RECYCLED CYCLES – great idea!

Do you think they look good? Photo: Roetz Bikes

About a million new bikes are sold each year in the Netherlands, from which it follows that thousands of old ones go to the scrap heap (or to the bottom of a canal).

Tiemen ter Hoeven and Mark Groot Wassink buy up useable old bike frames from police and government depots, give them a trendy paint job, fit them with durable new components and sell them.

Roetz Bikes are assembled in a workshop in Dordrecht which employs people with special needs under the supervision of retired bike mechanics.

The hope is that the skills and experience the workers gain will enable them to find other jobs in bike shops, should they want to.

Roetz bikes are designed to be durable and environmentally-friendly, with leather saddles, cork hand-grips and pressed wooden mudguards.

The range of city and retro models will be launched in Dutch bike shops this week. City bikes cost EUR499, classic retro bikes EUR699.

I like the look of them and while Mevrouw T and I have enough bikes in the shed for the moment (seven at the last count), we wish the Roetz team every success. Could cycle recycling work in other parts of the world? Or does it already happen?

The name ‘roetz’ incidentally, is pronounced ‘roots’, but also seems to play on the Dutch word for rust – ‘roest’.

For more, see, or for information in English, click here.


Filed under Cycling, Holland, Uncategorized

7 responses to “RECYCLED CYCLES – great idea!

  1. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

    Here, bikes tend to get ‘recycled’ by being stolen… we call this “affirmative shopping” (in South Africa, there is a policy of “affirmative action”, which is geared towards benefiting the “previously disadvantaged” population groups, i.e. blacks, coloureds, indians, anyone who isn’t white, by offering them preferential employment, etc.).

    We don’t really have much of a bike culture here, which is very unfortunate, as it would definitely be good for the environment, reduce fuel consumption, and decrease congestion too. But Cape Town is still a very bike-unfriendly city on the whole, unlike Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

    • I love the term ‘affirmative shopping’, Reggie, but I’m not so keen on being an ‘affirmative shopkeeper’, except on my own terms. I’ve been an unwilling ‘affirmative bike-seller’ a couple of times in Amsterdam.

      Pity Cape Town is dragging the chain on cycling, but it has other many good things going for it.

  2. My correspondent from Melbourne, Cory, has sent me links to people who recycle old bikes for good causes. Great to hear Australia may even lead the Netherlands in one aspect of cycling (apart from having a more recent winner of le Tour!)

    Have a look at:

  3. I have read of a place that recycles here in Sydney as well.
    I love the look of the retro Dutch ones though. Pedalling off to my farmers markets with a basket on the front…yes, that would make me very happy.

  4. hi Richard, I think it’s good to add that there are many many shops in NL that buy (auctions) old bikes, orphan bikes from bike depots, fix them up and sell them as 2nd hand. It’s pretty much institutionalized.

    Roetz just takes it a step further, makes ‘m a bit fashionable & put a name on it. I particularly like the employment angle, similar to the project in Amsterdam, of which I know how hard it is to get results for the long term.

    PS: the Rotterdam council wants to give away orphan bikes to poor people and students.

    PPS: ‘Roetz’ is a play on ‘roetsen’, a very old (now slang) word for ‘speeding through/along’ something. A quick scan told me that people with recumbent bicycles still often use this word 🙂

    • Thanks for all this, Amsterdamize. I was recently trying to dispose of an old bike in Amsterdam by donating it to a good cause and had trouble finding someone to give it too. Fortunately I found a needy person riding an even worse bike than mine.

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