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Five Minutes with Basil

March 24, 2021
Five Minutes with Basil

From the bicycle-friendly Netherlands, Basil creates beautiful and functional bicycle accessories to help encourage us to cycle more often. Since 2012, they’ve had a commitment to sustainability through the creation of their Ever-Green bags, which are made of 40% recycled PET plastic. These high-quality bags are water repellent and with their smart, multifunctional design they can easily be converted from a hook-on bicycle bag to either a backpack, shoulder bag or handbag.

We sat down with the team at Basil, to learn more about how their journey started over 45 years ago, and why their customer’s needs are always at the forefront of their design process. We loved hearing more about the creation of their sustainable Ever-Green series, and why the future is only getting brighter for cyclists!

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Basil?

We are Basil. We like to see you enjoying riding your bicycle, which is why we make beautiful and functional bicycle accessories that encourage you to cycle more often. Simply because cycling is healthy and gives you a daily dose of happiness.

It all started in 1976 when Ine van Dam stepped into the bicycle shop of Nico van Balveren, looking for a wicker basket for her bicycle. Nico rose up to the challenge and developed a custom made basket, meeting all of Ine’s wishes. The most important discovery: because of that basket she enjoyed her bike rides even more!

Not a whole lot has changed in our family business since then. Our passion still is designing products that make cycling more enjoyable, always taking your wishes into account.

We want to understand why and when you ride your bicycle. And also why and when you don’t. From that we learn, every single day. This information, together with our sense of style and technical knowledge, results in stylish, high quality and always functional cycling accessories and cyclist rainwear. Together we can spread the cycling joy.

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Can you tell us a bit more about how your products are made?

An import ingredient for developing bicycle accessories that meet our high standards, is knowing what drives you to cycle – and what does not. As you can read in our brand story, for Basil it all started with Ine van Dam and her search for a wicker basket. She needed a safe way of taking her little boy with her on her bicycle. Her need of a safe way of transportation drove Nico van Balveren (previous owner of Basil) to develop a wicker child basket. And since then, not a lot has changed: our products still find their origin in consumer needs. And to that, we add our sense of style and technical knowledge. The result? Stylish bicycle accessories that meet your high standards.

The new Basil Ever-Green series represents the best in Dutch design, Basil’s ever-innovative bicycle backpack and double bicycle bags featuring artist Meggy Lemmens’ beautiful botanic illustrations. When Basil owner Marthijn van Balveren saw Meggy Lemmens’ striking botanic illustrations, he knew he wanted to showcase this talented Dutch painter’s work on a Basil product.

We love that your Ever-Green bags are made with 40% recycled PET plastic and contain at least 39 recycled plastic bottles. Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly products important to you?

Cycling is always an eco-friendly choice and cyclists can expand their positive impact on the environment beyond pedal power with Basil’s collection of bicycle baskets, bags, and accessories. Basil has added the Choose Green label to its already successful lines of 100% waterproof bags, the innovative MIK easy on-off mounting system, and Nordlicht Technology.

Basil’s commitment to sustainability started in the 2012 with the Basil Urban Unfold bicycle bags made from recycled canvas, which launched the [re]-Cycling label. Basil’s commitment has only grown. Today, Basil’s headquarters are solar powered and produce more energy than they use. Their successful Basil Skane rainwear series bears the BlueSign label, certifying the reduced social and environmental impact of the production process. In addition, Basil is working on elaborating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Basil reduces its environmental impact so you can cycle with an easy mind. Products that receive the Choose Green label use eco-friendly materials and are constructed to meet Basil’s high quality standards. This year, the Basil Ever-Green series of backpacks and bicycle double bags, the Basil Green-Life bicycle baskets, and Basil Pasja dog bicycle baskets will receive the Choose Green label.

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What do you believe has been Basil’s biggest success so far?

Each year we develop innovative products that meet (y)our high standards and take your wishes into account. Our brand elements are at the core of our business. They are the building blocks that we use to design and create accessories that work for you.

  • Waterproof: Rain or shine, keep smiling with Basil. Our waterproof bags and rainwear will keep you and your belongings dry on every journey! The Basil rainwear is constructed with the cyclist in mind with reinforcement where you need it, smart ventilation and thoughtful details to keep water out of pockets and zips. The rainwear stays in place and is cut to give you a room to move where you need to. The rainwear is waterproof and breathable. Besides that, the rainwear lets you dress to impress and to cycle.
  • Sustainability: Cycling is a green choice. Extend your impact with our line of eco-friendly products. We reduce our environmental impact so you can cycle with ease.
  • Visibility: Cycling is a way to LED go. With our accessories you will be seen on the road, day or night. Our standard safety features include reflective detailing. A next level for even better road safety, is our Nordlicht Technology: an integrated LED-strip. Take for instance our B-Safe bags and Miles bags.
  • E-bike perfect: All our products are suitable for your E-bike. Several of our bags, baskets and systems are especially designed to the usage of your E-bike. We call them: E-bike perfect!
  • Perfect fit: Our innovative systems fit almost all bicycles. It is up to you, removable or fixed mounted… Good to know: no mounting stress. And you can easily swap accessories. Take for instance our MIK system: Mounting is key. MIK is a revolutionary click system for luggage carrier. Thanks to the MIK system you can click on your luggage carrier whatever you want. On your retro city bike or sporty bike. In 1 second. Works with accessories of most of the Basil products. Click-that’s MIK.

What does the future hold for Basil?

In recent years – and now accelerated by COVID-19- , we have seen an increase worldwide in transportation by bicycle (and down under). For reasons that could vary from improving health to creating an environmental impact. Or from saving money to a safer way of transporting during COVID-19. Whereas in the past the bicycle was seen as a low interest product, nowadays the bicycle is more or less a lifestyle product. The bicycle and its accessories are an extension of the cyclist. Our bicycle bags and rainwear are especially influenced by fashion. In our new collection you will find sustainable products such as the Ever-Green and Green Life series. Our commitment to sustainability started in 2012 and our commitment has and will only grow. Moreover, creating accessories and systems that are innovative and that set a new standard will be our focus for the future. All our products have all been developed by our own team and are designed for all cycling enthusiasts around the world. We feel the future looks bright for all cyclists!

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