Saturday, 11 August 2012

Sepia Saturday - Bicycle, bicycle

Voor de Nederlandse tekst, zie na de Engelse tekst.
This weeks Sepia Saturday theme is cycling, be it Olympic or otherwise. Being Dutch I regard bicycles (in Dutch: fiets) as part of our national genes. However, whenever I hear the word 'bicycle', almost immediately the famous Queen hit starts infecting my brain. And it stays there all day!
Bicycle bicycle bicycle 
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle 
I want to ride my bicycle 
I want to ride my bike 
I want to ride my bicycle 
I want to ride it where I like
Fantastic song, one of my favorites!
Anyway, also a genetic inheritance needs to be maintained. So our son took his first driving lessons when he was around 3 years old.

Son Robert on his first bike, a tricycle,
back in 1970
At a certain point kids are 'contaminated' with fashionable things. So if your friends are riding cool bikes, you must have one as well. Without, life is just unbearable. And if the price is that you have to tolerate your little sister on your banana seat now and again, so be it.
Robert and his little sister Paula on his show bike
around 1973
The next picture comes close to the Sepia Saturday theme picture of this week. The bikes are almost similar and so is the background, the smiles are a little less. I would guess this picture is taken shortly before or more likely, after WWII possibly somewhere in the city of Groningen. Although there is little background to be seen, there is not a single automobile in sight.
My wife's 1st cousin once removed Sibbeltje Klopstra 
and her husband Aaldrik Kroeze

If bicycling is part of your national genetics, you should at least have won the Tour de France once. And we did. Twice.
The Tour is the most demanding cycling event in this world. It lasts for about three weeks and the participants are covering some 3,500 kilometres through windy coastal areas, the Alps and the Pyrenees. The last one this summer was won by Belgian born Englishman Bradley Wiggins. Lance Armstrong (from Plano, TX) is the only 7 times winner, an absolute record.
Both Dutch winners found their images reflected on stamps. And that is no small feat, for a living person that is.
Tour winners Janssen (1968) and Zoetemelk (1980)      
Earlier I referred to British rock band Queen. But having (a) Queen is not the exclusive right of the Brits. Here in The Netherlands we also have a Queen. And what is more, she knows how to ride the bicycle. Shown below is Queen Beatrix when she still was a princess.
Princess Beatrix on her "fiets" in 1963
For more Sepia Saturday Stories, please click here.

Deze week is het Sepia Saturday thema: fietsen. Dat mag Olympisch wegrennen zijn of iets geheel anders. Als ik het Engelse woord voor fietsen hoor (bicycles) moet ik altijd aan de Engelse rockgroep Queen denken. Hun Bicycles is een echte oorwurm, zo'n melodie die de hele dag in je hoofd rond blijft zingen. Helemaal bovenaan de tekst van deze fantastische hit.
Omdat fietsen ons in het bloed zit, beginnen de kleintjes al vroeg. Onze zoon deed dat op een driewieler op 3-jarige leeftijd. Maar ja, driewielers zijn mooi, totdat je vriendjes op veel flitsender fietsen verschijnen. En dan moet jij er natuurlijk ook één hebben, ook al moet je toestaan dat je zus er ook wel eens op wil zitten. Nou ja, als dat de prijs is...
De volgende foto heeft veel weg van die op de Sepia Saturday site van deze week. Ik vermoed dat de foto kort voor of na de 2e wereldoorlog in Groningen is gemaakt. Zij is een achternicht van mijn vrouw en hij haar (toekomstige?) echtgenoot. Tijdens de oorlog op zulke fietsen rijden was niet zonder risico. Dus daarom denk ik dat deze foto daarvoor of daarna is genomen.
Een echte fietsnatie heeft natuurlijk Tour de France-winnaars. Wij hebben er twee, Jan Janssen en Joop Zoetemelk. En als je het zover hebt geschopt, dan kom je met je gezicht op een postzegel. En als je dat overkomt terwijl je nog in leven bent, dan is dat geen geringe prestatie. Want met uizondering van de Koningin, doen we dat eigenlijk niet.
En over de Koningin gesproken, want wij hebben ook een Queen, die is ook zeer wel in staat om te fietsen, getuige deze foto van 26 maart 1963.
Meer Sepia Saturday verhalen van mijn mede-bloggers, vindt u hier.


