Beautiful Bicycles: My Workcycles Azor Oma

One year ago I purchased a Workcycles Azor Oma, and that decision has changed my life for the better. I already cycled to work daily, but with Oma I was able to integrate cycling more easily and fully into my life. I no longer needed to coordinate my outfits around grease and chains. I was able to cycle through the harsh Chicago winter with no worries about frozen drivetrains. I left behind annoyances such as falling chains, deflating tires, and compromised braking. Now I simply get on my bike and go. It’s really a lovely way to travel.

7-18 profile 9-4 outfit

3-21-dress-bike29-1 oma dress

Oma is a 45 pound brick house. I’ll confront that elephant in the room. Her size is part of her charm and, in fact, her heft is a fair trade for an incredibly smooth ride and high quality build.  Once I adjusted to going a bit slower and my leg muscles adjusted to upright pedaling, the weight became a non-issue.

Many components come together to make Oma the beautiful beast that she is. These bells and whistles are literally foreign to many people, so I’ll break it all down first.

Bicycle Perfection on the Morning Commute

My Workcycles Azor Oma

The skirt guard, as the name suggests, guards the wheel from catching my skirt or coat.  The fabric and chrome chain case prevents grease from getting on me and the chain from eating my skirt or pants cuffs. I never worry about such problems. Nor do I worry about cleaning the drivetrain, which makes cycling in any weather much simpler.  The O-lock immobilizes the rear wheel, and is useful for quick stops because a theif would have to carry Oma away with the O-lock engaged.  The pedals comfortably and sturdily hold the soles of my shoes, even high heels.

Chaincase, Skirt Guard, O-Lock, Pedals

Chaincase, Skirt Guard, O-Lock, Pedals

The Shimano internal hub in the rear wheel keeps the gears clean and out of my way. Oma has eight gears but no derailleur. Everything is tucked neatly in the hub. I change gears with a twist shifter on the handlebar when not pedaling. This is a huge benefit when I come to a stop light and realize that I’m in a gear that would require a lot of effort to start from.  The roller brakes are also enclosed in the hubs, meaning they are protected from the elements and not compromised by rain or ice.

Rear Gear Hub

Rear Gear Hub

The front Shimano generator hub keeps the front and back lights working, battery free. Energy from my pedaling powers the lights. The rear red light stays on for several minutes after I stop pedaling. No worries about running out of batteries or forgetting to attach lights.  Both lights are bright, but I attach blinkie lights during the winter for extra visibility.

Front Generator Hub

Front Generator Hub

Front generator Light

Front generator Light

9-2 light rear 9-2 straps

The racks make Oma a true car replacement for me.  The front rack attaches directly to the frame (easily removable without tools, just pull) and is approved to carry 50 pounds.  The rear rack comes with strong rubberband straps and is approved to carry 75 pounds.  Loads do not affect steering and a spring prevents the handlebars and front tire from swinging around when the bike is stopped.  Usually, I attach my big Hershbergers Baker Basket on the front, handmade by an Amish family and purchased from Velo Orange.

Front Rack attached to frame

Frame Mounted Front Rack

The double kickstand is heavy duty. Oma has never fallen over, no matter how much cargo I load on her or how long I leave her standing alone.  I never worry about her tipping over.

Double Kickstand

Double Kickstand

The fenders provide full coverage from rain, slush, and other road mess.  The mudflap on the front fender catches anything that the fender misses. I never get dirty on this bike, and I wore a cream-colored overcoat all winter.

Front Mudflap

Front Mudflap

The sprung leather Brooks B67 saddle is pure heaven. After a couple of weeks I broke the leather in and now it is the most comfortable I can imagine my bum being on a bike.

Brooks Saddle

Brooks Saddle

Here is my Azor Oma next to my Rivendell Betty Foy for a size comparison. Yes, Oma is big.  I ride Betty Foy when I feel the need for speed or have to ride more than 10 or so miles one way.

Next to my Rivendell Betty Foy for Scale

Next to my Rivendell Betty Foy for Scale

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Workcycles Azor Oma is more than the sum of her parts, and my review must extend beyond her technical benefits. Oma makes my daily bicycling lifestyle – in any weather and with stylish clothes – easy and fun. Viewed as a whole, she is bicycle perfection.

Oma leads the winter morning charge

Oma leads the winter morning charge

Her lights and reflective tire sidewalls get me through lots of night riding, especially during the winter when my commutes are mostly in the dark.

Front Generator Light

Front Generator Light

Reflective Tire Walls

Reflective Tire Walls

My seemingly endless winter riding is free from worry over frozen brakes or cruddy chains, since everything is covered.

Oma Plays in the Snow Like Nobody's Business

Oma Plays in the Snow Like Nobody's Business

I stack loads on her racks without a second thought, confident that everything will fit securely. The front basket alone holds a 12 pack of bottled beer, two bottles of wine, and a small purse all at once (ask me how I know!). The back rack holds pretty much anything with the freakishly strong rubberband straps.

Back Rack Stack

Back Rack Stack

Oma is simply a beautiful way to get around.

Bicycle Perfection on the Morning Commute

Bicycle Perfection on the Morning Commute

A Workcycles Azor Oma or other Dutch-style bicycle may not be for you if you live in a very hilly area, value speed over comfort, or have to carry your bike upstairs. For everyone else, an Oma may be the bike of your dreams.

I purchased my Oma from Dutch Bike Chicago for approximately $1500 plus $100 for the front rack. (Consider the cost of a car before saying this is expensive.)  They have another location in Seattle and will soon be in New York City.  They ship everywhere. Clever Cycles in Portland and My Dutch Bike in San Francisco also sell Workcycles.  Workcycles is in Holland and its website is here. The owner Henry writes a fantastic blog, Bakfiets En Meer.

That's what oma talkin' about

That's what oma talkin' about

I tried my best to cover everything.  Questions?  Ask away!  I’m happy to help.  I love Oma and love to tell others about her.

  • jason

    i bought a batavus this spring and i love it, these really are the perfect bikes for chicago. haven’t had the “pleasure” of seeing how it handles in the winter yet…

  • Scott

    Preach it, sister! Maybe soon I won’t be the only dude riding an oma in Chicago.

  • Jerry Smith

    Very nice bike. I was admiring a similar one at the LBS. It looks like the internal gear hubs are the way to go for the winter.

  • http://www.lorenzacasini.wordpress.com Lorenza

    Dottie what a great review ;) although I cycle everyday, I am failing in taking pictures… ops! So I keep on postponing my review ;) And today I had my first cycle in proper autumnal rain… and I was fine ;) I actually enjoyed it! YAY for sit-up-and-beg style bikes!!! L ♥

  • brazenhussy

    Thanks for the review. I purchased exactly the same bicycle earlier this year, and have been using it to commute in San Francisco. It’s the first bike I’ve ridden since I was a little girl, and I’m still getting used to being on it. When you say that you use the twist shifter when not pedaling, is that how one is supposed to change gears? I think I may be switching gears while in motion, and I’m worried about damaging the gears.

