The growth of bike IELTS Reading Test

The growth of bike IELTS Reading Test | The growth of bike IELTS Reading Test

How Dutch engineer Luud Schimmelpennink helped to devise urban bike-sharing schemes.





A – The original idea for an urban bike-sharing scheme dates back to a summer’s day in Amsterdam in 1965. Provo, the organisation that came up with the idea, was a group of Dutch activists who wanted to change society. They believed the scheme, which was known as the Witte Fietsenplan, was an answer to the perceived threats of air pollution and consumerism. In the centre of Amsterdam, they painted a small number of used bikes white. They also distributed leaflets describing the dangers of cars and inviting people to use the white bikes. The bikes were then left unlocked at various locations around the city, to be used by anyone in need of transport.




B – Luud Schimmelpennink, a Dutch industrial engineer who still lives and cycles in Amsterdam, was heavily involved in the original scheme. He recalls how the scheme succeeded in attracting a great deal of attention — particularly when it came to publicising Provo’s aims — but struggled to get off the ground. The police were opposed to Provo’s initiatives and almost as soon as the white bikes were distributed around the city, they removed them. However, for Schimmelpennink and for bike-sharing schemes in general, this was just the beginning. ‘The first Witte Fietsenplan was just a symbolic thing,’ he says. ‘We painted a few bikes white, that was all. Things got more serious when | became a member of the Amsterdam city council two years later.’