Batavus TV

Many people come to our site in search of information about Dutch bikes. It’s pretty shocking that there’s not more out there–even on YouTube, it took a while to turn up videos featuring Batavus bikes. Here are a few of my favorites.

The first is charmingly retro, with a man in a straw hat puttering around on his Old Dutch (step-through!). It presents life as a series of choices and I guess he chooses the bike…but mostly I like seeing the bicycle infrastructure, including designated lights and paths, and the posse of bikes outside the grocery store, locked with O-locks only! Also, the music will stick in your head (sorry).

The second is your more typical gimmicky commercial, and features a sportier bicycle model…possibly a Personal Bike? The quality is too poor to tell.

It also has the added benefit of verifying the pronunciation of “Batavus.” I was stressing the wrong syllable!

Moving on to the totally random. Perhaps an international reader can tell me why this guy is stumbling around on a hill carrying his bike?

And whether this is an actual commercial or, as I suspect, a fan video? Either way, I cannot resist posting something set to the soundtrack of “Eye of the Tiger.”

Finally, a non-Batavus bonus: this clip of the Azor Oma factory. Check out the guy truing the wheel by hand, or the steam bath where they test the rust-resistance of the components. That’s quality.

(Is it me or is there a Batavus in that showroom? Do any Azors have that kind of chain case?)

Possible Batavus

Possible Batavus

Have you discovered any cycling online video treasures? Besides our video, of course. :)

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29 thoughts on “Batavus TV

  1. dottie says:

    I don’t understand any of those commercials, but I love the way they advertise bikes – normal people in regular clothes going places.

  2. philippe says:

    Yes, they do use that case.

    http://www.azor.nl/WEBSITE_2009/pages/HIGHLANDER%20NN7%20BASIS%20H61%20SGR.htm

    That clip is hardly unknown, but I like it.

    • dottie says:

      LOVE that video! Totally need a hat like that; have the red lipstick :)

    • Dean Peddle says:

      I love it too. Did you notice the way they stop and start….especially the guy on the fixie stopping his legs and skidding to slow down. Can you girls show a demonstation video on that next time :) I’ve been riding fixies for 10+ years and it still baffles me how they do this.

  3. Trisha says:

    I knew one of our readers would be able to answer that question. Thanks!

  4. Frits B says:

    Let’s try! The first and second commercials are indeed commercials. The second shows a typical Amsterdam bike dealer, i.e. a thief who delivers on command. I couldn’t really see the type of bike, but the customer obviously made a wise choice: a Batavus. The third video is also a commercial. A bike dealer tells us in voiceover about a customer who comes asking for a bike and says he’ll take it away for a test ride, to see if it really is as versatile as the blurb says, and if it really stands up to all everyday mistreatment. The mistreatment is shown in extenso, and the customer returns to the shop and says “Nice, do you have it in green?”.
    The 4th video is also a commercial but I suspect for a private sale.

    As for the Azors, the chaincase shown is a Hesling Saber, part of their Boundless and Highlander packages – unless you want a different one. Azor makes a lot more types of bike than you might think. The bike shown is one of their aluminum models. Go to their website, select “fietsen” in their main menu (top row), don’t be frightened off by the Under Construction sign but click on the underlined words “nieuw assortiment”. This opens up good photos of their range. There is a finish called Nashville, available on a series of frame types!

    Finally: Batavus was the name of a German tribe that migrated to the Rhine delta in the first century BC; their name first pops up in Roman texts in 12 BC. They were employed by the Romans to defend the northern frontier. The part of Holland where they lived still is called the Betuwe (stress on first syllable! something like baytuweh). In later centuries Batavus became a synonym for the mythical ancient Dutchman, and in 1795, following the French revolution, a “Bataafse Republiek” was created which although it only lasted till 1806, gave us our first constitution and the principles of the present state. It’s ironic that the brand name Batavus was chosen by the founder of the factory, Andries Gaastra, as he is Frisian.

    Does this help?

