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What your bike says about you

Date:03 June 2020
Author:Danique
As you can see, I clearly am one of those people who says "if i spray paint it ugly colours, no one will steal it!!"
As you can see, I clearly am one of those people who says "if i spray paint it ugly colours, no one will steal it!!"

It’s World Bicycle Day! As most of you probably know, the Dutch culture is truly characterised by bikes. There are more bikes in the Netherlands than people, with 50% of all Dutch citizens' using a bike as their main form of transport for commuting, and approximately 37,000km of bike paths in our tiny country. We really like bikes. The great thing about having so many bikes in one small country, is that there is a very wide variety of bikes.

So, what does your bike say about you? 

1.The basic swapfiets 

Ah the Swapfiets, the most common bike in Groningen. You’ve spent countless hours looking for your black or blue swapfiets amongst the sea of other black and blue swapfietsen after a long day in the UB. You constantly forget where you parked your bike, which results in you having to try and unlock at least 5 different swapfietsen with the same color scheme as yours before you find it. You’ve put a fun looking sticker on your bike to help you remember which one is yours, but alas, you still seem to lose it more often than not.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great concept. What’s 12 euro a month when you don’t have to worry about any bike repairs or even working bike lights? Knowing it isn’t profitable in the long run, you still tell yourself it’s worth it, because “imagine all the money I’d be spending on bike repairs and bike lights!”.

"yeah mine is the one with the blue tire"
"yeah mine is the one with the blue tire"

2.The secondhand bike that is falling apart 

Next to swapfietsen, these are probably the second most common bikes among us students. Your rusty second hand bike is your trusted form of travel, even though the safety of it is questionable. You enjoy telling people you bought it at a secondhand store for whatever price you bought it for. Every time you bike on it, the people around you are convinced it’s about to fall apart due to the amount of noise it makes (plus side; you don’t need a bell). Maybe you spray painted it to be able to recognize it better, or to cover up the rust marks. Maybe the gears don’t work, or you have to brake with your feet because the brake cables are broken. You refuse to buy a new bike because you’re too emotionally attached and too cheap to buy a new one, but also refuse to fix it because “fixing it is more expensive than the bike itself”. You also often tell yourself “it’s good I have this bike because it’s ugly so no one will steal it”.

"The ugly colours make it easier to recognise in front of the UB!"
"The ugly colours make it easier to recognise in front of the UB!"

3. The way too fancy and new bike

Knowing the bike is going to be your most used form of transportation during your student life, you splurged and spent a lot more money than the second hand bikers. Knowing that your precious bike is worth more than five swapfietsen and second hand bikes together, you protect your trusty steed. You have a chain lock big which you religiously use, even if you have to leave your bike unattended for only a matter of minutes. You always park it somewhere where you can see if from your window, just to make sure that it doesn’t get stolen. Your bike clearly shows that you treat your possessions with great care and enjoy a good investment. 

"The little rack on the front is so useful!" (said no one ever)
"The little rack on the front is so useful!" (said no one ever)

4. The race bike 

You are sporty, and you want people to know that. City bikes are a thing of the past for you. You are able to bike from the centre of the city to Zernike in a record time, zipping past all of the people on their second hand bikes struggling to peddle in their fixed 5th gear. You always carry 3 chain locks with you to be able to lock your prized possession in every possible way to avoid any parts of it being stolen. It is clear that you didn’t just acquire this bike because you want to be able to get to Zernike quickly, but that fitness is your passion, and everyone should know that. You also enjoy a quick getaway. That annoying guy from your statistics class is trying to ask you to share your notes with him again? He doesn’t stand a chance, because before he can even ask a question you’ve already biked off into the distance.

"Fitness is my passion"
"Fitness is my passion"

5. The vintage race bike 

While you admire the classic race bike, you don’t actually want to use it for exercise. You want to make people believe that fitness is your passion, and it makes for a very hip wall decoration. You have bought a vintage race bike, or you took your parent’s bike from when they were students. Old is the new new, right? This bike says that you don’t want to conform to the mainstream norms of society (like the Swapfietsers among us). There is probably also a big chance that you don’t really know how the gears work. But that’s not a problem, considering how flat Groningen is. 

"My bike is just so much more authentic"
"My bike is just so much more authentic"

6.The OV fiets

Lets face it, you don’t bike. You hate biking. You hate how fast Dutch people bike and don’t really understand how the whole traffic situation works, and don’t really feel like finding out. You prefer walking everywhere, however, on the odd occasion you do have to go somewhere that isn’t walkable or reachable with public transport, you borrow an OV fiets. Which you also hate because they are heavy and ugly.

"Guys this better be worth the 3 euro bike hire"
"Guys this better be worth the 3 euro bike hire"

Sound familiar? Which one are you? Let us know in the comments below! 

About the author

Danique
Danique
Hey! I’m Danique, a Dutch/American studying International Relations and International Organizations with a mild obsession with coffee, cats, and rowing. If you can’t find me, look for the girl (almost always) wearing pink and writing blogs.

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