The little apple – how to store bikes en-masse.
Wow. And Wow again. You’ve got to give it to the folk from the Netherlands, they know how to embrace cycling. This impressive structure – dubbed ‘the bike apple’ – can be found outside the railway station in Alphen aan den Rijn. It can accommodate 970 bikes within its structure, a steel framed piece of artwork that stands an imposing 15.5 metres high and 27.5 metres wide. Believe it or not, this addition to the cycle parking at the station brings the total amount of cycle storage up to 2850 spaces. Do you get the impression that the Dutch value their bikes as much as – if not more than – their cars?
I’m very envious of vision on this scale. I feel that the UK is on the verge of waking up to the benefits of the bicycle, what with the pressures of choked roads, climbing obesity levels, climate change and rising population, all dovetailing into one big civil headache. The bike offers a sensible, cheap alternative that promotes fitness, reduces personal carbon emissions and – very importantly – gets more cars off the roads.
If you stand back and reflect for a moment – parking any concerns about road safety and frequent poor weather – the bike makes perfect sense doesn’t it? I don’t know how you feel, but I’d far prefer to live and work in a city or town that wasn’t choked with diesel and petrol fumes. It’s one of the great beauties of the bike; the benefits are shared (i.e. If I ride my bike I’m not adding to the fumes that others have to breathe in). That’s not to say that a car doesn’t have its place of course – yes, I own and use one too – but regular, judicious choice of vehicle can reap untold benefits, particularly if the journeys are short and manageable. Anyway….sermon over, and back to admiring that lovely apple (and being envious of the company that got the contract!).