This Is How We Park Our Bicycles

As you may know, the bicycle is one of the leading forms of transportation throughout the Netherlands. Work commutes, outings with friends, shopping, you name it, people use their bike to do it. Great for the environment and great for the closely packed cities that don’t have cars overwhelming the narrow streets. Yet at some point, people get off their bikes to go into the shops, offices, etc. That’s when things get challenging. What to do with all of those bikes?
Sure, there are plenty of old-fashioned bike racks that can hold a handful of bikes, and those are put to good use, often with multiple racks placed in a long row for busy neighborhood corners, especially corners close to bars and cafés. But even those fill up quickly and bikes are soon left chained up to anything remotely stable.

In the city center, it can be particularly challenging to find somewhere safe to lock up your bike. Finding and fitting your bike into a vaguely free spot in the racks can make Tetris look like a game for infants.

Obviously, the city is aware of the need for decent bicycle parking, so they continue to develop new parking options. On weekends, when even more people are coming into the city to shop and socialize, special mobile bicycle parking lots are created wherever there’s room for them. Neude, in particular, is a popular central spot for these pop-up parking lots.
Parking, Dutch Style
These free parking lots are set up by the city and provide a centralized parking spot where people can leave their bikes all day. With Utrecht’s city center being so small and walkable, Neude is a great spot to park and go.

Still, these bicycle parking lots are usually only on the weekend, so there’s still the need for additional, organized bicycle parking throughout the week. The latest instalment is also at Neude, but this time it’s indoor parking.
Fietsenstalling NeudeThe Neudeflat, the tall, rather unattractive building next to the old post office, has become the latest bicycle parking receptacle. The ground floor, which has been home to a variety of city information spots in recent years, has now been converted into a free indoor bicycle parking spot.
Fietsenstalling Neude
Considering the tangle of bicycles that usually develops in multiple spots around Neude, this seems like a decent use of space that might otherwise have sat empty. Easy to use, less chance of ending up with a soggy bottom on a rainy day, and hopefully a few less dings, dents, and broken bicycle bells when you return. After all, who wants to mess up a unique paint job like this!

14 thoughts on “This Is How We Park Our Bicycles

  1. Part of the point of that unique paint job is that you can leave it outside, no-one’s going to steal a bike that distinctive.

    • Sure, but if you’ve gone to all that trouble, rather than just spraying the whole bike an eye-searing color, then you might as well protect it when possible. 😉

    • I’ve seen some of those floating bike parks. Although I’m sure plenty still get tossed into the water. I suppose the old tossed bikes could be used for new building foundations. 😉 It’s always fun watching the bikes being dredged up from the canals.

    • Sorry, it’s not an old one (well, old only in the sense that I took it a few years ago). I was playing with camera settings that day. The graffiti is the usual boring stuff, none of the interesting stuff.

      • Ah well – I was going off bicycle styles too. If it was London, say, there would be more variety of styles. The old style handle-bars made me wonder. Perhaps safer to use older styles: not worth stealing if all are similar.same.


        • The handlebars and overall bike styles are pretty common, even for brand new bikes, and certainly for city bikes. As flat as it is, there’s not a lot of need for multiple gears and only sports cyclists have the racing-bike style of handles. For daily use, this style of bike is much more comfortable.

  2. Ha! All those bicycles bring back fond memories. Like arriving in Amsterdam and discovering there was a bicycle garage next to the Station Centraal! Great idea for the city of Utrecht to provide additional — and indoor — fietsen parking. And, yes, seeing how many bicycles ended up in the canals was amusing. Less amusing was watching Utrecht city workers going around and “seizing” illegally parked bikes! I wish I’d had my camera with me for THAT sight!

    • I remember photographing the Amsterdam bike garage my first time there, having seen it recently on The Amazing Race. The seizing of illegally parked bikes isn’t super regular here, but happens a few times a year when the discarded and annoying bikes build up to intolerable levels. 🙂

  3. Another reason for spray painting it in bright colours is so you can spot it easily from afar, especially useful if you have it parked near busy spots. You have no idea how many times I’ve wandered around looking for my ‘chariot’, only to realise I had passed it a couple of times. Let alone if you’re slightly inebriated. 😉

    • Oh, I can imagine! My bike is one of the most generic ones out there. If we didn’t have a very bright and slightly different fietstasje on it, I’m sure I’d have had to decorate it somewhat distinctly to ever find it again.

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