There are 22.5m bicycles in the country of 17m people, and the number keeps rising. However, there’s a bitter twist to it for the old-school cyclist. Standard push-bikes might soon be a rarity. E-bikes now officially outsell them, despite the spiralling prices.
Out of €1.2bn spent on bicycles last year, €823m accounted for e-bikes. 409,400 electric units were sold in total. The Dutch prefer quality over the cheap stuff, which increased the average price for a sold bike by €200 to €1,207.
“We are bike country No 1 in the world so we are used to investing in innovative bikes so there is difference there compared with other countries, including the UK,” RAI’s Floris Liebrand told the Guardian. “For us it is quite normal to spend €1,000 on a bike. An average for an e-bike is over €2,000 but that is in our culture. We believe in the quality of our products. There are e-bikes of €700 or €900 but they are from south-east Asia and the quality is lower.”
E-bikes are the preferred choice for the elderly as well as for commuters. 60% of all workers live within a 15km radius of their work, which is considered an ideal distance for riding an electric bicycle.
There is a belief in the Netherlands that the need for distinction between an e-bike and a regular bike will soon vanish and that every unit will simply be called a bicycle, be it battery-powered or not. However, Floris Liebrand believes that almost all bicycles will be powered by some kind of battery in the future.
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