Fietsmaatjes on side by side tandem

Fietsmaatjes; in English bicycle mates, is a foundation where a volunteer and a guest, make wonderful cycling trips together on a side by side tandem​ with electric pedal support. The guests Fietsmaatjes can no longer cycle independently; thanks to Fietsmaatjes this is possible again! Together they have nice contact with eachother, enjoy the surroundings while they keep on moving healthily. In total, over 900 guests and almost 700 volunteers are already cycling around in the Netherlands on one of the 47 duo bikes. (figures: November 2019)


Fietsmaatjes on side by side tandem

Fietsmaatjes concept (guest + volunteer)

„Fietsmaatjes” is meant for everyone who likes to go outside, wants to keep moving and loves social contact, but due to a disability can no longer cycle independently. For example, for people with a disability in movement, vision, hearing or cognition. People who suffer from loneliness are also allowed to register as guests. After an intake interview, each guest is linked to a volunteer. Together, the guest and volunteer make cycling trips on the duo-cycle with pedal assistance, where the volunteer steers and pedals and the guest can pedal along.
 
The goal is to offer people who still want to cycle but are no longer able to do so on their own, cycling tours of about 1-3 hours. With these regular cycling tours, the (possible) isolation of the guests is broken, the guests in a cozy way literally in motion and create unique contacts between guests and volunteers.

Fietsmaatjes mean that people are more likely to be outdoors, to be more active and to have more social contacts. Cycling and enjoying together!

The origin of Fietsmaatjes

The Fietsmaatjes project originated in 2012 in Teylingen and soon turned out to be a success story. In 2017 the 5-year anniversary of Stichting Fietsmaatjes Teylingen was celebrated and now there are many Fietsmaatjes projects in the Netherlands.
 
Fietsmaatjes has been selected by the Oranje Fond from a large group of initiatives to be successfully rolled out as a project throughout the Netherlands. In June 2018, the national website www.fietsmaatjes.nl was launched. By now, more and more cities are interested in the bicycle buddy concept.

Side by side tandem fietsmaatjes blue
Blue side by side from Fietsmaatjes Leiden-Leiderdorp

The side by side tandem

You're sitting next to each other side by side tandem. These duo bikes or buddy bikes have electric pedal support to make cycling even easier. Many of the duo bikes of the Fietsmaatjes are equipped with a double battery package, so that you can cycle extra-long distances.
 
The volunteer has control over the bike and steers and pedals. If the participant/guest so desires, he or she can pedal along. The bike is very manoeuvrable: with the two wheels at the back and one front wheel, the bike can turn on its own axis! The bike has an adjustable seat, so everyone can easily adjust the bike.

Almost all of the side by side tandems of Fietsmaatjes are Fun2Go side by side tandems from Van Raam. They are often powder coated in the special Fietmaatjes colour, RAL 5012 for the connoisseur.

Cycling on a side by side tandem is truly fun for two!

Side by side tandem users have their say

happy with van raam side by side tandem

Leny Wiggers

"I'm so happy with the fietsmaatjes. Now I'm cycling again!"

duo bike at the sea

Mevrouw Hartman

"It's so nice to be back at the sea we used to go here a lot."

duo bike guest and volunteer

Gast Nel

"I give a lot of credit for the fact that there are volunteers who make this possible."

Film side by side tandem - project Fietsmaatjes

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Fietsmaatjes concept, a beautiful film was made by the Leiden film club LVSL. This film gives a nice overview of Fietsmaatjes in the region of birth, the Dune and the Bulb Region, of the first local organisation. Meet various guests and volunteers who cycle together as a buddy on the duo bike or wheelchair transport bike.

Locations Fietsmaatjes projects

It all started with Fietsmaatjes Teylingen and in the meantime more and more locations have been added in the Netherlands. There are a lot of various locations all over the Netherlands. See their website fietsmaatjes.nl for all the locations.

Fietsmaatjes side by side tandem project locations
Dutch King Willem-Alexander biked as Fietsmaatje
Dutch King Willem-Alexander as a Fietsmaatje (photo: Oranje Fonds)

King Willem-Alexander as a Fietsmaatje

On Thursday 28 November, King Willem-Alexander visited the foundation Fietsmaatjes in Warmond. The foundation Fietsmaatjes is part of the Growth Programme of the Oranje Fonds and King Willem-Alexander is patron of this fund. During the surprise visit, the king met the volunteers and guests of Fietsmaatjes, and he took a ride on a Van Raam duo bike Fun2Go.

Read more about this visit in the article  "Dutch King cycles on Van Raam side-by-side tandem Fun2Go"

King as Fietsmaatje