On Wednesday the 15th of August, TeamAlert will be providing minor bicycle repairs for students for free in Groningen.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
The initiative is an annual service offered by TeamAlert during the KEI Week, a five-day-long orientation programme for incoming students in the city of Groningen. TeamAlert, a youth organisation based in Utrecht, will carry out small repairs such as fixing broken lights, bells, brake pads and cables on student bikes for freeon the 15thof August in the City Centre. TeamAlert volunteers will also be giving fietsadvies and giving tips on how to cycle safely for all new students.
The organisation is offering the same service during the University of Utrecht’s orientation week, UIT, which is also being held this week. The KEI week is the introductory week for all new students in the city, from the University of Groningen, Hanzehogeschool, Academie Verloskunde and Stenden Hogeschool. It runs from the 13thto the 17thAugust this year and includes a huge number of events, including giant parties on the Grote Markt, information markets and introductory tours and talks.
Cycling without lights on the front or back of your bike can be punished with a fine from the police, although the enforcement of that policy may be slightly less strictly enforced for the time being: the police union is in negotiations to improve their labour agreement, and cops nationwide have not been collecting on fines for minor offenses to decrease their workload.
Even by Dutch standards, Groningen is all about bikes: 61 percent of all trips in the city are made by bike, and amongst journeys to educational institutions, that rises to 70 percent. Groningers are so fiets-crazy that there’s an average of 3.1 bikes per household.
Students are encouraged to buy a second-hand bicycle once they arrive in Groningen and there are plenty of shops around the centre of town to buy your very own steed. Delft-based company Swapfiets has taken Groningen by storm with its blue-wheeled bikes, and the service recently launched in Leeuwarden as well. Bike theft remains a fact of life in the city, even though reports of swiped bikes have been down of late.