  5. Frits B says:

    Do you know David Hembrow’s website, hembrow.blogspot.com? He lives in Assen, a quiet town in the North of the Netherlands, pop. 60,000, and has lots of videos about Dutch cycling infrastructure. Assen itself is portrayed in http://hembrow.eu/cycling/assen.html.

  6. Scott says:

    The straw hat is money, this is an axiom of dutch bike riding.

  7. anna says:

    Oh, the Batavus is a strange advert. But well, I haven’t seen many bike adverts myself, certainly none on the TV :(.

  8. It’s funny – At least until recently, the styles of European vs American commercials were very different. European commercials followed the “weird is memorable” principle, whereas American commercials followed the “positive associations” principle. These Batavus commercials remind me of that, though I think these were fairly low budget with no advertising execs behind them.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      They just reminded me of local car dealership ads, which were I live follow the low budget bizarre raging lunatic principle. Who needs an expensive ad company when you can just dress your salespeople in chicken outfits, flap their wings and say “cock-a-doodle-do-this-car’s-for-you!” <–I totally should have been an ad man. Obv., that copy is gold.

  9. Kristyn says:

    I enjoyed, thanks for the great post. How did you know that I’ve been wondering how to pronounce Batavus? lol

    Trisha, I think Nashville is a little bit more progressive than Memphis, and I read your post about acquiring your Batavus in England, but did you find your bike hunt frustrating? I am finding it very frustrating. Not only will I have to purchase a bike without trying it first, but I’ll most likely be paying close to $300 for shipping. Argh! There has got to be a better way.

    I’ve already ordered a helmet, now I need a bike. Does anyone know of anyone that sells the Azor Oma in a 3-speed? I don’t think I would know what to do with 8 and am hoping that it would keep the cost to around $1500 with shipping. Halp!

    • Oh, I think you would know exactly what to do with an 8-speed once you got it. With this sort of bike, I think 5-8 speed hubs are best; 3 could feel insufficient.

    • Trisha says:

      Yeah, i have to agree. I know Memphis is flat but with heavier bikes it’s better to have the variety. Even in Chicago I used 6 out of the 8 gears on Dottie’s Oma. And yes, bike hunting in a city that carries nothing close to what you want is incredibly frustrating! It might be worth your while to go to Chicago or Atlanta.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      And I third. With a big heavy bike like that, hold out a little longer and get those extra gears. You’ll need them

  10. Dean Peddle says:

    Man the Dutch are crazy….I love it. When I’m there and watch TV it is such a different experience with the shows they watch.

    BTW…the video of the man stubbling around the hill with the bike. He’s is immitating or testing the bike for the sport called “Cyclocross” which is HUGE in Holland and Belgium. It has also really gained a lot of exposure here in the USA as well but in Holland it is equvilant to USA Baseball or Basketball.

  11. Capateto says:

    Here’s a video that may qualify as a cycling online video trasure. It’s produced by Transport for London, and I think it makes its point expertly. (Toward the end, when the woman puts down her car keys and takes her bike out instead, notice how the sunlight floods the frame. Beautiful!)

  12. Capateto says:

    Treasure, not ‘trasure’ (my typing is atrocious)

  13. jo says:

    Here are a few you may like;

  14. jo says:

    Here are a few you may like;

    And here, briefly, you see my cycling my 1934 Simplex bike somewhere in the middle of the item;

  15. Marion says:

    Here’s a few bicycling promotion commercials made by Dutch Film Acadamy students:

    The taglines say:

    “If we like sitting on our bikes so much..

    Why do we sit in traffic jams?

    Bike to work. A good cause.”

    This one is my favourite…

    “What do you see?”

    “Auto..”

    Voice-over: “The first phase is denial. One needs to reach out to the addict and give him the solution. Then he needs to take the initiative… and when they are ready, we need to let go.”

    “Well, somebody has to do something about them traffic jams!”

    This one isn’t a commercial, but a few bits of footage of cycling in the Netherlands in the 1950s. You’ll see oma’s everywhere, dottie :-)

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