My Dutch Bicycle Video

Here is the second video for the LGRAB YouTube channel. Clearly, I don’t have a future with broadcast journalism, but I want to share more about Dutch bikes with the public. When I started researching Dutch bikes, there were none in my city to test ride and not much information beyond the manufacturers’ websites. I obsessively googled different bike brands and found frustratingly little on my favorites.

My WorkCycles Azor Oma written review is extensive, so the video can be considered bonus material. Not super interesting, so don’t feel compelled to watch, but I hope this video will help others who are seeking more information about them before ordering one on the internet or driving a far distance to test ride one.

  • Braxton

    Trying to discourage us from flying to Chicago? :)

    • dottie

      You’re talking to a girl who vacationed in Seattle last year to test ride an Azor :)

      • Daniel M. Perez (Slow Bike Miami)

        I rue that in two trips to Seattle last year, we never made it to the Dutch Bike store.

      • Braxton

        I realized later I wasn’t clear in that I was responding to “driving a far distance to test ride one.” But I see you know what I meant. :)

        Ashley and I both laughed when we heard the L train go by during filming. Keep doing these videos! I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who enjoy them.

  • Cosmo

    I love it! I love your bell.

    • cratedigger66

      I love the bell as well! I really like how you use it for emphasis.

      Keep doing the videos. I love the DIY production quality.

      Cheers (rings bell)

  • Daniel M. Perez (Slow Bike Miami)

    The written review may be extensive, but seeing it in action is worth it. That can help prospective owners a lot, seeing how they ride, how they handle, how they sound.

  • Lovely Bicycle!

    That is a very cute video. It’s so interesting to see how people’s looks change when their features are animated. The bike suits you perfectly, and the dress is very appropriate. Oh and the seat tube on that bicycle is sooooo slack!

    • Lovely Bicycle!

      BTW, keep forgetting to ask: Is the chaincase on your Oma made of a soft or a hard-shell material?

      • dottie

        Thanks! The chaincase is made of soft-shell material, some sort of canvas. (The same as the Gazelle Toer Populair, actually.)

        • Trisha

          It seemed a little like vinyl to me, probably because the material was coated to be weather-resistant.

      • Frits B

        According to the factory specifications it is impregnated canvas, waterproof, and compared to a plastic chaincase less susceptible to damage by gravel and less obtrusive if the chain clatters against it.

  • Trisha

    You know I’m a fan! Picking up some pointers for when it’s my turn to do one for the Bat.

  • Emma J

    So cute.

    How well do your eight gears do on hills? Or is your route mostly flat? I’m used to biking with a week’s worth of travel gear and a day’s food and water up and over the Coastal Range here, but I do use the granny gears alot.

    I so love these beautiful bikes, but – would I still be able to climb my hill home every afternoon without getting off and walking?

    • dottie

      Hi Emma, I can’t speak to hills because Chicago is flat, flat, flat. We do have awful headwinds, though, and I take them in stride with my granny gear. I think you can definitely get up hills, but maybe in first, second or third gear.

  • miss sarah

    Awesome! I feel so inspired to do one on my Pashley too, since I have to answer so many questions about that bike, anyway. It’s nice to see you in animated form (not meaning to be creepy).

    Maybe Don will indulge me and shoot me and the Pashley and/or the Madsen! The Madsen has arrived, btw. But I’m waiting until this weekend for the snow to hopefully melt to do a debut ride. It doesn’t have a fully enclosed chain guard (just one of those over-the-top things) so I don’t want her first exposure to Canadian streets to be disgusting.

    Yay on the video!


    • dottie

      So happy to hear about your Madsen! I can’t wait to see pictures of Dexter’s first ride. You should totally shoot some videos. Your debut Pashley music video was absolutely beautiful!

      • miss sarah

        After seeing your vids and all the requests I get, I think I need to do a Pashley video too. It would sure save me from writing the same email over and over again:)

        Then I can slowly work my way through the fleet. Though, people will notice that I’m not very graceful with the Madsen yet, and I think it will humourous for people to watch me try and fold down the Dahon in any timely manner.

  • spiderleggreen

    Cool Vid! The el had great timing, because you were moving around the bike, so not much was missed.

    About the seat height. Is that the recomended height, or do you have it lower for ease? I’m just curious about the seat to peddle distance, which if you’re too low is hard on the knees. Looking at the vid, it doesn’t look bad. Not like a beach cruiser. My Azor is much taller and I can’t imagine just kicking my feet down, with my butt still on the seat. I’m happy with my seat height, but wondering why your’s is lower to the ground. The story goes that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. So, they don’t have short bikes.

    emma~ Dutch bikes aren’t considered touring bikes, which are lighter, for covering longer distances. But if your not in a rush, you can put many miles on them in comfort. They will also carry more than you need and aren’t likely to break down. The Schwabe tires aren’t getting many flats. Here’s what these bikes are made of:

    Hills are tougher than your average bike, especially if you’re in a rush. I have a 26 mile, round-trip commute with hills(hills mean different things to different people) and it strangly, doesn’t take me that much longer, than when I ride my Gary Fisher.

