Beautiful Bicycles: De Fietsfabriek Oma

I recently test rode the De Fietsfabriek Oma for three days and thirty miles. De Fietsfabriek is a Dutch bike company and the U.S. distributor is a lovely shop along my daily commute route, owned and run by Jon Lind. (A great interview with Jon is here.)

This is the first bicycle I have tested that matches the quality of my WorkCycles Azor Oma and has features that I wish my Oma had. In fact, my Oma has now been slightly altered to incorporate one of the De Fietsfabriek’s accessories – more on that later.

I’m not saying that this bike is a rival for my love, but I wouldn’t kick her out of bed for eating crackers.

Before I begin to discuss all of the components, I must point out the design touches that make this bike extra special. As shown below (the “FF” stands for “Fietsfabriek”) lettering can be die cast into the frame, between the top and bottom tubes. You can choose to spell your name or anything else you want. Now I totally want “Dottie” on my Oma!

Another way to personalize this bike is the frame color. While most bikes come in only black or black plus a couple of other colors, this bike comes in over 40 different colors – including pink. Granted, black matches everything, but a splash of color would be fun. The steel frame is powder coated for durability.

Now on to the substance. An important factor when considering a city bike is how it handles cargo – anything from your briefcase to a case of beer. The integrated rear and front racks on this bike hold a substantial amount of cargo. The matching color and clever design make them as elegant as they are practical. There is a padded cushion you can buy for carrying passengers on the rear rack. Pictured below is a De Fietsfabriek plastic crate on the front and my own Basil pannier on the rear.

The padded and sprung saddle was pretty comfortable, but I would swap it out for a Brooks B67 for sure.  Then again, I am a Brooks freak.

The pedals are the bee’s knees. These metal pedals with rubber inserts are simply amazing. In fact, after my test ride I immediately got these pedals for my own Oma, the only alteration I’ve ever made to her.

What’s so great about these pedals? They make it possible to ride in any shoes, no matter how challenging. I was able to ride in two pairs of shoes that I usually don’t ride in due to slippage: 4-inch Prada pumps (pedaled 20 miles on Saturday) and 4-inch Marc Jacobs mary janes (pedaled 8 miles on Sunday). The pedal-sole connection always felt perfectly stable.

The braking system is another super star.  A combination of coaster brakes and a front drum brake is perfection.  The coaster brakes are in the rear and you engage them by pedaling backward.  This means you can stop without any hands on the handlebars, very useful for signaling turns or talking on a cell phone (I kid!).  The drum brake is in the front and you engage it by squeezing a handbrake.  The drum brake is surprisingly powerful, but should not be used as the main brake.  Rather, I used the coaster brakes for most of the stopping power and engaged the roller brake at the very end, so I could stop pedaling backward and set the pedals in the “power position” with the right pedal at 2 o’clock.  This allowed me to start up again easily.  Now I really, really want coaster brakes on my Oma, but that would be a pretty expensive project and I already have a perfectly adequate set-up of front and rear roller brakes.

While the braking system shines, the SRAM 5-speed internal hub gearing system would not work for me in the long term. Throughout all of my riding time, I stayed in 5th gear (i.e. the hardest gear). Even in Chicago’s tough headwinds, I rode in 5th and often wished for more power. Most likely I would need this bike with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub, which is what I have on my Oma. This is definitely possible, but I’m not sure what the cost would be.

That said, I think this is a problem most people would not encounter. My legs are hardened due to riding Oma so much and I often prefer to feel a bit of burn. For a lot of people, the SRAM 5-speed hub would be preferable, especially for anyone in a more hilly area or anyone who totes kids or cargo. This is the same hub that’s on the Pashley Princess Sovereign and many other bikes. SRAM is headquartered in Chicago.

Moving on to some smaller but important features, the integrated wheel lock provides extra security or low-level security when you’re popping in a shop to buy cupcakes. The lock here is on the front wheel but there’s also room to add one on the back. These wheel locks can be purchased separately.

The 28 inch wheels have Schwalbe tires – the best.  I’ve never gotten a flat on either of my bikes since using Schwalbe tires for the past 1.5 years (knock on wood!).

The sturdy two-footed, center-mounted kickstand holds the bike up no matter what. This is the same kickstand I have on my Oma and it’s the heavyweight champion of the world – or at least my garage. A sturdy kickstand is especially helpful while loading and unloading.

