I hate cargobikes!

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Cargo bicycles - of varying sizes and shapes - are becoming even more common in the Netherlands than they already were. For some they are an ideal means of transport, but for others they are a constant source of irritation. Student Christel van der Meer says she hates cargo bikes. She is just 21, but because she is only planning to have two children, she hopes that she will never have to resort to using a cargo bike, "no, never".
 
Ugly
As a father innocently transports his children to school in a large cargo bike, Christel asks, "why are you riding such an ugly thing?" He laughs good-naturedly in response. He's certainly not the only one riding a trendy transport bike to the school in one of the better Utrecht neighbourhoods. Within minutes, the area close to the school is crowded with cargo bikes. The father says, "it's really easy for the kids and you can get all your shopping in it as well".
 
Test drive
We decide to test a cargo bike. The Cyclists Association kindly lend us one. My colleague has good hand-eye coordination and is zipping in between parked cars in no time. I'm sitting in the cargo area and I'm not very happy at all. Mind you, at age 42, I'm not exactly the target group.
 
It takes a bit of doing but I finally manage to persuade Christel to try out the cargo bicycle, "no, no, not in the cargo bit, on the saddle". Christel admits that it's pretty comfortable but swears that this is the first and last time.