February 17, 2012

Why I Love My Dutch Bike

On my way home from work last week my gears stopped functioning properly. I pulled over to see about adjusting them to discover that the drive side axle nut was hanging on by a thread and was stripped. Luckily, a friend came to pick me up and my bike fits perfectly in the back of her car.  We went straight to Machinery Row, my neighborhood shop, for what I thought would be a quick fix.

The friendly mechanic scoured the place for a bolt that would fit my SRAM internal gear hub, but found none.  I was disheartened that I would have to leave my bike there until they could get a part from a supplier- I had to get to work in the morning.  "Isn't that why you have two bikes?" my friend asked, confused.

Yes, I do have another bike- a Fuji touring which is great when you want to carry a bunch of gear and supplies for a long camping trip or for a speedy ride on the Military Ridge trail to grab lunch in Mt. Horeb, but ride it to work?

Of course I did, I had to get to there somehow, but I arrived covered in soggy grime.  I love my Selle saddle but it wasn't a good match with jeans.  Most of all, I felt more vulnerable in a lower to the ground, harder-to-see-what-cars-are-doing position.

I couldn't wait to get my Dutch bike back!

Riding a Dutch bike is a more convenient form of transportation and limits the amount of thinking required before peddling away.  The features of the bike that make cycling a breeze are:

An upright step-through lugged steel frame.

A lugged steel frame is durable and makes for a smooth ride.  The riding position is super comfy and the rider is at a level to make better eye contact with drivers and be seen.  The curvy step-through frame makes it possible to wear long coats or skirts.

Fenders, chain-case and skirt guards.

Avoid the stripe-of-mud-up-your-back look and wear your nicest clothes without a worry.  With a chain-case your pant leg is free to flutter and your shoes will stay grease-free.  The skirt guards keep flowing dresses or coats from getting into the spokes - saving clothing and preventing accidents.

Dynamo lighting.

Never forget your bike lights again or fear light theft.  Sure, the generator adds some resistance, but not enough to matter.

Coaster brake. 

I love this feature!  I use the front rim brake infrequently, usually only right as I put my foot down coming to a stop.  The coaster brake also allows for one hand riding, freeing up your left hand to hold onto a cup of coffee, six pack of beer, or the groceries you thought would fit in your panniers but didn't. 

Internal hub with a twist shifter.

The hub requires minimal maintenance and reduces the amount of exposed greasy components.  The twist shifter rests under the right hand making shifting comfortable and simple.  I find three speeds are all I need to get around town.

Heavy duty rear rack with spring arm.

Whether it is a bundle of laundry, leftovers, a couple six packs, or a friend on the rear rack, the bike handles beautifully.

I couldn’t contain my grin when after four days I went to pick up my bike from the shop.  The good people at Machinery Row gave it much love - it was clean and riding great.


  1. Totally agree, but: my Dutch CARGO bike (Cortina Transport Heren) is even better - bags or groceries in the front basket, passenger on the back!

  2. I've utilized lubes that won't endure one ride before my chain is making that dry, rough stable that says "lube me". I would prefer not to need to lube my chain before each ride, especially on my driving bike. Best bike chain lubes