Oma Appreciation

Now that other cyclists are out in full force, Oma gets compliments more than once a day.

“I love your bike!” “Awesome bike!” “Now that’s a bike!” “Beautiful, girl!” “Very elegant!” “Good for you!”

Usually I would not be crazy about strange men calling out to me, but all of these radiated a wholesome appreciation for my Dutch bike and the regular-woman-on-a-bike aesthetic.

All these photos were taken with my Diana Mini. You can see more at Ye Olde Flickr.

Have a great weekend! :)

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27 thoughts on “Oma Appreciation

  1. Steve A says:

    Oma is every bit as sweet as the onlookers state, but some of us want to know more about that polka dot bag that looks much like a sophisticated pannier disguised as an artsy fartsy bag!

  2. tammy says:

    LOVE that top photo! I live in the same city and my pics don’t turn out like that. Anyhow, just discovered your blog via copenhagen cyclery. I’m going to get the abici donna one, in red, in the next couple of weeks. enjoyed your post about riding it.

    • Dottie says:

      Hi tammy. Trisha has been totally in love with the red abici donna ever sense she rode it while visiting last year. Such a sexy bike! Please update us after your purchase.

  3. donna says:

    I had some old guy stick out his thumb at me as I was riding by yesterday. made me smile too.

  4. Tinker says:

    The third photo, the mirror? How does that one work for you? I like mirrors on bikes, but most I have seen are not useful as mirrors, maybe they keep them as bar end weights, to minimize vibrations.

    • Dottie says:

      I love the mirror! I have the same one for Betty Foy, purchased from Rivendell (called “German mirror” on their site). I can’t imagine how I ever rode in traffic without it. The mirror works so well, I usually don’t even need to shoulder check. A full review will have to be forthcoming, because I get this question a lot and need to spread the mirror love :)

  5. Anne Hawley says:

    I can now join you wholeheartedly in the Oma appreciation! I just completed my own first week of commuting on my new one (Eleanor Odette is her name–Eleanor O) and she is a sweet bike that does draw compliments and looks.

    I’m having less success with my mirror–the same one that you have, mounted in the same spot–so I’m looking forward to your review and maybe some more close-up photos of it and its positioning.

    Your film photos are gorgeous.

    • Dottie says:

      When I first put on the mirror, I couldn’t get it to stay put and it often flopped down when I hit a pothole. Dutch Bike Co. tightened it up when I took her in for a tune up – don’t know how they did it, but it’s perfect.

  6. E A says:

    I’m loving the bike love out there! :-) Good to see Oma out enjoying the warmer weather after surviving winter.

  7. k - says:

    I’m loving your Diana Mini… I’ve got a Lomo, plus a regular Diana (Maxi?), but it must be nice to not have to get 120 film. I might have to add a mini to my plastic camera stable. It’d be cheaper than me getting your Oma, which I also covet!

  8. Nancy says:

    I stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago and enjoy it a lot. Once everyone is out of school, I’ll start commuting too.Your pictures are fantastic. I gather many of them are shot on a traditional SLR. How do you get them converted to digital format so quickly?

    • Dottie says:

      Thank you. I’ve been taking my film to Wolf Camera for one-hour development onto a CD. What I really want is a negative scanner like this one. I’d save money in the long run and have more control over my prints.

      • bongobike says:

        I know you like “old-style” stuff, and I like much of it myself. Still, we must admit that some modern technology simply beats the pants off the old stuff. Hence my utter amazement when I see folks going back to things like vinyl records and film. Unless you are trying to do something that is simply impossible to achieve with digital photography (hard to believe), then why bother with this obsolete technology? Please don’t tell me some people still use carbon paper and onion skin on their manual typewriters, and make copies with mimeograph machines! :-) Not trying to be mean, just, really, why?

        • Dave says:

          bongobike: Actually, there are a lot of reasons for this, speaking personally for myself. Film cameras and the photos they take offer a very different aesthetic feel than their digital children. In fact, many film cameras do actually do things which digital cameras do not, and for a photographer, the goal is not always the most pristine image, but rather something that expresses a particular feeling or captures light or color in an interesting way. Also, there are issues with digital sensors that just don’t exist with a simple exposing film to light camera.

          Regarding vinyl records, they actually have a greater possible dynamic range than normal CDs, and therefore, if the recording is good, they actually can sound better in an objective sense. There again is the aesthetic differences – much of why I prefer to read a real book rather than an electronic copy – I like to handle the book, feel the pages, smell it – all of that applies to vinyl records as well. It’s a totally different aesthetic experience than clicking buttons on an iPod.

          • bongobike says:

            Dave, I don’t think there is any photo effect that you can’t reproduce with a digital camera and photoshop–pretty much anything is possible.