    • dottie

      Yes, I knew the el train would show up sometime, since it goes both ways every few minutes :)

      I have my seat at the height where my leg is fully extended and knee not bent, as with any other bike. Wearing heels helps with putting my foot down, else I would have to be on tip toe.

    • dottie

      Also, I can’t put both feet down at the same time, only one, and I tilt the bike and my body to one side.

    • Emma J

      Thanks for more info. And the website. I’ve liked the weight and the ride of my hybrid, but would like a more upright ride and the looped-down top bar. Tires that are not getting flats is also appealing. I think maybe I need to look at a mixte?

      • Lovely Bicycle!

        A mixte (like Dottie’s Betty Foy) is usually designed to be a sporty bike actually and won’t keep you completely upright if it is set up the way it was intended. A loop-frame, on the other hand, will keep you completely upright. If you think the Azor would be too heavy for you, Velorbis and Pashley are a couple of lighter loop-frame options.

    • Frits B

      Re Tall Dutch, Kim who cuts my hair is 6’2″, and she is a girl in her early twenties. 15 year old girls are easily 5’10″ and boys are 6’4″ by the time they are 18. At 70, I’m 5’4″ so have to look up to everybody two generations younger. I have a grandniece (daughter of my sister’s son) who is 2.5 years old and stands 3 feet tall. But as long as we are among ourselves it’s not too noticeable.

  • Yvette (Slow Bike Miami wife contingent)

    You are too cute! Thanks for the video, it really helps for those of us unlucky enough to live far from a Dutch Cycle shop. One question: how tall are you? I’m only 5’2″ so seeing how low your seat is and knowing how tall you are can help me decide if maybe these bikes are a bit large for my height.

    When I was in Belgium i rented a bike, and people laughed at me because I exchanged the enormous adult ladies’ bike for a junior bike, but I literally couldn’t control it no matter how low the seat was!

    Still, I would give anything to own an Azor like yours… :)
    Oh, and btw, your dress is beautiful! :)

    • dottie

      Thanks! The dress is vintage and I bought it for $15. (Yes, I am one of those people who always has to point out how little she paid for stuff.)

      I am 5’7. There are three Oma frame sizes: 49, 53, and 57. Mine is the size 53. As you can see in our first video, Trisha was able to ride it, although it is too big for her to own. She would probably feel good on the size 49. I think she’s 5’2 – am I right, T?

      • Trisha

        Yup! I actually didn’t feel too bad on Dottie’s (short torso means slightly longer legs than your average shorty…but only slightly) but I did have to hoist myself into the saddle a little, and it was as low as it would go. As you can no doubt tell in the video demonstration. I’ve never ridden a size 49 but am 98% certain I’d go with that size if I got an Azor.

        • dottie

          And I have a long torso, so you and I together are probably more comparable to a 5’3 person and a 5’6 person riding the same bike, at least as far as seat to crank measurements go :)

  • Kristyn

    Thanks for the vid Dottie. People like me who are just starting to investigate the Dutch bikes will stumble on your blog, and all of the info really helps.

    Yvette, could you and hubby go back to Belgium and test the Achielle Craighton Pick-up Oma?

    • dottie

      Thanks! Those Achielles are beautiful bikes – I’ve never seen those before.

      • Kristyn

        I found it through Lovely Bicycle’s blog. She has a very nice list of the higher end manufacturers.

        I love your Oma, but I’m afraid it will be out of my reach by the time a rack is added, it’s shipped across country and I have a bike shop set it up, etc. I’m sad, but I’m guessing that it will cost me close to $2500 to acquire one. :(

        • spiderleggreen

          I think they said $300-400 for shipping, so not $2500, unless you count fancy lock and a whole lot of extras. But the nice thing about these bikes is all the extras are already on the bike. The set up is minimal, if I remember. Peddles and handle bars.

        • Braxton

          It would indeed be less than you’re guessing. Call and ask them to quote you on the bike you want.

          • Kristyn

            Maybe $2500 was a little exagerated, but it would be over $2000: Bike – $1600; Front rack – $120; Shipping – $250-$300; Labor to attach rack before shipping – ?; Labor to set up bike on arrival – ?.

            Comparatively, the Pashley dealer quoted me $65 to ship the bike from the west coast to the mid-south.