    • http://www.workcycles.com henryinamsterdam

      Brazenhussy, You can shift while pedaling or while stopped, the Nexus 8 speed doesn’t care much. I would only recommend not shifting while under heavy load, just pedal lightly for a couple seconds while shifting.

      I suspect Dottie only meant that she CAN shift while stopped, which is both very handy and also impossible on a derailleur geared bike.

    • Jessie

      Wow, I was just thinking that a bike like that would be too tough for me to ride around hilly old Nashville, but I guess not if you’re riding it in San Francisco! Do you find it difficult on hills? (I ride a mountain bike w/ road wheels to work, but I also have a 3-speed granny bike that I ride occasionally, and it’s pretty exhausting if I’m going more than a mile or two.)

      Dottie, GREAT review–the bike sounds wonderful. I’m also intrigued by WorkCycles’ Secret Service ladies bike. I’ll have to do a test ride next time I’m in Chicago.

      • brazenhussy

        henryinamsterdam, thank you for the clarification on shifting.

        Jessie, yes, I do have trouble on hills. I can manage a very slight grade, but anything steeper than that, I have to get off and walk it for a few blocks. Fortunately, my 7-mile RT commute route is pretty flat, but there are certain places in SF that I can get to only in my car.

  • http://www.dutchbikeseattle.com/weblog Stephan

    Great stuff!

    Remind us when you next stop by the shop and we have a simple fix for your near-disassociated mudflap.

    • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

      Will do :)

  • http://levieenvelo.blogspot.com John . Dublin Ireland

    I have one of Henry Work Cycles Azor Pastoor Kruisframe/ Crossframe Preachers Bike for Two Years and it is the most Comfortable Bike I have ever Ridden. Very Smooth and comfortable Gearing. I get Admiring Glances from Everybody as I cycle along. We have a few Hills on Entering and Leaving Dublin but it is not to bad for going up them. I would take it on Touring but it would be a bit Tiring but Do Able all the same. The furthest I went on it was 20 Miles out and 20 back Home so making it 40 Miles,so it would be alright for Touring at a Pinch.But it would be very Heavy for Wheeling up a Mountaineous Road.

    I mostly Travel about 10 – 15 Miles and the same Back to Home on it. It is great for carrying Loads of Stuff. I have since Found an Old Plastic Fruit Crate that was Dumped in a Skip and I put this on the front Carrier A LA Amsterdam Style. The only maintenance I have done is one Day I noticed the Kick Stand was a bit loose and so I tightened the Screw on top of the BB Bracket above the Crank Case and also Pumped up the Tyres a few Times,Brilliant Bike. Dublin Ireland.

    • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

      Hi John, Great to hear from an Azor owner in Dublin. I’ve always wanted to visit there, especially because I’m mostly Irish. I love crates on bikes. I’m tempted to put one on Oma, but the current basket does the job well.

  • http://levieenvelo.blogspot.com John . Dublin Ireland

    I have one of Henry Work Cycles Azor Pastoor Kruisframe/ Crossframe Preachers Bike for Two Years and it is the most Comfortable Bike I have ever Ridden. Very Smooth and comfortable Gearing. I get Admiring Glances from Everybody as I cycle along. We have a few Hills on Entering and Leaving Dublin but it is not to bad for going up them. I would take it on Touring but it would be a bit Tiring but Do Able all the same. The furthest I went on it was 20 Miles out and 20 back Home so making it 40 Miles,so it would be alright for Touring at a Pinch.But it would be very Heavy for Wheeling up a Mountaineous Road.

    I mostly Travel about 10 – 15 Miles and the same Back to Home on it. It is great for carrying Loads of Stuff. I have since Found an Old Plastic Fruit Crate that was Dumped in a Skip and I put this on the front Carrier A LA Amsterdam Style. The only maintenance I have done is one Day I noticed the Kick Stand was a bit loose and so I tightened the Screw on top of the BB Bracket above the Crank Case and also Pumped up the Tyres a few Times,Brilliant Bike. Dublin Ireland.

  • http://www.rideofsilence.org/chicago E A

    Love the concept. But with no garage space, hauling a 45+ pound bike up to my place (especially in the winter – slippery steps!) would be a chore. :-(

    • Scott

      I got by for a year by storing the oma under some outside stairs with a tarp over it. Not ideal, but it worked. It’s too heavy to haul up and down more than 3-4 stairs.

    • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

      This is the big drawback of my Pashley as well. I only have a set of 4 porch stairs to drag it down/up, but in the winter even this will be unsafe. Not sure yet what I will do.

    • http://www.bikecommuters.com Ghost Rider

      Think of it this way…hauling such a machine up stairs gives your upper body a workout to match the one it gives your legs! Cheaper than a gym membership too…

      • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

        3 out of 4 seasons yes. But what about the ice in the winter?

      • Scott

        No way, carrying this thing up and down stairs would be a true workout. Much more work than riding it.

        Lovely, I had three steps down to the basement last winter and was able to just walk the bike up and down. I didn’t have any problems with ice. I just stood next to it and used the brake to go slowly on the way down.

        • http://www.rideofsilence.org/chicago E A

          Yes… a few steps only would be nice… But even my “downstairs” storage area is 6 steps down and not a direct descent (too many angle to access the stairs and then the door).
          Oh well…

      • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

        Can’t speak to the ice, but slinging my 45 lb bike around (on and off the elevator at work, in and out of it’s understair lair, very occasionally up and down a couple of flights of stairs on the subway) is definitely my upper body workout! even more so when it’s loaded with cargo.

  • http://www.quaintliving.com/ alice

    What a great profile of your bike! I used to have a dutch bike, it was third hand though – not as nice as yours : )

  • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com Trisha

    Ah, Oma. I can testify that this review is truly representative of the feeling you get when you ride one. :) It just might be the ultimate beautiful bicycle!

  • http://www.rideofsilence.org/chicago E A

    And tonight maybe we’ll see a pink Oma? Eh?

  • Pop Richmond

    I had no idea the chaincase was fabric, neat. I’m guessing it’s something substantial, like thick canvas. How has it held up over a year?

    • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

      Yes, the chaincase is some kind of thick canvas. It has held up perfectly. Looks as good as new!

  • http://www.nerdy-foodie.blogspot.com Sarah

    Two things — super jealous of your skirt guard. I have torn MANY skirts that I thought were ok to ride with and then got immediately caught in my wheels.

    I’m also very impressed you can bike in heels! I’m gonna try it with my low pumps very soon. You’ve given me inspiration to try it!

  • http://www.bikecommuters.com Ghost Rider

    What a great overview…and an interesting perspective on what makes a “true” commuter bike.