The bike is equipped with integrated front and rear lights, which are essential for safe daily riding.  The lights are battery-powered LED, not hub-generated (i.e. not pedal powered).  A lot of well-designed city bikes don’t come with generator lights and I don’t know why.  Although LED batteries last a long time, not having to worry about batteries at all is a huge benefit of generator lights, which I prefer.

There are several components that work together to keep your clothes clean and safe. The chain guard will prevent your clothes from getting dirty, greasy or eaten by the chain. Again the design shines here with color, cut-outs and die cast lettering. Note that the guard does not completely enclose the chain.  I can’t decide if this is a plus or a minus.  On one hand, it’s easier to get to the chain for maintenance and reminds you that the chain actually has to be maintained (something I’m in denial about).  On the other hand, more grit and salt can latch onto the chain, making for tedious clean up.

The skirt guard will prevent your skirt or coat from getting caught in the wheel spokes while riding. Since most skirts and coats are not voluminous enough to worry about, I find these skirt guards most helpful for any packages or sweaters you may bungee to the rear rack. This guard is made of the same vinyl-like material as the guard on my Oma, which has held up perfectly over time.

Fenders, fenders, fenders. So important to keep yourself clean. These ones are full coverage and match the frame color.

How is the ride? Wheeeeee! Fun. Extremely smooth. Pothole soothing. Easy to pedal, despite the weight. Regal. The feel was very similar to my Oma. I could not say that one is better than the other in that regard. The handlebars on the De Fietsfabriek are a bit less swept back and further away, but I was still able to sit straight up. The frame size I rode was probably a bit small for me compared to my Oma, but it did not actually feel too small, so maybe not.

The bottom line: the De Fietsfabriek Oma is an exceptional bike with a high quality build and unique design details. Major standouts include the braking system and utilitarian built-in accessories. Potential “could do betters” are the lighting system and the gear ratio. However, the gearing may be preferable to some, especially anyone who lives in a more hilly area or who plans to carry cargo.

While there are many similarities to my WorkCycles Oma, there are also major differences. Anyone interested in purchasing a bike like this should consider all of the options carefully based on his or her own preferences.

In the U.S. the sole distributor is De Fietsfabriek in Chicago. They ship all over. For other countries, check out the main company website. De Fietsfabriek also makes many other city bikes and cargo bikes.

Questions? I’ll try my best to answer them.

{As always, we at LGRAB receive nothing for our reviews except the joy of spreading beautiful bike love.}

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74 thoughts on “Beautiful Bicycles: De Fietsfabriek Oma

  1. Laura says:

    Hi you guys!
    I stumbled upon your blog via de Dress your best challenge and I think your blog is so cute!
    Why?
    Because I live in Holland and the Dutch actually don’t look upon biking a passion, it’s just what you do from the age you’ve learned how to walk!
    I really enjoy seeing how much love your metal steeds are getting, though, since here they don’t get that much TLC.
    Keep riding!
    Love, Laura

    • Dottie says:

      Hi Laura, great to hear from someone living in Holland. We’re working on making bicycling such a natural part of life in the U.S. but … long way to go.

  2. Frits B says:

    Nice review. Still: please remember that the Fietsfabriek Oma as ridden is far from standard.
    – All Dutch bikes can be had in color, at a price. Standard colors for De Fietsfabriek are glossy or matt black, and army green. Anything else is up to the US distributor.
    – This Oma normally comes as a single speed model. The SRAM hub is an expensive extra; as an alternative, even shaft drive is available which eliminates the need of a chain guard.
    – A rear coaster brake is more or less standard on Dutch city bikes, for the reason you mention: it frees a hand. Coaster brakes are foot operated so you won’t find them up front, for obvious reasons. At the front, this Fietsfabriek Oma doesn’t have a roller brake but a drum brake; be wary of long or steep hills. Your Azor does have cooling fins for a reason.
    – Battery lights only is so irresponsible on an everyday bike …
    – And any owner would be well advised to move the lock to the rear wheel. Remember what car keys can do to your knees in case of an accident, and why they are usually out of harm’s way nowadays?
    Apart from these niggles this is a good bike. But don’t do away with your Azor Oma yet.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      “- Battery lights only is so irresponsible on an everyday bike…”

      eeeehhhh, that makes me uncomfortable. Less than ideal? Absolutely. Poor design and/or cost cutting measure. Arguably yes, but to say that 99.9999% of all everyday bicycles in the Americas are “irresponsible” is a tad overstated. I have 2 fresh AAA’s stuffed into my patch kit. Somehow I manage to function responsibly everyday without a generator.

