Tuesday 6 January 2009

Bikes at a school in winter

On a ride today I passed this primary school and thought the bikes looked nice in the sun. They're a pretty typical collection of Dutch children's bicycles. Each has mudguards (fenders), a chain guard, a way of carrying school books, dynamo lights etc. Practical bicycles built on a small scale.

In this case you see just the bikes from the junior class at this school. It's a small school and each class parks their bikes in a separate place.

When my children left for school this morning I noticed that the outside temperature was -9 C ( 15 F ). That's also the temperature at which these primary school children will also have cycled. Because it's so cold at the moment one of my children went on a school trip today to go ice-skating. As is normal for school trips, the class cycled to the frozen lake where they skated.

Last year I took a video of children cycling to school at a relatively mild -2 C. You can watch that video here.

There are also other posts on this blog about travel to school and about winter cycling.


Sarah said...

That is so impressive! I live in the U.S. in a strong biking city (Boulder, CO) but there are only a few brave souls out biking when it is cold, and probably not many children. I biked for the first time in 15F temperature the other day and discovered it wasn't so bad. My core even got slightly too warm, although my hands and face stayed on the too cold side. Anyway, I really envy the biking culture of the Netherlands; it is frustrating to live in a country where biking as transportation is not taken very seriously and everyone is very quick to turn to their cars.

Anonymous said...

Littlehampton dutch bikes had some Batavus kids bikes in stock last year.. at about £350 a pop. Lovely as they looked, the Islabikes looked much better value, with all the same features except the chainguard. I suspect the exchange rate is to blame, right?

David Hembrow said...

Sarah, yes you stay pretty warm so long as you've enough clothes on. If too cold you need to go a bit faster !

DrMekon, I have many fond memories of the times that we had with our children on Islabikes Trailerbikes, but while I think they're likely to be very good, I don't really think Islabikes current range of bikes are at all comparable with what Dutch children get.

Islabikes makes sport bikes for occasional use. Not one of the bikes on their website has mudguards, a rack, an enclosed chain, or permanently fitted lights. On the other hand, the Dutch children's bikes are practical machines with all those things, made for the everyday use that they get.

If you want a reliable everyday bike which won't make your children dirty and won't need much maintenance, you're probably going to have to stump up for the Dutch models. Batavus are an expensive brand. There are fully equipped kids bikes in the shops here for half that price, perhaps a bit less.