    In the U.S., too many bikes that are billed as “urban” or “commuter” come with front suspension forks, harsh aluminum frames, quick release wheels and seatpost collars and assorted other gimmicky bits…and what they DON’T include is even more ludicrous. Where are the fenders, the chainguards, the racks and generator lights? Nowhere to be seen!

    Meanwhile, Dutch and other European builds have all the things that make a bike utilitarian, clean and practical…and all of those bits come stock. Why don’t U.S. bike companies get it?!?

    • dukiebiddle

      “Why don’t U.S. bike companies get it?!?”

      I think they’ll get when the American consumer gets it. It isn’t like fenders and chainguards were never part of the standard American bike. It’s just that the manufacturers have not been able to sell non-recreational and nonperformance bicycles in decades, so the products on the market reflect that. But, from what we all hear, just about every bicycle manufacturer is now trying to address the burgeoning market of “old-fashioned” bicycles.

      • http://www.bikecommuters.com Ghost Rider

        Good point…here in the U.S., we’ve been bombarded by the “need” for sleek, carbony race frames and dual-suspension wonderbikes. BUT, there is a “sea change” afoot, and more people are realizing that a utilitarian machine is the way to go.

        Still, there are plenty of new bike examples that only partially get it — maybe a rack, maybe a front hub generator or IGH, but not nearly often enough the entire package of fenders, chainguard, rack, etc. Perhaps the bike companies (and shops) are still greedily eyeing the aftermarket-accessories sales?

        • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

          Absolutely. My Jamis Commuter, voted best commuter bike by Bicycling, had kinda upright bars, fenders and … That’s all! I had to add rack, basket, lights, kickstand, bell. If a bike is going to hold itself up as the ultimate “Commuter,” it needs to follow through. Newer bikes are doing this better (the Trek Belleville comes to mind) but there’s still a long way to go.

          • dukiebiddle

            It looks like Jamis is also reflecting the change, as their 2008 Commuter 4 included a rear rack and dynamo lighting. BS on there being no kickstand, though.

    • Dean Peddle

      Joe Breezer does!!!! Actually that was the only reason I bought it….cause it had all the stuff you said….meanwhile…at the time the Store in Canada just started bringing in bikes from Holland and only had Old Dutch which I didn’t want (I wanted 8 speed and hub generater lights).

      Kind of ironic I had to buy American to get all of that instead of Dutch :) Well…just timing….they have all the fancy Dutch bikes now and I want one :(

  • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

    Ah, you’ve finally posted a review of your handsome bicycle!

    I am intrigued by the front rack that you say attaches to the frame and is easy to remove. Do you know who makes it and where it can be gotten? Does your basket bounce or rattle at all upon the rack when you go over large bumps?

    It was also useful to learn that you have springs installed that keep your wheel from turning. Do you know whether these are available for purchase separately?

    Thanks for the great review, and the photos are always a treat. I love seeing the different outfits, different seasons, and different errands.

    • http://www.stevevance.net stevevance

      The Dutch Bike store on Armitage in Chicago sells these. It can be adapted to fit on many non-Dutch bikes. It mainly depends on your down tube’s diameter. Also, your downtube must be completely straight and round.

      • dukiebiddle

        I’m presuming a downtube with 3 cables running underneath would be prohibitive to the spring installation?

    • Frits B

      The front rack consists of two tubes that are welded to the down tube. The rack itself has two stems that are pushed into the tubes on the frame. They are made by several manufacturers but if you contact one of Workcycle’s dealers they can surely help you out.

      As for the spring to keep the front wheel straight, this comes with the two-legged Hebie stand. Hebie now has a universal type available through their dealer network. See http://www.hebie.de, home page under the wonderful definition of Elastomerlenkerumschlagsvermeidungsvorrichtung (Germans are well aware of the funny side of their language). Website is in German and English.

    • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

      My rack and basket never make any noise. One of my favorite things about Oma is that she is so quiet, even with a loaded basket. I can hear and feel how perfectly she is built.

      Steve and Frits pretty much covered the info for buying the rack above. I don’t know much about it, only that they installed the rack while I waited the day I bought Oma. A hollow cylindrical tube was bolted on each side of my frame. Those do not come off. The rack has two hefty prongs covered with rubber that slip in the tubes and hold firmly.

  • http://lacyclechic.blogspot.com Cosmo

    I really need to drive up to Santa Barbara to test ride an Oma! You make it sound like heaven.

  • philippe

    AFAIK, the rack is built by Azor. It’s sold as an accessory in europe, for around 70E, but I’ve no idea where you can get one in the US.
    Steco has a nice frame mounted rack too, but not removable. (http://www.steco.nl/pages/consumer/index.php?taal=nl&page=Producten&cid=8&pid=31)
    The Azor rack is really great if you don’t mind the weight.

    • Frits B

      Full description of the rack is on WorkCycles website, here: http://workcycles.com/workbike/bicycles/accessories/pickup-frame-mounted-front-carrier.html
      David Hembrow also ships them all over the world: http://www.hembrow.eu/frontrack.html

      • http://www.savedbybikes.com Steve

        Hi Dottie, I just had two Dutch guys in the bike store here in Toronto, who tell me Oma means Grandma – a bike like Grandma’s -Steve

        • http://bikesovercars.blogspot.com/ Zweiradler

          Great review, thank you. I didn’t know they were manufactured in the Netherlands. Maybe I’ll order one from Germany one day.

          Nico

    • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

      Unfortunately the Steco racks aren’t available in the US right now, except the pickup rack. On another thread, Henry from Workcycles said that they’re going to start offering them to the workcycles dealers in the US (Clever cycles, Seattle dutch bike co, et al), so if you want one let them know. Or book a trip to Amsterdam :)

  • http://levieenvelo.blogspot.com John . Dublin Ireland

    Hi Dottie. I was trying to Source a Decent Willow Basket in Ireland but one Supplier I tried was Expensive. David Hembrows Baskets are Great that he makes in the Netherlands and Cheaper. I was looking for a Butcher Style Basket 16 + 12 by 16 Inches High but then eventually gave up on the Idea. I kept my Eye Open for a Discarded one and sure enough I found one. It is a bit Small but it will do until I can get a bigger one. There is only a couple of Dutch Bikes in Ireland that I have seen,one Bakfiets A Long John and a couple of Bulitts used by a Courier Company,and of course those Amsterdams.

  • http://levieenvelo.blogspot.com John . Dublin Ireland

    Hi Dottie. I was trying to Source a Decent Willow Basket in Ireland but one Supplier I tried was Expensive. David Hembrows Baskets are Great that he makes in the Netherlands and Cheaper. I was looking for a Butcher Style Basket 16 + 12 by 16 Inches High but then eventually gave up on the Idea. I kept my Eye Open for a Discarded one and sure enough I found one. It is a bit Small but it will do until I can get a bigger one. There is only a couple of Dutch Bikes in Ireland that I have seen,one Bakfiets A Long John and a couple of Bulitts used by a Courier Company,and of course those Amsterdams.

