A Decade of Getting the Christmas Tree Home via Bike: 2022 Edition

ChristmasByBike2022

This year marks a decade of getting the Christmas Tree home by Bike posts. Undoubtedly, many in parts of Europe (or elsewhere), have been doing this for much longer. In our case, we started in Paris with Velib bike share bikes in 2012, and have since graduated to Amsterdam with an Urban Arrow cargo bike. Including now not just the tree, but three kids in there too!

This year we kicked it up another notch. Mainly, cause, umm…the kids are literally bigger, taller, and older. There may come a point where all three kids and the tree don’t fit. But that point is not soon. So, as always – and mostly for my own historical benefit decades from now, here’s our annual Christmas Tree by Bike adventure. Which, is a good point to mention: The goal of getting the tree home by bike isn’t to go from Point A to Point B the fastest. Nor is it to find the closest tree stand. Rather, it’s making an afternoon out of it.

With that, we set off to find our tree. For almost all of our years in Amsterdam, we’ve gotten the tree from the same florist. And yes, the vast majority of Christmas tree spots in Amsterdam are with florists, either directly or indirectly (they allow a 3rd party vendor to use some of their space). And so, we started by loading up the bikes and getting going. Given we had two bikes, the two older girls were sending voice messages back and forth between the two cargo bikes using the Garmin Bounce LTE watches (yes, I know, I still need to finish that review). Like secret agents, except, not very good at being secret.

IMG_1928

We arrived at the usual florist spot to check out their wares. In this case, they partner with what I believe is the same guy each year. Inspection of various trees occurs by all parties. The Peanuts inspect both small and tall trees, and the adults reject most Peanut suggestions – notably, the pink trees.

IMG_1944 IMG_1934

My requirement for a Christmas tree is that it first, be at least as tall as me – before applying the tree topper. I can’t be, literally, looking down on a tree. Next, it needs to have firm branches that won’t droop and drop the excessive amount of ornaments we have.

Of course, at this juncture, you may be thinking it needs to be some unicorn princess of a beautiful tree. But, not so. I just need about 2/3rds of the tree to look functional. The remaining 1/3rd can be a dumpster fire for all I care, because it’s going into the corner where nobody shall see it. The only scenario that side is seen is when the tree tips over on the pretty-face side, in which case the visibility of the fugly side is the least of our problems.

Unfortunately, only a couple of trees fit my height criteria, but didn’t fulfill the visual criteria. So, we moved on. However, the guy was kind enough to let us know about his buddy down the street – just a two-minute pedal away. And, it’d turn out this spot had plenty of trees fitting all criteria.

IMG_1951

It didn’t take long for all voting members of the family to agree upon a tree, which was then followed up with a sham vote for the non-voting members who thought they had a meaningful ballot.

IMG_1960

After which The Peanuts were enthralled by the tree netter. For that matter, so were the adults. It’s just such a brilliantly cool device. The guy was also super friendly too.

IMG_1966

Then it was time to stick the tree in the bike. This is actually the easiest task of the entire day. You simply plop the tree in, with the trunk extending under the kids’ bench/seat. No ropes/cords/straps/etc are needed. The weight of the tree essentially locks itself in place. It’s amazingly simple and secure. Less simple is the three Peanuts deciding who gets what spot on the bike.

IMG_1968 IMG_2027

In the end, Peanut #3 is on the back kid’s seat, Peanut #2 is in the bucket sitting sideways, and Peanut #1 is standing on the beam. Practically speaking Lucy the dog could have gone in the bucket quite easily.

IMG_6865

From there we slow-rolled it around the corner and over one of the canals. As is often the case in the Netherlands, having four humans and a Christmas tree on a bicycle is not even glance-worthy. It’s just complete normalcy.

ChristmasByBike2022

From there we had to make a stop at a playground. Obviously. Lucy the Dog tried to bring her own Christmas tree home. Some of you have asked for more Lucy pictures. She doesn’t seem to make the cut on the site as much anymore. Maybe she should work harder.

IMG_1972 IMG_1998

After that, it was back out onto the bike paths. There was a bike seat change that occurred here, as required in order to minimize sibling squawkery.

IMG_2010

From there we doubled-back a bit on our loop to a temporary Oliebollen shop. This is what the Dutch call their fried dough creation. They also sell other fried and baked dough things like Nutella waffles. The oliebol, like most Dutch food: is brown, fried, and typically doesn’t photograph well. Though equally, like all brown fried Dutch foods, they taste delicious.

IMG_2014

I’m always amazed that there are businesses that buy a vehicle like this, which is only present for about 45-60 days, and then isn’t used for the rest of the year. I know there are certainly plenty of businesses that operate that way, but these are small family-run businesses, and most of them aren’t completely slammed with business. It’s a more casual flow.

IMG_2021

Finally, after that, we hit up the forest as we worked our way towards our final destination, home. Once again, there was a game of musical chairs for this leg. Also, one child abandoned ship for the other bike.

GPTempDownload

But a few minutes later I stopped my watch, then unloaded the tree from the bike. Into the house it went.  Where it naturally sat for a few days while we procrastinated getting it decorated. However, mission soon accomplished!

Now while we didn’t do a video this year of it, we did one in 2020 that was a ton of fun. Perhaps again next year. Still, the below video is a bit of a classic – if for no other reason than it involves about half a dozen GoPro cameras. Go forth:

And in case you missed some of the previous years, here’s a random smattering from the past decade (all posts here):

Velib2012 Velib2016 ChristmasTree2018 ChristmasTreeBikeCrop

With that – thanks for reading, and for those that celebrate, have a Merry Christmas!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

21 Comments

  1. Jason

    If only the local tree merchants would hav the same tree wrapping facility – experienced it in Norway, but can’t seem to convince any St. John’s vendors to do the same. Makes throwing a tree on top or in a car so much easier!

  2. Wendy

    Why would they only sell oliebols a few weeks out of the year? This seems like something I could eat on the regular.

  3. Mark

    Good to see the baby doll made it to get the tree!

  4. Arnold

    Merry Christmas to the Maker family!

  5. Bruce Burkhalter

    This post always makes me smile. All the best to you and your family! Thanks for all the great work this year!

  6. gideon

    post of the year!

  7. BobC

    My “Bonus Mom” was Dutch, and my sister and I continue make oliebollen every holiday for friends and family, generally as part of an all-day open house party. She makes the super-sticky dough, and after it rises I run the fryer and powdered sugar sifter.

    Fortunately, I am able to prepare them faster than I can eat them!

  8. Robert Giles

    Merry Christmas Rainmakers, have a good one!

  9. John B

    Outstanding!

  10. El Paso Mark

    Awesome Ray! Would really like to see a full length picture of the tree fully decorated.

  11. Tim

    “It didn’t take long for all voting members of the family to agree upon a tree, which was then followed up with a sham vote for the non-voting members who thought they had a meaningful ballot.”

    I assume the peanuts are the voting memner, and you and the girl the non-voting ones. As it should be :D.

  12. Stan

    Merry Christmas Ray and the whole family! Been following your blog for a long while and it’s nice to see the human side of sports gadget reviewing

  13. Hoot

    Merry Christmas to you, your family and all readers of this blog….looking forward to an awesome 2023 and the Garmin Epix X Pro with a flashlight ;-))

  14. Happy Holidays! 🤘🚵‍♂️

  15. Tim

    Merry Christmas!! Love the annual Christmas tree delivery.