It would be impossible to blog about life in the Netherlands and not write about the Bakfiets – the ubiquitous box-bike . It is, in my humble opinion, one of the coolest if not THE coolest thing about residing in Holland. Wikipedia, as always, amounts it up quite effectively in their definition of just what a Bakfiets is: “Human Powered Vehicles designed and built specifically for transporting large tons”. But back to the topic.
In my 8th month of pregnancy with my 2nd child, I determined that I had to get a Bakfiets absolutely, at that very moment. Without a car or any other useful form of transport, I started to have nightmares to be housebound with a 1.5-year-old and newborn during the eternal Dutch winter.
And so my Bakfiets research started. For starters, a good is expensive. A bare-bones model from one of the good quality brands will easily cost you 1,500€ to start. I won’t assess any particular models because this is more of an individual choice. Expats in general seem to choose the 3-wheelers, due to the fact you have less threat of tipping (or at least believe that way when you’re on).
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But those who eliminated fully Dutch and advanced to the 2-wheeler also sing their praises, about how light they are particularly. De Fietsfabriek: Top of the line iconic Dutch brand and with a price tag to complement. Starting price for the Bakfiets Classic is €1,895. Christiania Bikes: The Christiania bakfiets hails from Denmark.
We love that one for its light aluminum body. Starting price for a Christiania Cargo Basic is €1,549. Starting price for the Bakfiets Cargo Trike is €1,785. Gazelle Cabby: Gazelle only makes a 2-wheeler as far as I know, but quite a few friends rave about this bicycle. You usually can’t go too wrong with a Gazelle, in general, in addition they make great bikes of very good quality. Starting price for the Gazelle Cabby is €1,699.
The Nihola is another brand that I’ve seen around a lot. I have a couple of friends that have taken to this bike really. Unfortunately I don’t know a thing about it so can’t speak for it some way. If the Bakfiets comes to your home in a large box prepared to be put together, as the above brands likely will: SEND IT BACK. There’s a good chance that package arrived directly from China which your Bakfiets, which really is a cheap knock-off, will break apart soon after assembly. You do not want this to happen to you. Remember that the nice ones come in one piece.
New Bakfiets in one of the top brands is a large investment. 2nd hand. There are not easy to come across good used Bakfiets get snatched up like hot cakes because. The entire mechanics and frame of the good Bakfiets generally hold up quite well. With regular maintenance and tune-ups, you can get a whole great deal of years out of your box bike. Owned by Ebay, Marktplaats is the largest second-hand online market place in the Netherlands. It’s completely in Dutch, but if you need to do any online shopping at all, you can quickly pick up on how the website works. If I were able to do it, you can do it.
Beware that moving a Bakfiets is challenging. If you find a good 2nd hand’s Bakfiets at a considerable distance (i.e. you can not bike it back again to your home), you’ll need to hire just a little trailer or a truck to get it back to your house. As mentioned above, the good ones cannot be dismantled (trust me, we tried).