  • academichic

    I want one too!! S.

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  • HenDrake

    Nice review! It is so weird to read reviews of oma-style bikes originating from ‘overseas’. This type of bike has been the one we all have been riding for decades over here in the flat and rainy parts of Belgium (and the Netherlands). Oma-bikes were for going somewhere, for sports we’d step directly over to a race bike. Most of the oma-bikes over here have been replaced with more sportslike bikes, in alloy, with extra’s like suspension forks and a lot of gears. Those are more suited for the recreational touring which is a huge trend over here (mostly because of the well laid out “biking by number” trails). It is now actually the oma’s themselves (grantmothers…) that buy sporty bikes. The granddaughters now get back on the omafietsen because they’re so sweet and comfortable!

    I wonder why the classic omafiets is only just now starting to spread in the states.

  • Kristyn

    I’m very interested in an Oma.
    Do you mind telling me how tall you are and what size your bike is?
    Thanks very much!

    • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

      Hi Kristyn. I’m 5’7 and Oma is a size 53.

      • Kristyn

        Thank you so much Dottie. I was afraid that you might have had the smallest size bike. I’m 5’4″-ish, so will probably need a 48″, but I’ll contact some of the retailers for help.

        I am looking for my first bike in a long, long time (cough), and stumbled on across you and Trisha’s blog while searching for info on the Pashley. The Oma has charmed me and I like the idea of being able to give my 23lb sheltie a ride, etc.

        Love the blog and it really is helpful to see to ‘regular’ girls promoting biking. BTW, I detect no accent. Oh, I’m in downtown Memphis. ;)

        • chibikegal

          Hey Kristyn, I am 5’3″ and ride the smallest oma – 49 cm in much comfort and happiness …

          • Kristyn

            Thank you, chibikegal.
            That helps. I will be buying without seeing, much less riding, since the only dutch-style bike sold locally is the Electra Amsterdam. I thought about getting one of those first, but decided not to shell out $700 knowing I really wanted something else.

          • http://www.slowbikemiami.com Daniel M. Perez (Slow Bike Miami)

            Yeah, buy what you really want. I just got an Amsterdam myself, but that’s what I really wanted, so I’m happy. You gotta be happy with your bike.

          • http://www.mydutchbike.com mydutchbike

            As a store owner here in San Francisco. I have sold a few omafiets with your height and 49cm frame. Goodluck!

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  • http://www.mydutchbike.com mydutchbike

    Great reading your blog. I will pass on to our customers! We have quite a few happy riders here in San Francisco.

  • http://lacyclechic.blogspot.com Cosmo

    Just coming back again to let you know that I am drooling over your bike. It is so pretty.

  • Deb

    I love your blog and pics, I want oma also. I need to contact mydutchbike in sf. Thank you soooo! much.

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  • Brian Allen

    I’m glad to see people finally coming around to these kinds of bicycles, they always made sense to me. I had my first one in 1977, a Raliegh Tourist I bought when I was in the military overseas. Someone stole it recently, that’s when I got the Opa. Infinitely better brakes, but I still miss those quirky mechanical rods. I still ride 25 miles a day in northern Michigan. These kind of bicycles with raked back huge rugged frames and large wheels are some of the most comfortable and useful bicycles on earth, it’s probably why 95% of the world rides them. Unfortunately the majority of the United States seems to be fixated on mountain bikes, styrofoam happy-helmets, and spandex clothing. I really don’t understand it. I got an Oma for the wife but she refuses to ride it because, I quote “it looks funny”…..maybe I’ll show her this. Thanks

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  • http://thisgirlsbike.blogspot.com/ dreamlet

    When you clip panniers onto your rear rack does it affect the paint on the rack at all?

  • Giovanni

    Thanks! Fine review, and make us willing to own and ride on such little beasts. In Italy, we have a lot of bycicles, but for cultural reasons, are always too weak. Think it’s a matter of fashion. We are always worried about dress and smartness. So, simple and reliable things are disquieting and alarming.
    Have quite a lot of fixed bikes, racing, but workhorses are rare things. Perhaps we are worried by everything not being thin, pale and enchanting.

  • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

    @chibikegal – Most new commuter trains around the country have boarding level with the platform, so no need to carry up 6 steep steps!

    See this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellergraham/1483893498/

  • http://yahoo Milo

    Hi John in Dublin!

    Very interested in your Azor Kruisframe Pastoor, about which you blogged with Dottie. I’m keen on these clever Dutch bicycles: they’re complete, suitable for certain kinds of slowed-down touring that I’m getting interested in and built to last. I once owned a Danish Dursley Pedersen, an extraordinary bike – it’s a kind of Gothic Cathedral of bicycle frames – you can only ride them sitting bolt upright. I rode around Ireland on the Pedersen when I last lived in the oul place (Limerick to Dublin to Belfast and back, down coastal Co Clare and the Burren etc).

    I’m wondering about your Kruisframe – are you tall? – the frames sizes are 57, 61 and 65, right? I’m 5’9 1/2, so a 57cm would work for me, but I’m wondering if the Shimano Nexus 8-speed is widely available for European use? Tires Schwalbe Marathons 47mm? It seems to me the Kruisframe would be a pretty good bike for Third World travel?
    If you look on a site called Who rides a Workcycles city bike? you will see a photo of Zuzana riding her Azor Oma, the basket she uses is enormous. Beneath her is a photo of a 300-lbs (136 kgs) 6’5″ fellow called Cedric, on an a Kruisframe. Maybe these bikes are just indestructible?

    Milo.

    • walther

      Hello to you all!
      Nice to read about you all riding Dutch bikes,i live in Holland near Utrecht and we are used to ride our bikes all year ,all three of us (me ,my wife and my sun) own a “omafiets”,my sun owns an Azor Oma and uses it now for 4 (hard)years to highschool (about 10 miles away),it’s quality is terrific ! (good that is!),i owned all sorts off bikes but like my Granny best!
      Greetings Walther.

  • http://bike911.wordpress.com Christian Irving

    beautiful bike! It is too bad that I can’t find a brand new bike like these in Manila. What we have here are those from China and Japan – mostly old bikes. If I find a durable working frame, I plan to restore it and make it look as beautiful as the bikes in your gallery.

  • alisha

    Hello,
    I have a few questions. I am a college student in the states and I have been looking for a bike I was thinking about the schwinn until I came across your page. Now I want a dutch bike!! I want one like the black one you have…I went to the chicago website but there were so many..what bike did you purchase? i want the basket holder too, did you have to request that? also where did you get your basket from i dont see many that sits low and perfect on the bike…i would want one of those too. also did you have to add anything extra on the bike?

  • K

    Hello,

    I’m K. from Paris and your blog has been a true inspiration when I had to chose my Dutch bike. I waited 4 months (!!!!) but I now ride the same Oma (manufactured from Azor) than yours. Just FYI and if anyone else is interested : it’s now called “Pick-up Classic”, and you can see it on Bakfiets.nl.

