It's been a busy week... Some time ago we were asked to make a study of the novel "Fietsmolen" cycle park at Nieuw Vennep in North Holland, and eventually we got around to it last Saturday. It's over 200 km from here, so Judy and I took our cheap folding bikes on the train and made a very short (20 km or so) ride in the rain around the area.
The Fietsmolen itself is quite interesting. It's an anonymous metal box above ground which allow automated use of 200 cycle parking spaces underground. If there's interest, perhaps I'll also write it up on the blog in due course. Nieuw Vennep has just 30000 residents, but in total cycle parking is for more than 1100 bikes, meaning that there is parking for one in 28 of the population to leave a bike at the railway station. This is around the same figure as for Assen and Groningen, a little higher than some places, a little lower than others, but not far off average for Dutch railway station cycle parking.
On our short ride we passed the Keukenhof gardens, but it was much too late in the day to pay to go in. Next to it I spotted this company hiring bikes, complete with a huge fake recumbent (The normal bike next to it is a full sized adult's bike).
On Easter Monday and Tuesday I made baskets. Including a couple of these. They're Extra Large bike baskets which I make to fit a front rack. Unfortunately I had just one front rack left, which went in the post on Tuesday. However, there's good news on the racks...
This week I found a new supplier for the same racks, who not only charges us a little less (allowing us to reduce the price of the handlebar mounted front racks by 20%). What's more, we now have the racks in the retail packaging. We've quite a lot of them in stock now, and I put an English translation of the fitting instructions in with each rack.
From Wednesday through to Friday I worked with my colleagues at the Ligfietsgarage in Groningen. We built two more Mango velomobiles, sent a Mango Sport test ride bike to Denmark for display at a show in Aarhus, and did a few repairs to local customers bikes. It has been noted in Dutch newspapers that bike shops around the country have plenty of work to do on bikes which suffered in the heavy winter we've just had. Of course, those with exposed chains, brakes and gears are much less able to deal with winter than those which have these sensitive parts enclosed (as do almost all Dutch town bikes and also the Sinner Mango).
One of our Mango customers came along on a day when we'd got nearly all the stock outside. We don't only sell Mangos but also have a large number of the other excellent touring and commuting machines from Sinner, the Demon, Spirit and Comfort and a select range of models we like from other manufacturers as well.
And that brings up right up to yesterday, when I rode to work and back with the Bongo trailer behind the Mango. Going to work was fine, but a big bundle of packaging material (needed for the baskets) was not the most aerodynamic thing to tow, so this slowed me down a lot on the return journey, which took almost an hour. Anyway, on the way home I got to watch the bike computer go past 5000 km. My Mango is now just about exactly 6 months old, so that works out as about 190 km per week on average in the Mango, much of it in the three days of commuting to Groningen. Of course, I do still ride other bikes...
We've a busy weekend, and another busy week ahead. Tomorrow is the Ligfietsopstapdag in Assen, and on Monday and Tuesday there are baskets to make.
As I now have both racks and packaging material, I need to get on with wrapping those baskets pictured above and taking them to the post office.
At some point I think we will need a holiday...