      • David says:

        I didn’t know there was an alternative to battery powered bike lights. There are still generator powered lights on bikes? My memories of those (many years ago), are they were bulky, and pretty dim.

        • dukiebiddle says:

          You’re thinking bottle generators, which rub up against the tire. Hub generators are much more efficient, low resistance and combined with LED lights, super bright. They’re also REALLY expensive, especially the good ones. They’re common on modern European city bikes, but in North America definitely a rare up-market item.

          • David says:

            Oh, I see, Googled them. Cost more than my bike by the time I got everything. Pretty neat though.
            Now that it’s spring/summer, I rarely need lights for commuting anymore. I’m good with my rechargeable batteries.

        • cycler says:

          DB- Perhaps he meant environmentally irresponsible to waste disposable batteries? If you use rechargables, obviously not an issue.

          Some of the brightest lights available these days are the dynamo driven LED’s like the Supernova and Edeluxe.
          Almost all have “standlight” function that keeps them running for a couple of minutes after you stop.

          Plus you never have to remember to turn them on (or off).
          The drag is so slight that I leave mine on as “running lights” all the time, but you can get “senso” options that turn on automatically when it’s dark.

          • dukiebiddle says:

            This is definitely off-thread, but if environmental groups want to improve battery disposal practices, they’ve really got to get on the municipalities to provide practicable battery disposal options for citizenry. Appealing to the better angels of populations won’t do anything. I just checked my city’s Dept. of Sanitation website for battery disposal information and came up with absolutely nothing other than to drive(?!) to the city dump. Ridiculous.

          • Frits B says:

            Nothing to do with the environment, but in Holland where I live bikes are used for transport which for a large part of year means riding in the dark. It’s only logical to have your own generator on board then, so that is what most bikes here have. The general type used to be the bottle generator (still widely available for cheaper bikes) but good bikes now all have hub generators. That said, there are still lots of bikes with battery lights, even if mostly for the rear lights only.

    • Dottie says:

      You’re right, drum not roller brake. I made the change.

  3. john says:

    Unrelated question. I live in Chicago and recently bought a Rivendell. Dottie, I’m curious how comfortable you feel locking up your betty foy? I love the bike but am constantly paranoid. I am debating whether to get pitlock skewers and some sort of hefty u-lock-chain combo as a substitute for my current worn u-lock (that worked fine for my previous bike). What do you use to lock your bike?

    Also, are those rapha town gloves?

    • Dottie says:

      Hi John, I’m also very paranoid locking up my Betty Foy around town. Usually if I know I’ll be locking up for a long time, I ride my Dutch bike. I use the huge and heavy Abus chain lock. It’s a pain to carry around, but I don’t feel secure using only a u-lock.

      I’m tempted to buy the even heftier $170 Abus chain lock, but haven’t gone that far (yet).

  4. Zweiradler says:

    Great review!
    I wonder why they made the rear fender so short. That’s totally un-Dutch, if you ask me.

    Nico

  5. jerry says:

    Nice review. Couple of questions. Why do both bikes have “Oma” in their name. Does that mean women’s — which would not really make sense because plenty of men ride step through frames in Europe for errands and commutes.

    I think the 8 speed hub is probably a better option for these city bikes in places where there might be wind or hills. More gear choices for tough riding condition and more gear choices for blissful tailwinds and downhills.

    Jerry

    • Frits B says:

      Oma means Granny in Dutch (and Opa for the diamond version is Gramps). It’s a generic name for loop frames now. And don’t ask me to explain further – I’m past 70 myself.

      • donna says:

        Do any of you Pashley PS owners find it hard on your knees? I recently got one and no matter how many seat adjustments I make my knees are really sore from riding it. I didn’t experience knee pain of any kind on my previous bike which was an Electra Townie. I am 5′ 6.5″ and chose the 20″ frame. I love my PS dearly but not at the expense of my knees.