    I can’t recommend Azor as a manufacturor : no reactivity when you question them about technical details, estimated time of delivery was initially 7 weeks, but it took 16 weeks (!!!!!!), plus transportation problem : initially transportation from Holland to Paris was included, and then they decided that we should organize it on France side…..
    So I have to warn everyone that the product is awesome, but the manufacturer just don’t give a f***** about customers.

    But don’t get me wrong : I’m very happy about the bike itself. Especially it was possible to customize its color (color chosen from 120 RAL colors options !). Let me know your comments, here goes the pictures link :

    http://picasaweb.google.fr/koorenay/VeloKarine?authkey=Gv1sRgCMLcw_Dykvw-&feat=directlink

    Thanks for your blog !!!!!!!

  • Jason

    Hi, I really enjoyed your photos and review of your Workcycles Omafiets! I’m close to buying one myself and can’t wait!

    I have one question though. You refer to the bike as an Azur Oma. I can’t find any information on this as a model anywhere. From workcycles cite, all they have is the Workcycles Omafiets – which looks exactly like your bike. I know that Oma is short for Omafiets, but I’m wondering if the Azur some sort of special model, or is it part of your nickname or ….?

    thanks!
    jason

    • Jason

      I figured it out!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

      An Azor Oma is the same as a regular WorkCycles Oma. WorkCycles made the Oma for Azor. No difference that I’m aware of, whether it’s called an Azor Oma or WorkCycles Oma.

      Good luck with your purchase!

      • Fred

        It’s actually the other way around, Azor is the factory that builds bicycles for other company’s, such as WorkCycles, Bakfiets.nl, het mannetje etc.

        By the way, like your website

  • Ferry

    Wow this is so cool! I really love cycling as I am from the Netherlands. On my daily trip to the university I first cycle 3 km to the train station and then (after a 1 hour train ride) I have a city bike which I use to get to the university (another 3 km). Cycling is what I miss in other countries (esp. the USA), it gives spirit and brings life into the streets. I really like seeing people on the other side of the world using these old-skool dutch bikes!

    PS: bicycles in NL aren’t kept that nice… my citybike (for university) looks great as it is very old and a classic, my hometown bike on the other hand looks rotten and is falling apart but we just don’t care (if it looks to nice it might get stolen ;) ) nice to see that Americans put so much love in their bikes!

  • Jim Phillips

    A Great review! I live in Charleston, SC which is about as flat as a pancake except for the bridges, the largest being the Cooper River (Ravenel) Bridge. I am ordering a Workcycles “Secret Agent”from Dutch Bikes in Seattle simply for the slightly less (about 5 pounds) weight without giving up any quality. I will have to get the bike up 6 steps to keep it safe inside my house. It looks gorgeous and I cannot wait to ride it.

    best,

    Jim

    • Michael

      Can you attach and remove commuter panniers to the racks? If so, do you know how many mm the rack sizes are?

  • Bill

    Dottie

    Your reviews are wonderful! I have two more questions.

    Why do they make a ladies and mens version? Meaning I guess Oma & Opa? I assume Opa is the male version?

    I tried to see why there has to be a difference on Google and some said the frame on the girls bike is not as strong. I don’t believe everything I read – these look like real sturdy bikes.

    Which leads me to my next question. How do I really know what size to get? As I would have to order and have it shipped. I did read some on the Rivendale site about sizing. Frame size is a hard one.

    I want to be able to sit up straight, leg somewhat straight with peddle in down position, and get off of the seat without pain from hitting the frame.

    Has Mr. Dottie tried out Oma? I really hate having to straddle that bar on men’s bikes. Maybe I should call your bike shop when I am ready to purchase for measurement help?

    Thanks for all the effort you put into details about the bikes and your reviews. It is extremely helpful.

    Thanks
    Bill

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      In something like a racing bike, a diamond frame is stronger, but for the Dutch city bike, it does not make a difference. I hear most men in Holland ride “oma” type swoop frames and I know two men in Chicago who ride Omas. So if you want the convenience of the oma frame, I recommend you go with that.

      As for frame size, you should email the bike shop or distributor regarding the particular model you’re interested in. The frame sizing information on the Rivendell site is not applicable to these Dutch bikes. There are 4 different frame sizes and you can determine which you should get by telling the bike shop how tall you are.

      Good luck!

      • Pieter

        Sorry Dottie, but you heard wrong. Most men in The Netherlands ride a men’s bike (i.e. opa of other types) because they rally are sturdier. When I was a student I had oma type bike but that was because they were cheaper. Now I have some money and I will only buy opa type bike because I think there’s comfort in having as sturdy a bike as possible. I currently ride a Cortina U4 Transporter 3-speed (http://www.fietsencorner.nl/images/transport%20COR%20ZW%20HER.jpg) and I love it. I love the fact that I can transport my kids (one on the front rack and one behind (side saddle)). I do all my shopping on it without any fear that the bike can’t hack it.
        Cheers, Pieter (NL)

  • Bill

    Dottie,

    Can you offer any advice about helmets? Do we really need one? When I was young they did not have them. I noticed from reading that they don’t wear them in Amsterdam. I guess the Dutch do not wear helmets? I wonder if other countries where bikes are popular if they use helmets?

    I was also thinking about the Dahon Ciao P8, yes it is a folding bike but you sit up just like the Dutch, chain guard cover, internal gears. With it I could ride in the parks downtown in the big city but keep it locked in my truck.

    Then I noticed Dahon made a folding helmet called the Pango but I guess it was never available for sale here in the US.

    I wish bike helmets were more fashionable, easy to store, like the Dahon folding. Not all of us want to look like Lance Armstrong with tights and toe clips.

    What do you think?

    Thanks
    Bill

    • Michael

      “Bicyclist: Helmet Save Head as Truck Rolled Over It”

      “Right before the truck hit, I thought man, that could’ve been a lot worse.”

      But then it got worse.

      “I could feel the pressure of the truck run over my head,” he says.

      http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/7503012.html

  • Michael

    Within the last 5 years, a man in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin was riding a bicycling, like most of us, as the Wisconsin State Journal then reported. He fell for some reason on the bicycle. A truck immediately ran over his head. He survived without even a visit to the hospital because he wore a helmet, as the truck simply rode over the structure the helmet provided. I’m not making this up, though on a quick search I cannot find the story in their archive; but I remember reading it.

    Now, even riding packed snow on studs in rural Montana, I wear a Bell Sequoia with a Walz wool ear flap cap underneath in below 0 temperatures. If you worry about the styling, just imagine yourself in Return of the Jedi on one of those Redwoods airbikes; it’s ok. May it never happen to you; but anything can happen on even the slowest street.

