The bike of...

(Photo: Chandra Elango)
(Photo: Chandra Elango)

Name: Nishant Lawand (PhD-student at faculty of EWI, from India)
Price: € 650
Brand: Batavus Nova Versa 24
Striking feature: The rider

Nishant gushes with immense pride when he starts talking about his bike. “I sold my holidays to pay for my bike in 2010, partly. So you can imagine how much my bike means to me”, he says. Being a foldable model, Nishant’s bike is easy to carry around. A foldable bike also means that he doesn’t have to buy a separate ticket for the bike while traveling by train. “Once, when I was in a hurry, I took my bike into the train without folding it. Because of the big wheels, the ticket examiner refused to believe it was foldable. I had to demonstrate until he was convinced,” Nishant says, laughing. Yet another advantage of having a foldable bike is that, while normal bikes are not allowed on a train during peak hours, foldable bikes are allowed. “A normal bike occupies too much space in the train, while foldables don’t.”

In the Netherlands, it isn’t a surprise to find out one’s bike has simply disappeared from a parking slot. So what can one do to compensate for theft of an expensive bike? Nishant: “As a precaution, I insured my bike for three years. In order to get your bike insured, you’re obliged to buy a lock with a 3-star rating. I use this lock along with another simpler lock for my bike. Besides all this, I also carry my bike wherever and whenever I can. It doesn’t take any effort since it’s also very light and convenient to carry.”

Nishant’s bike has never given him any problems so far. “When you are a PhD, you wouldn’t want to worry about a flat tire or being late, on top of worrying about experiments and deadlines,” he says. “I specifically wanted to buy a bike with large wheels, since I can cover more distance with less pedaling and hence less time. After all, time is extra valuable to a researcher.”
Nishant says the only disadvantage is that his foldable bike doesn’t come with a rear carrier: “It’s not possible for me take my wife for a bike ride! But the advantages easily outweigh this single disadvantage, so I’m not complaining.”