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’.