    • TJ

      You say you live in rural MT. I’m looking to live outside of Helena. I’m looking at the Azor Oma. I’m not a strong rider. Would this bike be too hard to ride in these conditions? I mostly leisure ride. I’m not into mountain and road bikes. I need an upright bike that can stand up to MT weather and not kill me to ride.

  • Michael

    Oh, wrote too soon; here it is!

    “Bicyclist: Helmet Saved Head as Truck Rolled Over It”

    “”It worked perfectly. Without the helmet, I wouldn’t be here,” Ryan Lipscomb says.

    His helmet’s almost crushed, but a local bicyclist says it saved his life during a hit and run crash on Madison’s East Side.”

    http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/7503012.html

    • Bill

      Absolutely fascinating. I never imagined they really worked when put up against a vehicle tire. So you would even wear one on the bike path away from all cars?

      • Michael

        I suppose it depends on the helmet vs. car; all helmets are not created equal. My feeling is when riding, I never know where the lonesome path will take me. It is probable one will engage traffic if one entertains the mere possibility that she might want to go this way or that, necessitating a trip on a street or road. I have yet to find a community of perfect, self-contained bike paths to all the conveniences of 21st Century human needs.

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  • Marilotte

    Hi!

    I hope you don’t mind a late comment, but I am considering buying a bike almost identical to yours, so this post was great to read!

    Quick question; I would love to get the kickstand that you have.
    It doesn’t look like it in the pictures, but is one of the wheels up in the air when your bike is on the stand?

  • Francesca Fury

    I adore your bike. And I envy the relative lack of hills in Chicago… I’m afraid that such a heavy craeture would never work here in Austin, where hills and stairs are a daily part of the commute. Sigh. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jason

      I have one in Austin. I ride up Kinney Ave. hill in the Zilker neighborhood regularly. I find living in the downtown area the few hills we have are a block or two, and there aren’t many. Oma can cruise up a Lamar grade no problem. As a city, Austin is basically flat. Don’t be afraid. However, lifting this bike up stairs is not an option. I park and lock it on ground level always.

      • Francesca Fury

        Jason~ It’s not fear that colors my comment, it’s the fact that I’ve lived in the Midwest, NYC, London, and been bike-dependent in all of the above… Austin is decidedly NOT a flat city! Not if you live in deep East or Southeast Austin, as I typically do. It’s startling what an 8 mile ride feels like with hills and a headwind. If I lived so close to downtown, I woudn’t think twice about owning an upright. But then, I’m a speed freak as well, so maybe the leisurely ride isn’t for me.

        • Jason

          Ah ha! Yes, 8 miles is not an “inner city” commute, per se. I commute from Zilker neighborhood to Congress/Ben White for work, only about 3 miles one way. Otherwise, I ride the Omafiets in town and up to North Loop, East Side, Boggy Creek, etc. Yep, it’s windy in Austin, but try Tucson, AZ for wind – where I live the other half of the time. Wind is awful there. With your additional desire for speed, it doesn’t sound like this bike fits your needs right now. Some day, perhaps! Good luck!

  • Tyrone

    Is there a difference between an Oma and an Omafiet? Or an Opa and an Opafiet?

    • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

      There is no difference. “Fiets” is “bike” in Dutch, so putting it after Oma or Opa is specifiying that it’s a grandma or grandpa bike.

      • Michiel

        Hi,

        As you might know, these bikes are really very popular in The Netherlands. Some 15 years ago, ATB bikes were very popular for a period, which pretty soon caused a spin off with variants with baggage racks on the back, and with mudguards and chain guards. This to accommodate for us Dutchies who like to ride a bike for any occasion, not for sports, but for commuting, grocery shopping, or just everything.

        Omafietsen have always also been very popular, especially with younger girls, but now since one or two years everybody rides them, including the front rack. Front racks were previously very rare and only seen on bikes from the 50′s or older, but now they are very common again. And of course, they’re very useful; navigating through the city with heavy grocery bags without a rack is not nice… Also, the ‘original’ Omafiets does not have gears, but now most of them have 5 to 7 of them.

        Thanks for the nice pictures of your bike!

        Mike

  • Heydi

    Thank you for your more than complete review about this beautiful bike. I have been trying to find out places to buy one, (I am located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), but seems not to be easy around here, it is mostly sport bikes that there are available. I will contact the N.Y. people directly. From the Canadian Prairies, thanks again!

    Heydi

  • Michelle

    One question about Oma: I live in (scorching hot) Texas and my commute would be about 12 miles per day. I loooooove the Oma (your site has seriously made me ADORE this bike) but I was wondering if you thought 12 miles would be pushing it on a bike of her weight? I noticed you said you stuck at about 10 miles or so. We don’t have a lot of hills down here or anything and I really want a bike to commute on that is sturdy and comfortable. My road bike can get there fast but it’s a bumpy ride! There is no place I can actually ride an Oma, but after trying some upright bikes just about everything I found “wrong” with them is something that the Oma does right! I just want to make sure I’m not overestimating what’s comfortable to do on a bike of her size on a regular basis…

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Michelle,

      I would not say that Oma is uncomfortable per se after 12 miles, but I think 12 miles is too long to pedal such a heavy bike twice a day, especially in scorching heat. I recommend something like my Rivendell Betty Foy as the perfect comfortable/uprightish bike for a 12 mile commute.

      Good luck with your search!

      Dottie

  • Lea Lennon

    How much to purchase and ship the Azor Oma to Australia?

    My girlfriend just bought one and I am thinking of buying one and maybe just maybe cycling from Townsville to Brisbane :)

    Lea

  • TJ

    You say you live in rural MT. I’m looking to live outside of Helena. I’m looking at the Azor Oma. I’m not a strong rider. Would this bike be too hard to ride in these conditions? I mostly leisure ride. I’m not into mountain and road bikes. I need an upright bike that can stand up to MT weather and not kill me to ride.

  • Marsha Zipser

    You mentioned that this bike is carried in a store in NYC. Can you tell me where to find the Azor Oma in NYC. Aug.22, 2011

    • Marsha Zipser

      I am looking for a bike shop in New York City that carries the Workcycle Azor Oma bike

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      The store in NYC is Adeline Adeline. There is a link to their website on our sidebar (see ad).

  • Marsha Zipser

    You mentioned that this bike is carried in a store in NYC. Can you tell me where to find the Azor Oma in NYC. Aug.22, 2011

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      The store in NYC is Adeline Adeline. There is a link to their website on our sidebar (see ad).

  • Marsha Zipser

    I am looking for a bike shop in New York City that carries the Workcycle Azor Oma bike

  • Bruno

    I have a Dutch Transport work cycle and an Rivendell Atlantis and would like to find a nice basket like yours . Can you share with me where you found yours .

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      It’s a Hershbergers Baker Basket, made by an Amish family in Minnesota. I bought it from the Velo Orange website, but I don’t think it’s available anymore.