        • Lorenza says:

          Hi Donna! I ride a Pashley PS, it’s a 20” and I’m 5’3” ;) big I know but I love it. She is heavy, but I have never experienced sore/painful knees as such. Although my legs had to become stronger (I’ve had my Pashley a year now), at first they used to seize up for a while lol! I have my seat as high as possible, I only tip toe on the ground when I am stopped, so that when I pedal I have my legs nearly fully extended. Also try and pedal with the ball of your feet, it applies a lot less pressure on your knees and also you get less tired… lastly try a lower/softer gear. At the beginning I was permanently on 2nd and 3rd (I have few inclines round here) now I am mostly in 4th sometime 3rd ;) Hope this helps!

          ah! last tip, when I set off from traffic lights I am always in 3rd, in 4th Pashley is far too heavy and if I do forget it in 4th I have to push really hard to get it going and that’s the only time that my knees hurts… let me know if it’s any better ;)

          • donnarino says:

            Lorenza, I’m usually in 3rd gear unless I’m going uphill when I switch to 2 if I’m tired. I have my seat as high up and far back as possible. I was surprise at how hard the Pashley is on my knees because my Townie is not a very light bike either and it is not as upright. I think perhaps the Pashley is making me use different leg muscles. Also, when I ride my Townie the pedals seem to be situated more in front of me (if that makes sense) whereas I feel on the Pashley that they are not in the same place. I test rode it several times before I purchased it so this has me kinda bummed. Maybe I should have gone with the 22″ since I have long legs but I felt like I was swimming in that frame.

            • Lorenza says:

              few people told me that I should be riding a 17”, but I feel the 20” is perfect for me. I have a dodgy knee and had physiotherapy for a while before it got better, but if else my Pashley has worked wonders on me.

              So perhaps you’re right about the 22” for you? Do you know if you could ‘borrow’ or rent the 22” for a bit a try it out in our daily commute or errands? If you feel the 22” is better, than could you swap your 20” if you haven’t had it for too long?

              I got my Pashley from a lady that she too found it heavy on her knees, that’s why really my Pashley is technically bigger than what I should ride ;) it was a bit of a serendipity moment and I just went for it ;)… But if you have bought it from a bike shop I’d go back and talk to them, I am sure they’ll be happy to help :D sorry my tips weren’t much use…

            • Tinker says:

              The Electra Townie boasts about its FEET FORWARD riding position for a reason. The geometry of the bottom bracket is very different. You’ll get used to it.

              If your saddle is sprung, you may be lifting your self a bit with each revolution. Try an unsprung saddle.

            • neighbourtease says:

              Hi Donna,

              I ride a Pashley PS, too, and I haven’t experienced any pain riding it. I am wondering if maybe your frame is a bit too small for you. If your knees are knocking in a bit when you pedal (like in a pigeon toed way but with knees that could be causing your knee pain. If your saddle is all the way up, I think you could need a larger frame. I agree with Lorenza that it might be good to try the 22 inch and see how it feels.

              Lorenza, I am also 5’3″ and selling my 17 inch Pashley to get the 20 inch (or a Retrovelo Paula, I don’t know!) so I think these bikes are often “supposed to” fit people of certain height when in fact it’s all about leg length. I recently sold an old Raleigh sports and a MTB on craigslist and tons of women who are taller than me came over and found both bikes too big. Shorter legs than me on taller girls! I also think finding a bike too big is common when people confront upright geometry for the first time — they can end up on a too small bike because we’re all used to the more aggressive geometry of road bikes and mountain bikes.

            • Jennifer says:

              I too am small (5’2″), have a Pashley PS size 17 inch, and feel it’s just a bit too cramped. It never occurred to me for a minute when buying it that the next size may be better for me so I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the 20 inch version would have suited me better.

            • Lorenza says:

              @neighbourtease and Jennifer, it’s great to hear I am not mad that I love riding my 20 inch frame… it’s usually men friends that tell me I should be on a 17”… max! they add lol! I just smile eheh! I am sure if I had a road bike, a fixie or a mountain bike I’d have all different size of frames. Tinker is right, the geometry of bikes differ ;)

            • dukiebiddle says:

              Donna, the knee problem seems to indicate that the your seat is too low. Like you said, you have the seat post fully extended, but the 22″ frame felt too big…

              Perhaps you can find a longer seat-post and make the bike fit perfectly! I’m presuming such a seat-post exists, but I’m not sure. Your bike shop should be able to tell you. :)

    • Dottie says:

      Good point about the benefit of having a wider gear range for downhills.

