now, roughly the same number of people riding on back carriers, children on bikes, "ordinary clothes", practical bikes and smiling faces.

More specifically, compare the scene at 1:15 with part of a video I made of the fietsvierdaagse last year. Even the four wheel "family sized" velomobile at 1:40 has a modern day analogue in the Netherlands.

And that bloemencorso at the end... We went (by bike of course) to one this year, but I've not put it on the blog yet.

Another video from the 1950s that I like a lot is this one. Sadly, though, Britain does look as it used to.


Mark W. said...

David I thought you as a basket maker would also notice the nice basket child carrier from 1:46 to 1:50.
They were quite common for years. I don't think I saw one recently though.
I agree with your overall comment. It looks strangely familiar, even all those bicycles themselves. There is one striking difference. In this movie you see cycle paths outside of the built up areas, rather than in cities. We now have them everywhere.

David Hembrow said...

Hi Mark, I did notice the child seat. Lovely. However, I unfortunately can't make them and sell them as these days I'd have to submit several for destructive testing to make sure they're fit for use according to the European cycle seat standards people. A shame.

You're right about the cycle paths in cities too. There are so many more than there used to be. Of course, when those films were shot, cycling was very much under threat and declining in popularity - Something which happily was turned around 30 years ago.

Mike said...

Wow that four person family bike sure does look like the duo quest.

Nick said...

Blimey! If it weren't for the cars and the clothes, you'd be hard pressed to tell it wasn't today. (OK, I exagerate a little, but not much.)