  • Bruno

    I have a Dutch Transport work cycle and an Rivendell Atlantis and would like to find a nice basket like yours . Can you share with me where you found yours .

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      It’s a Hershbergers Baker Basket, made by an Amish family in Minnesota. I bought it from the Velo Orange website, but I don’t think it’s available anymore.

  • Puck

    Thanks so much for all the awesome info on these beautiful bikes, Dottie! I started cycling with a $500 Trek entry-level road bike (which seemed pretty pricey to me at the time!) then, after reading all the stuff you posted on the Workcycles Oma, I fell in love and splurged on my ‘Big Boy’ as I call my Oma, even though there was no way to take a test ride. I loooove him so much that I can’t even describe it. While road biking is fun, I find that unless I am going on group rides with speedy cyclists I need to keep up with, I ride the Oma constantly and never want to take the time to put on shorts and sneakers and do all the maintenance checks you have to do on a road bike. I ADORE just being able to get on my bike and RIDE! My Oma was so worth the investment just for the pleasure I get out of riding it. I feel fabulous when I ride it and, as someone who is a strong believer in ‘slow and steady gets you where you wanna go and lets you enjoy the way,’ the Oma is just perfect for me (no matter what scornful looks I might get from 50 year old Spandex clad men as they zoom past me as fast as they can to prove their biking manliness. ;P). So anyway, my point is, thanks so much for introducing me to Oma! It was love at first ride! <3

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      That’s awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your story and for the kind words. I’m always happy to hear from others who enjoy riding an Oma as much as I do. Love your riding philosophy.

    • Cornfed Jim

      When you are a 50 year old male, you like the flashy jerseys because I probably have 75 but now I am 71 and I like Endura Touring Knickers (Colorado Cyclist) with lots of pockets in black only so when you wipe the grease off your hands it won’t show on those black knickers and wear my Diabetic Red Ryder jersey and jerseys that reflect the sun. I probably look like a , but at my age who cares. I use Schwalbe Marathon tires on my touring bicycles & Continental Hard Shell Folding tires on my road bikes. Yes they are a bit heaver but I hate doing flats. I like the Rivendell image.

  • Puck

    Thanks so much for all the awesome info on these beautiful bikes, Dottie! I started cycling with a $500 Trek entry-level road bike (which seemed pretty pricey to me at the time!) then, after reading all the stuff you posted on the Workcycles Oma, I fell in love and splurged on my ‘Big Boy’ as I call my Oma, even though there was no way to take a test ride. I loooove him so much that I can’t even describe it. While road biking is fun, I find that unless I am going on group rides with speedy cyclists I need to keep up with, I ride the Oma constantly and never want to take the time to put on shorts and sneakers and do all the maintenance checks you have to do on a road bike. I ADORE just being able to get on my bike and RIDE! My Oma was so worth the investment just for the pleasure I get out of riding it. I feel fabulous when I ride it and, as someone who is a strong believer in ‘slow and steady gets you where you wanna go and lets you enjoy the way,’ the Oma is just perfect for me (no matter what scornful looks I might get from 50 year old Spandex clad men as they zoom past me as fast as they can to prove their biking manliness. ;P). So anyway, my point is, thanks so much for introducing me to Oma! It was love at first ride! <3

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      That’s awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your story and for the kind words. I’m always happy to hear from others who enjoy riding an Oma as much as I do. Love your riding philosophy.

    • Cornfed Jim

      When you are a 50 year old male, you like the flashy jerseys because I probably have 75 but now I am 71 and I like Endura Touring Knickers (Colorado Cyclist) with lots of pockets in black only so when you wipe the grease off your hands it won’t show on those black knickers and wear my Diabetic Red Ryder jersey and jerseys that reflect the sun. I probably look like a , but at my age who cares. I use Schwalbe Marathon tires on my touring bicycles & Continental Hard Shell Folding tires on my road bikes. Yes they are a bit heaver but I hate doing flats. I like the Rivendell image.

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  • Cornfed Jim

    Which bike do you ride the most? Betty Foy or your Black Beauty. I live on the coast overlooking Catalina Island,CA

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Depends on the season. In the winter I ride my Oma almost exclusively; otherwise, I probably ride my Betty Foy more.

      • Elenacerise

        What speed is your Oma, 3 or 8? I am planing to purchase one soon for my daily commute in Austin.

        • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

          Mine is 8-speed. I spend 90% of the time in 5th gear, but it’s nice to have a variety depending on wind conditions and minor hills.

    • patrick m

      My wife and I just bought Workcycles yesterday, in Santa Barbara, CA, from a shop that is (unfortunately) going out of business. She has a Secret Service and I have a Classic Opa, both 8 speeds. Very fun to tool around town on. Thanks for your post — it really captures the experience/attraction of these bikes. As the guy said as we headed out the door with the new bike, “Enjoy the Ride”!

  • Cornfed Jim

    Which bike do you ride the most? Betty Foy or your Black Beauty. I live on the coast overlooking Catalina Island,CA

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Depends on the season. In the winter I ride my Oma almost exclusively; otherwise, I probably ride my Betty Foy more.

  • Elenacerise

    What speed is your Oma, 3 or 8? I am planing to purchase one soon for my daily commute in Austin.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Mine is 8-speed. I spend 90% of the time in 5th gear, but it’s nice to have a variety depending on wind conditions and minor hills.

  • patrick m

    My wife and I just bought Workcycles yesterday, in Santa Barbara, CA, from a shop that is (unfortunately) going out of business. She has a Secret Service and I have a Classic Opa, both 8 speeds. Very fun to tool around town on. Thanks for your post — it really captures the experience/attraction of these bikes. As the guy said as we headed out the door with the new bike, “Enjoy the Ride”!

  • Estudiosantander

    Hi,
    Where can I find a good priced 8 speed Oma. I have been looking around the internet and I only find one speed.
    Thank you for you help : )

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      You should be able to find an 8-speed Oma at Dutch Bike Co.

      • Estudiosantander

        Thank you so much! : )

  • http://www.gafasdesolguarde.com/ gafas de sol

    Very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this great
    read! Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  • James

    It looks from the photos that your Oma bike has double wall rims.

  • Shannon Chenoweth

    Nice bike! Great review on it too. 

  • angela verhoeven

    Hi, I just love the Oma Azor bike.Where can i buy one in the Netherlands.We are from New Zealand and Would love to buy one in the Netherlands.PLEASE answer me with an email address where to get one. MANY, many thanks.

    • Rene Ouderling

      I am from the Netherlands. These oma and opa fietsen you can buy in almost every bicycle shop (=fietsenwinkel) in the Netherlands. The concept of these bikes is very old, they date back to the early thirties of the previous century and are very sturdy, They are still sold today but are properly modernised to the present time.

  • Pat Morgan

    I ‘m in love with these bikes! But for me is essential the fact that I can fold my
    bike! Simplicity and efficiently are the perfect combination!