            As far as vinyl records, I have been a music fan all my life, semi-audiophile (could never afford to be a full-fledged one ;-) ) I had more than a thousand albums (rock, classical, jazz, you name it). I listen to my well-cared for records of yesterday and compare them to newly released CD versions and there is simply no comparison. Vinyl sounds flat (except for the pops and crackles, ha!) CDs have come a long way since they came out. In the early days of CDs you could find vinyl LPs that sounded better than CDs, but even then these were only the best recordings on the finest vinyl, played using an excellent cartridge. The only reason I can think of for using all this old technology is nostalgia, period.

        • Dottie says:

          Interesting conversation going on over here. I can understand your point of view. I guess it depends on personal preference. Taking pictures is a hobby for me that I enjoy. I don’t understand why I would try to copy the look of a lomographic image on my computer when I could simply go out and take a real one. And basically what Dave said :)

  9. JOdycb says:

    I would love to add a dutch bike to my collection someday. If I ever moved to the city it would be my number one choice.

    Also I’ve been meaning to comment and say I love the retro look of the film camera photos. It’s hard to believe that film alone could already embody a retro feel. It makes me feel old.

  10. Lorenza says:

    I saw an Oma in Manchester city centre today and thought of you! (I hadn’t seen an Oma here yet!!) x

  11. Lia says:

    We are having a beautiful spring day here in Seattle, and I can’t wait to take my Oma out for a ride! I have a question, Dottie, and apologies if you’ve already written it up–I couldn’t find it through search.

    What’s the basket/rack combo, and where did it come from? I had a rear wire basket from Rivendell that I put on the back of my Oma, and it wound up scraping off some paint so now I’m leery. I would love to have a setup like yours, if you don’t mind me copping your style!

  12. Dave says:

    We always get comments about our Raleighs when we’re out and about as well. This weekend we were sitting outside at a coffee shop and our bikes were parked in the racks on the street right out front, and a guy was asking people sitting outside if the bikes were theirs, and once he found us, he was asking us all kinds of questions about them, where we found them, etc :)

    I’ll have to look into whether the photo place I’ve been taking my film to get it developed will put the photos on a CD for me, though I’ve also been thinking about getting a film or small photo scanner to get digital versions of them. If you get a film scanner and you really like it, let me know :)

  13. Dave says:

    @bongobike: Since I guess I can’t reply up there, I’ll reply here. As I said above, the aesthetic experience is greatly different, and I think that holds a lot of weight for some people, myself included. I like to interact with objects, I like things that feel weighty and substantial, and I like mechanical objects. That all lends itself to my liking things like steel bicycles, film cameras, and vinyl records/turntables. It’s not nostalgia, it’s just that I get enjoyment out of interacting with those things.

    Personally, I don’t want to be a Photoshop expert, I want to be a photographer. I do use Photoshop on a regular basis for work, but not for editing my photos. I don’t want to have to take photos with the Photoshop work I’ll have to do later in mind, that is just not how I want to take photos, even with a digital camera. There are probably hundreds of different types of film cameras that all produce different types of images, use different types of film, and that would be next to impossible to replicate in any other way.

    So, that’s all just to say, there are plenty of reasons for wanting to use old stuff. Not everyone has the end goal of crisp, bright, noiseless photos and perfectly pristine digital audio. Sometimes people just simply prefer other things, completely apart from nostalgia. Sometimes people just prefer the process of doing things the long way (developing film or putting on and flipping records or making cheese or sauerkraut from scratch, to use a food analogy). Just because I *could* get sauerkraut in a jar doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy making it myself (which I do).

    Just saying, while they may not be applicable to you, personally (and that’s completely fine), there are a lot of reasons why a person might choose to use “antiquated” technology.

    • k - says:

      Here-here, Dave. I find that the more I shoot digital (which I must for work), the more I find myself gravitating back to the joys of analogue film… It’s only partially nostalgia; there’s also the surprise and the unexpected, and the magic is so much more tactile, alchemical. (And if you have access to a darkroom to make your own prints? – oooboy!)

  14. Daniella says:

    I would love to know how you get your Diana Mini film developed! Because when I tell them it’s 35mm but square shots, everyone says their automatic machines can’t develop that without cutting off the photo…. what do you do? I’d really appreciate your reply!

    • Dottie says:

      Hi Daniella,

      When I drop off my Diana Mini film, I don’t tell them anything. It’s never a problem because the square shot is actually smaller than the regular 35 mm frame. When I take it to the camera shop (Wolf Camera) they know what they’re doing and center the frame, so there are two black bars on each side. Once when I took it to Walgreens, the frame was all the way to the left with all the black area on the right. I prefer to cut off all black sides, anyway, so it doesn’t matter either way. Hope this helps.

      Love your blog!

      • Daniella says:

        Oh my goodness! Thank you so much… I haven’t used it in months because I was told i’d have to get it specially developed… so silly of me! I have a roll from apple picking last October! lol… i’m going to get it developed tomorrow for sure.

        Thanks again! Glad you like my blog too!

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