  6. genevieve says:

    i love this thorough review of such a gorgeous bike! just a note though, the Pashley PS actually comes with a 5-speed Sturmey Archer hub, not the SRAM that this one does. no idea how the gearing compares since i’ve never ridden a bike with the SRAM hub…however, from your photo it looks like the *front* hub on this bike is a SA one – i wonder why?

  7. Laura says:

    Me again.
    @Jerry
    In Holland we’ve come to know that type of bicycle as “Oma” (= Grandma)bikes.
    They are highly fashionable for men and women and you see scores of teenboys riding around on them here…

  8. dukiebiddle says:

    I don’t think the 5 speed hub is the problem coping with your Lance Armstrong-like superlegs. :) I’m guessing the bicycle has a bigger cog intended for the weak-legged. Replacing the cog with a smaller one is an affordable and simple solution for the stronger cyclist.

    • Scott says:

      Yes, this would be an easy and cheap way to make the gearing higher. It looks like there is a large cog on there, so getting a smaller one should be no problem.

      • Tinker says:

        The chain case is probable the reason why Dottie didn’t think of just changing the rear gearing, but the 8 speed would have wider gearing all the same, About $200 to buy an 8 speed hub with coaster brake, on Amazon Plus whatever your local cost to put a wheel together.

        I have a way-too-low gear on my Torker Cargo T, but the chain protection means I can’t count the teeth easily, so I have not made the (quite inexpensive) change as yet. When I start up, I just pause momentarily in 2nd, and move right up to 3rd even up the hill from the mailboxes, at my apartment complex (who designs these places, anyway!).

        No, I am neither in shape, nor do I have super legs, both of which I will claim for Dottie, If I may.

        Just a WAY low gear on a three speed Shimano.

        From external examination, how would you distinguish the difference between a drum brake, and a roller brake?

        Another reason for not putting a generator hub on a bike, is it can be a complex choice, and restrict your choices for brakes. Have you seen a drum/roller brake with a generator hub, ever? (I’m not saying there are none, but I have never seem one, which makes me doubt their existence)

        Which would you rather have, a roller (or Drum) brake, or no batteries needed for your lights? LED light make the choice (mostly) moot, in any case. A good choice for battery free lights is REELight. You can add them to your bike in 15 minutes. But your drum brake may affect even that, as will the 5/8 speed hub.

        I like the Torker Cargo T brake arrangement, but I fear the selection of generator hubs is a problem,
        and certainly, you will have to pedal furiously, to get anywhere. (Call my bike JEHU?) The Cargo T seems to have been made/designed with the bottle generator in mind.

        • Trisha says:

          Tinker, I know v little about the ramifications of a dynamo hub but I do know that my Batavus has a front one (battery lights in back) and roller brakes. . . So I guess it’s possible.

          • Tinker says:

            Since the Torker cargo T is derived from a Batavus Personal Transport, it should be possible to get one, then. But I’d sooner have the 8 Speed internal gear hub, it makes a real difference to riding. And there is a shop in Portland, that converts the Cargo T to an 8 speed IGH.

            I have found the Braking system to be pretty much ideal, with the front brake lever controlling the Roller hub, and mounted at the right grip, and the rear coaster brake controlled by the pedals. Feels very familiar to an old motorcyclist.

    • Dottie says:

      Meh, I like my theory ;)

  9. K6-III says:

    Don’t count the Sram 5-speed hub out just because the gearing was too low. You can always change the rear sprocket (smaller) to get the gears you want.

  10. Vee says:

    great review- I love that bike!!!

    I have the SRAM 5 on my Sorte and it is great for cargo but I often want a 6 or 7 when going down hill. But it’s good for up hill.

    Now I want a sweet bike with my name on it.

  11. cycler says:

    Like K6 III said- it’s not a matter of how many speeds as the basic sprocket size. It’s like playing a scale on a piano. You have the same range( 5 speeds, 8 notes), but you can transpose it to a lower octave, a higher octave, or another key.
    I would bet that the spread from highest to lowest gear on the 5 speed is the same as the spread from highest to lowest on the 8 speed, you just get more subtle variations, which I (and my knees) appreciate.

