I was at the dentist in the waiting room and was pleased to see they had one of my favorite publications, the Utne Reader, which operates out of my home state of Minnesota. Utne is a progressive publication that collects relevant and interesting articles from other sources which keep me up to date on the world without being too pedantic. This May-June 2012 issue had an article featured from Yes! Magazine called, Dutch School Bus is a Bicycle Built for Ten, written by Kate Malongowski.
When I visited the Netherlands, and others have since agreed with me, I noticed they have the most attractive population of people I have ever seen in one place. They’ve got other things going for them like the tulips, legalized cannabis, AND some of the highest rates of biking in the world. Wikipedia tells me trips by bicycle account for 27% of all trips taken in Holland (the country’s so nice they named it twice!) and up to 59% of all trips taken in cities. Utopia? I think yes.
Anyhow, here is the article in full:
Dutch School Bus is a Bicycle Built for Ten
An eco-friendly bicycle bus harnesses the pedal power of kids.
by Kate Malongowski
Some lucky Dutch schoolchildren can now put their seemingly endless energy to good use, by powering their own school bus. Dutch company De Café Racer produced an eco-friendly bicycle-bus that is steered by an adult and pedaled by up to 10 children.
The bright yellow bus is designed for riders aged 4 to 12, and its stability and high visibility provide a safe, early introduction to cycle commuting in a country where bicycling is a way of life and 95 percent of teenagers bike to school at least some of the time.
The bus has a base speed of 10 miles per hour, and a motor for backup if the students are too tired to pedal or need help with hills. Other features include a music player and a canvas cover for shelter on rainy days. There’s even a bench seat where two additional children can sit back and enjoy the ride.
I will most likely be passing through the Netherlands as I am touring Europe by bike this summer. I’ll make sure to update with the inside skinny on this idyllic country which is also known to be the “happiest” country in the world.