Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bicycles at risk

It's been very rainy and windy the past few days.

Many things have blown into the canals.

Such as chairs,
retired Christmas trees,


and party hats (the coot is pleased with his new styrafoam landing).

Some boats have filled and sunk,

And many bicycles are at risk!

Bicycles at risk often end up in the canals which, given enough time, may lead to this.

Bicycles in the canals are an ongoing problem in the Netherlands (and perhaps, the natural alternative to the wonderful Dutch Bicycle Tree).

For more photos, here is a cute story from Dutch City Bike about bicycles at risk.


  1. I understand that there are plans to introduce Halomonas titanicae to Dutch canals in order to digest drowned bicycles. Provided of course that the canals can be filled with sea water as this bacteria prefers a saline environment (the Halo- part), and that most of the bikes have not been rust-proofed.

    Further to your earlier post about windmills and street scrubbing: there is a recent book by Auke van der Woud, Koninkrijk vol sloppen. Achterbuurten en vuil in de negentiende eeuw. This describes how during the 19th and part of the 20th centuries city streets used to be so dirty - due to lack of sanitation - that people simply had to clean the street in front of their houses in order to keep mud and excrement, bot human and animal, out. We now complain about dog poo but it's hard to imagine how seriously worse conditions were not so long ago.

  2. I once read about a gentleman who stepped out of his canal-side apartment to find his beloved bakfiet missing. He thought surely someone had run off with it.

    But upon careful inspection the gentleman found that the bike had been blown into the canal by the wind. Thankfully the lucky bike was hanging, upside-down, by the two cable locks the gentleman had used to lock each wheel up to a post.

    Other than a few scratches to the cargo box, the beloved bike was none the worse for wear.

  3. In addition to my first comment: my sister tells me that Bilthoven, or at least part of it, got rid of its last outhouses in the 1960s. Now Bilthoven is not the poorest part of the country; it compares favorably with Aerdenhout and Bloemendaal. She also recalled that during her student days in Groningen, in the early 1960s, many houses in the older parts of town still had no "outlet" onto the sewage system. Not that long ago ...

  4. Will: I think you'll find that "fiets" is the singular and "fietsen" is the plural.

    As for your story, something almost exactly like that happened to Henry of Bakfiets en Meer here.

  5. Yes! I remember that post from Henry :) !