  12. Margo says:

    This bike has become my new lust object! Sigh– why are all of these Dutch bikes only to be had in Chicago??

    How heavy is the FF Oma compared to yours?

    • Dottie says:

      They seem to weigh the same. Heavy, but they carry their weight well.

      Come visit Chicago and I’ll give you the Dutch bike tour :)

      • Maggie says:

        I’ll be in Chicago in August and plan to visit the Dutch bike shops. Logistically in what order should I visit the shops?

        BTW, a few shops are carrying Dutch bikes here in L.A. The best is Flying Pigeon LA. http://flyingpigeon-la.com/

  13. David says:

    Dottie, that was a very good review. You should get compensation some day if you keep this up. You’re tempting me to get on one those Dutch bikes. If I only had a more “city” type of commute.

    A lot of the feature on that bike rock, and those Dutch bikes are cool looking. If only I was in Amsterdam, high on that killer pot they have, riding around on my dutch bike…….

    Oh, I’m awake now. Back to reality……..

  14. Scott says:

    Good tip on the pedals, Dottie. My Oma pedals from ’07 are really showing wear, and I want to replace them. I have looked for the rubber MKS pedals at a few local shops, but no one has them. I think I will give these a try instead.

  15. Lorenza says:

    I love love the bright turquoise! One would definitely be noted in the traffic then lol! I like how the Oma looks a tough/sturdy bike yet so very elegant ;) x

    • Catherine says:

      Did you say “passenger”? That’s the magic word to me these days. I am constantly finding myself out somewhere (point A) with my bike and then wanting to move somewhere else (point B) with a friend (usually my cousin). My rear rack can’t handle the weight of a person, and I’ve got a basket back there anyway. It’s frustrating.

      I asked my bike shop folks if we could import a stronger one and swap it out and while they said that they’d be happy to do it, it just won’t work on my bike because of Electra’s unique shape and the way in which the rack would have to be attached etc.

      If this thing can take a person (and the existence of a pillow for the purpose leads me to believe that it can), I think I may be close to sold.

      • Dottie says:

        I keep saying that I need to learn how to ride a passenger on my rear rack. This bike could take a passenger, that’s what the padded bench is for and I see all those passenger pictures on Amsterdamize. Same with my Oma, except there’s no padded bench that I’m aware of. I would contact the shop to get specifics on weight limits and such. Usually the official weight limit is lower than what these racks are actually capable of carrying.

    • Dottie says:

      Yes, that’s a lovely way to describe the appeal.

  16. lilymargaret says:

    I LOVE my oma from De Fietsfabriek, it’s such a great bike to ride around Amsterdam. Basically, I love, love, love everything about this bike and the company. I’m so glad that the bike lifestyle is spreading more across the States.

    • Dottie says:

      Hi Lily, very cool to hear from someone riding a De Fietsfabriek in Amsterdam. Thanks for letting us know!

      p.s. Your blog is great – looks like you’re having a blast over there. :)

      • lilymargaret says:

        Thanks, glad you liked my blog! It’s great here in Amsterdam and I grew up biking in Chicago as a kid so its cool to find your blog, I will definitely keep up with it! If/when I come back to the States I’ll probably head back to Chicago with my yellow oma fiets. :)

  17. Thanks for the detailed write-up. I love the olive green colour that is one of their standard options! And I agree with you that a coaster brake + front drum brake is the best combination for the city. It looks like both the front and the rear rack are integrated here, which is great for those who carry a lot of cargo – though for me personally this design would be overkill and I prefer not to have anything large in front of my handlebars. Oh, and I will have to look into those pedals for some of my slippery shoes, great find!

    • Scott says:

      I also love the front hand brake / rear coaster brake. It makes it so much easier to ride if you are using one hand to, for example, carry flowers to give to your lady.

  18. Christa says:

    Hello beautiful bicycle! Another bike to add to my want list.

  19. jjfantastic says:

    those are the pedals i need on the xtracycle (and maybe the sweetpea!) where’d you get them? what kind are they?

    • Dottie says:

      I know, I’m thinking of getting some for my Betty Foy.

      The pedals are made by a company called Dimension. You can order them by contacting De Fietsfabriek (the Chicago shop). Not sure where else they’re available.