          • dottie

            There is a Pashley dealer in the mid-south: North Road Bicycle Imports. Very nice guy.

      • Frits B

        Of course you have seen them before, you’re riding one. Achielle is Azor’s nostalgic frame maker – which is their core business – and it’s nice to see that they are building up a real factory for themselves. Also compare the Azor or WorkCycles priest frame with Achielle’s.

      • Lovely Bicycle!

        Achielle builds frames for many, if not most, Dutch-style bikes made in the EU. It also made bikes for the now-defunct Jorg & Olif. Belgian steel is very highly regarded, and Achielle is a good, friendly company. You can buy a bike from them directly, ordering custom specs, and the shipping prices are reasonable.

        • Frits B

          Re Belgian steel: Achielle proudly says on its website that they use Corus steel. Nothing wrong with that, but Corus is what used to be Hoogovens in IJmuiden near Amsterdam (and now owned by Tata in India). I really don’t know why Corus should be better than real Belgian steel, unless of course the mills in Charleroi and Seraing have closed.

          • Lovely Bicycle!

            Gasp! How weird. So are they made near Amsterdam or in India?

            On Achielle’s website, it says “from steel tube to bicycle 100% made in Belgium” and “All bicycle frames are made with European Corus quality tubes”.

          • alf

            Corus Tubes are made near Amsterdam with European Steel.
            As I understand it, their is no Belgian “steel tube maker” left anymore that makes tubes strong enough / good enough for the Achielle frames.
            The steel used for the tubes comes from different EU countries.

            This is how my Belgian Bicycleshop told my.

            So I guess that with their slogan “from steel tube to bicycle, … in Belgium”
            they mean that they are starting with a tube and ending up with a complete bike.

            Greetings from a Belgian Achielle fan!

          • Kristyn

            I would love to find out more about these bikes before I make a final decision. I’ve sent them 2 emails in 3 days, but haven’t heard anything yet. They are beautiful bikes!

    • Kristyn

      Thanks for the link, Dottie. He has some great info on his blog. Believe it or not, I think Chicago is closer to me than NC.

      I started out wanting a Pashley, but then I saw your Oma. I love the idea of her cargo carrying capabilities and I like the “enveloping”. Before it was discussed, I could see that the rider sits somewhat on top of the Pashley. The Pashley is gorgeous, but I’ve unfortunately, lol, been introduced to an Azor Oma. I absoulutely love the looks of the Achielle bike, too. I want to find out the cost of the Achielle, then I’ll make a decision.

      I’ve gone from being completely shocked that a bike could cost $500 to $600 a year ago, to being willing to spend $1500+, but going over $2000 for a first bike is, I think, more than I can handle. If the Achielle is extremely expensive, I’ll probably go with the Pashley and wait for an Oma sometime in the future.

      Your blog has been great. Thanks very much for sharing all of the information.

    • Daniel M. Perez (Slow Bike Miami)

      Sure, I’ll go back to Belgium in a snap!

      • Kristyn


  • Kara

    Thanks for the video! Since I have no local bike shop that carries this and many other bikes I am considering (like a Pashley or Betty Foy), it was great to see it in 3D. I actually would love to see one on your Betty Foy next…You girls are the best!

  • Horace

    Fun video! Would like to see a few closeups of the details in the future (like, when you do one for Betty Foy).

  • Kristyn

    Ya’ll need to start an affiliate program of some type. Make it easy for those of us in the US who don’t have access to these European city bikes to acquire one. And while you’re at it, find a way for the rest of us to buy those great skirt guards. I’m serious! :)

  • Ian Martin

    Love the video it’s really great, what a fantastic bike the Oma is…… and Dottie makes a brilliant presenter. Please, please do some more.

  • Cyclin’ Missy

    Cute and informative video, Dottie! Makes me want to try a Dutch bike one day. What a great commuter bike. I loved it when the El went by – so Chicago!

  • Academichic

    Great video! I’m so jealous of your Oma, one day, one day…sigh..

    Thanks for the cute live action, made my morning! S.

  • Pamela Anderson

    I love this! Thank you for sharing this! I miss Chicago and if I lived there, I would totally dump my car and just ride cool bikes. I am at 33% here in Miami because it’s not always possible to avoid the car. :(

    Saving my pennies for this bike!

  • Fido1983

    Very nice video!
    If you wannt to download it to your harddisk use

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  • Liset

    This is such a great post! I love the way you say ‘oma’, I think you already know but it means grandma in dutch. My bike doesn’t have a handbrake because people break them here or they get stuck in the the parking area… The same for the lights, I don’t know why but lights always break after a week. We have little ligths you have to put on your jacket so you can take them off at home. Works perfectly!