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  • Sherri

    Azor omafiets Canada! Montreal soon to relocate to Toronto I believe. All the best!

  • pommie

    Great review. I came across it whilst researching the Azor Oma bike. I want one even more now. Off to read some more of the blog :-)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Great, glad to hear the review was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Jana

    Great review of your bike! I am slightly confused as there are two brands in the marketplace – “Azor” and “Workcycle” and you say yours is an Azor Workcycle. Can you confirm what brand it is? I am looking at a Bear cycle here in Dublin which is made by Azor and also a Pashley. Thanks :)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Hi Jana. Azors are built by Workcycles – at least they were when I bought mine. So there is no difference except for the head badge. I believe Workcycles now sells under their own name only.

  • ME

    Hi Dottie,
    Thanks for your lovely bike story!
    ME

  • ME

    Hi Dottie,

    Thanks for your lovely bike story!

    Would you be so kind as to help me with bike sizing on the Oma and Betty Foy? I am 5’9″ with a 34″ inseam. Oma offers 57 and 61. I am probably a 59! Better to err on too small or too big?

    I don’t know about Betty Foy sizes yet, but I will probably need to order it sight unseen…as no place in Portland carries it. Scary risk!

    Are the 2014 models on both similar to yours? Have you seen them?

    Would you buy your bikes again today? How are they holding up?

    Any help you have to offer would be appreciated by…

    ME

    in Portland OR

  • ME

    Hi Dottie,
    Also…
    I love your basket, and would like to order one, but can not find it on the website you posted. Any idea where/how to buy now? Matching panniers would be great too, to complete the look. Ideas?
    Gratefully,
    ME

  • http://www.stevevance.net stevevance

    Thanks for the review!

  • http://www.workcycles.com henryinamsterdam

    Wow, I think that’s a better description of our Omafiets than our own website. Thanks very much.

    FYI: I rarely comment but I do enjoy reading your blog. The non-techie, normal stylish women ride bikes like this, so what’s the big deal… perspective is a great antidote to our everything pushed to the extreme world.

  • http://invisiblevoices.wordpress.com/ Deb

    No deflating tires? Needs elaboration!

    I got a flat recently – the first in 6,000 miles. Schwalbe Marathon’s for the win!

    I ride 14 miles each way on my commute. I’m glad you mentioned the 10 mile “limit”, because it is what I’ve always sort of assumed, that there’s a cut off of sorts after which the comfort of a bike like the Oma loses to other factors. My bike isn’t a lightweight (it’s a surly, so it’s steel) but I’m in the drops most of the time, because it is easier on my legs! I also have several significant hills.

    How do you find the more upright position to handle hills (you must have some, even in chicago!)?

    I have been thinking that I want to get a more upright bike for grocery runs and other close errands. But of course I still have the hills!

  • http://www.slowbikemiami.com Daniel M. Perez (Slow Bike Miami)

    Great review. I think eventually I’ll end up getting an Opa or other such Dutch kin, based solely on how just pure awesome they are as all-around daily bikes. Maybe once I get that Nursing degree done with. :-)

  • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

    I have Schwalbe Marathon tires, too. So they could deflate, but hopefully not for a long time, as you experienced. The bike I was riding before Oma had flats all the time, it was ridiculous. So far none with Oma (knock on wood).

    About the length of travel – Oma doesn’t become uncomfortable after 10 miles. I’ve never been uncomfortable on Oma. Time has more to do with it, since the bike is slower. Also, if the headwinds are bad, my legs will get tired more quickly on Oma. If you look at Henry’s blog, there are people touring Europe on similar bikes.

    I love the upright positioning, but no – Chicago has no hills. Seriously. It’s the Midwest. Headwinds are kinda like hills, and I simply have to go extra slow in an easy gear.

  • dukiebiddle

    That price is about $1G less than I presumed. It’s the same price as a moderate to economical road bike. Granted, road bikes are really expensive, but still… the Oma/Opafiets are much more affordable than I thought.

  • cratedigger66

    thanks for the review. I always wondered how the front racks worked for instance.

    I think that the piece of mind that low maintenance offers is a real advantage on this style of bike. The idea that you can hop on the bike and go in any weather is priceless.

    I am a fan of internally geared bikes and now ride them exclusively (except for my single speed). After years of fiddlng with derailleurs (esp in bad weather), I have found that 3 speeds in the hub is the way to go.

  • Frits B

    And if you ever wonder what Azor stands for: look at the decal on the rear fender. It’s Spanish for hawk (when I first saw the name I thought of French poodles, you know, Azor et Fifi, but it’s a bit more robust).

  • http://www.savedbybikes.com/blog/ Steve

    I like your review, and the difference in perspective; detailing your involvement with the bike in life around Chicago. It is as much a review about how the Oma makes you feel and answers needs as it is about the technology. How you appreciate the bike’s aesthetics is also evident in the images of the Oma surrounded by Chicago.

    I concur with the city being nice and flat. I rode for a year from Logan Square to the loop. 12 miles a day and not a hill in sight – but ohh that wind…

  • dukiebiddle

    Scott, an oma or an opa, ya big Dutch sissy. ;-P

  • http://letsgorideabike.wordpress.com dottie

    An oma! :) Most Dutch men ride omas, I’ve heard. The step through frame makes a lot of sense for anyone wearing nice clothes or carrying cargo.

  • Scott

    We’ll see who’s a sissy when I’m riding to work on the coldest day of the year (actually, this is not so hard to do on the oma). Until I see another guy on an oma in chicago, I will proceed with the understanding that I am so extremely hip that I do not yet even have my first copycat.

  • dukiebiddle

    ;-)

  • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

    Yea Schwalbe Marathons! Reflective and tough.
    I’ve been commuting daily on mine for about 2 years without a flat (knock on wood) which is a really good thing because internal hub gears with roller brakes make it PITA to remove a rear wheel. Although that might be partly because of my non-removable chain case and the face that my rear dropouts have to be forced apart slighly to get the hub in….

  • chibikegal

    Actually, Chicago has a couple hills that I discussed in depth with Dutch Bike staff before taking Oma home – the new train bridge by soldier field, the parking lot ramp at Trader Joe’s on Clybourn, and various hills over the Kennedy expressway as you head down Milwaukee. Verdict – not so bad in first or second gear, and Oma’s extra weight as I cruise downhill? Priceless. What I cannot do, is carry Oma up onto a commuter train. I blame this on the train. Seriously, who designed a commuter train car that requires mountain climbing agility. Now I have to get a fourth bike ;)

  • http://www.monstersofhoop.com ironika leigh

    i know chicago is mostly flat (except that stupid hill on damen that separates me from easy rides to joann’s fabrics) – but the wind … seriously. it has to be at least equal to riding hillier cities.

    i’m from la – where my brother is a hardcore rider … very very steep hills in and out of the canyons. and obviousy are winds aren’t quite like that … but still significant, right?