  1. Peter, bikes for us used to be THE transport, it brought as from A to B, so we were also trained as three year olds and my children too. Nobody would drive the children to school, we walked or biked and my children too. I enjoyed your post.
    F. Kübler is still alive, 93)

  2. You are absolutely right! If you see a traffic jam these days around 9 o'clock AM, you can be sure there is a school around...
    Good to hear Kübler is still with us.

  3. Bradley Wiggins is on a UK stamp as the Royal Mail is issueing a stamp for all the GB medal winners. I don't think the British will ever match the Dutch for the number of people riding bikes.

  4. You'll have a lot of new stamps this year. 25 as of today!

  5. Here in Virginia, if you want to ride a bike you either need nerves of steel, low intelligence, or a bike rack for your car so you can drive some place safe for biking.

  6. I so enjoyed this, and your photo of the pair (relatives once removed) matches so well with Alan's photo this week! Very interesting post, thanks.

  7. Those were cute kids on the banana seat. Also enjoyed the biking princess. I agree with Wendy about biking where I live.

  8. I like the photo of Princess Beatrix most. Nice story!

  9. @Wendy, @Kathy,
    I wasn't aware that biking in the States is so dangerous. I mean, you guys, beg your pardon: girls have so much space there, a little room for a lonely biker should be no problem. Maybe you should rent a bike in Amsterdam for comparison... :) Anyway, thanks for visiting my blog.

    Glad you enjoyed this post, thanks.

  10. Biking is fine in the USA, except when you are in crowded areas, like Atlanta, with bike lanes big enough for half a bike and crazy drivers who are texting instead of watching the road. Some areas of the city are better than others.

  11. A very enjoyable post Peter. Somebody had to succumb to the Queen song! How clever to include a near match picture from your own album too.

  12. @Kristin
    Yeah, texting is a problem here too. Officially it is forbidden to hold a "phone" in your hands (in a car) but the enforcement, in my view, is half hearted. Believe the fine is € 160. I always call them the multi-taskers but a 100% dedication to both texting and driving is theory. I know I can't!

    @Little Nell
    My name is somebody :)

  13. A wonderful set of pictures Peter : you have captured and extended the theme so well.

  14. Thank you Alan, but I do admire many others giving the unexpected twist to the theme!

  15. Biking tradition in the Netherlands is quite enviable. You have since always a lot of lanes and roads for bicycles.
    Here in Italy the bicycles are used as ordinary transport only in some towns of the North. Elsewhere the ground is totally hills/mountains. In Rome, Florence, Naples etc. there are a lot of motos and no bikes at all.

  16. Great photos! Ah, the banana seat bike! Yes, I remember that from my childhood.

  17. @Gio Ve (Riigipiirid)
    If we had the slopes and mountains you have in Italy, we probably wouldn't have the envied biking tradition...

    I remember them too but that was way beyond my childhood :(

  18. Great pictures - As a child of the seventies I also had a banana seat bike.

    Riding bikes in certain areas of the USA can be perilous. Don't know how people ride bikes in New York City but they do, including my brother. Many couriers in NYC ride bikes to make deliveries. I'll never forget the time I was almost run over by a bike courier during a trip to NYC. It was time to cross the street and a bike courier came out of nowhere. Thankfully my NYC street-smart sister-in-law pulled me out of the way just in the nick of time!

  19. A perfect post! Photos of children on bicycles are common enough but I think photos of adults less so, at least in some countries. But they are always photogenic in any era.

  20. @Queen Bee
    Your story reminds me of the situation here in Amsterdam, only stupids stop for pedestrians and red traffic lights...

    Thank you!

  21. Nice post! We also had a little beatle car but on the 90's, and I totally wants to have one again :D
    Thanks for stopping by,


  22. I think you can still buy them but I bet they don't come cheap..
    Tks for visiting my blog!

  23. A great spin on this week's theme, from family pictures to the Tour de France. Given some recent allegations against Armstrong (which would hardly surprise me...), I prefer considering Beatrix on her bike.

  24. I tend to agree with you. Winning the Tour seven times is almost inhuman unless... And then there is the in cycling not uncommon option of buying a victory. But to do that seven times requires quite an investment.

  25. Hi Peter! Great pictures ... I especially loved the one with the kids on the stingray.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to see me.

    Kathy M.


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