      • jjfantastic says:

        Thanks Dottie! I found ‘em on Amazon. There’s also a slightly different model that I’m curious about but I’ll try these first :)

  20. Step-Through says:

    Wow, they’re sold in the US?!? I visited the De Fietsfabriek shop in Amsterdam last year and fell head over heels for them. Do you know if they are selling many bikes here?

  21. Tinker says:

    I want that MILK CRATE. The usual Sterilite milk crate is flimsy, insubstantial (it bends when you put a bungee net on it), The only place I have seen to buy a real, substantial crate is Duluth Trading Company, $14.50 each or $25 for 2. (Amazon lists them, but its an external web site.)

    • dukiebiddle says:

      The ones I get from the back of restaurants (after asking first) are quite sturdy and free. Some don’t ask. I won’t judge. ;)

  22. Milo says:

    Hi Dottie!,

    Love the blog – all these new and old ways to do a bike brought back in beautifully attractive packages. Sometimes though it all makes me feel very old. Growing up in Ireland it was common to see three on a bike (I have photos to prove it)! I’ve carried more than one girlfriend sitting side-saddle on the top tube/cross bar. I’d aim at parked cars like a kamikaze pilot then measure her protests: “maybe you’re a soprano instead of an alto. Oops!” All our bikes were single speeds. Like the Dutch, bikes were for getting around, though sophisticated people rode three-speeds and looked away as we screamed past.

    I know what you mean about locking up your Betty Foy. Downtown in Denver, Co, I would get mildly paranoid about my lovely lugged and brazed old French racer. My solution was an old, gnarled rusty-looking Stella 10-speed, converted to a 3-speed with coaster brake and new, discreet wheelset. The bike was large, almost too big for me – really big bikes are stolen less often than ‘typical’ sized bikes. I learned to do what Mikael in Copenhagen wrote about: righthand on the bars with a finger to the trigger, coaster brake at my feet, my left hand holding a friend’s bike, freewheeling for repairs to the LBS.
    This was my townbike. I fitted a very tall Nitto stem and wide and deep racing drops. These bars were high enough and near enough to give an almost upright riding position; the drops were for headwinds, not speed. Thieves declined to steal it, the bike looked too odd (are their tastes improving?); men in lycra looked away when we passed in the street.

    Personally I’m fascinated by 3-speeds, precisely because you need to know what you need, and what you don’t. KC III and Cycler (above) are right: hub gears are not widely known in the US, having the shop fit a larger or smaller rear sprocket moves the range down or up, but the gaps between gears do not change. I suspect many people get 3-speeds all wrong. I gear low. In airplane terms 1st gear is like a propellor spinning very fast to get a stationary airplane (you and your bike) moving; 2nd is like cruise-climbing – you’re legs are still spinning but not so fast now as you’re going forward and uphill; 3rd is when you level off and accelerate on the flat to a comfortable and efficient cruise. In the state of Colorado you generally do not need gears to come down (mountains, Virginia).
    There is an argument for keeping it light and simple. Dervla Murphy rode a 3-speed touring bike from Ireland to India in 6 months and wrote it up in a book called ‘Full Tilt.’

    Dottie please keep these wonderful blogs coming!

    Milo.

  23. Gina says:

    Goddammit! Another generous bike I can’t afford! alkdflajsdligufdgah!!!!

  24. Susanne says:

    Another comment from the Netherlands. I love your blog & red dress. The dress I ordered from Mata. They were very helpfull because it was impossible to buy it from Ebay, they did it for me! Great Servcice. I think I’m the only one with this great dress in the Netherlands. I will write a post about it and make a link to your site, if that’s okay.

    And yes, riding a bicycle is as normal as walking for us. But it is still the best thing to do for me after all these years of cycling in sun, rain, wind etc. It just makes you feel incredibly happy!

    Grtz,

    Susanne

  25. Shannon says:

    Who is the pedal manufacturer/where can I order them from… based on your fantastic review, I’m now dying to track them down! Thanks so much :-)

  26. jasonrepko says:

    Great tip on the pedals Dottie. They are made by Dimension (PD1063 is the model). I bought some here:

    http://harriscyclery.net/product/dimension-curved-cruiser-pedal-with-grip-and-reflectors-sku-pd1063-qc49.htm

    They also carry the rubber MKS2000 pedals that Scott mentions above.

  27. eva says:

    Your reviews are so thorough..i feels like i was test riding the bike!

    I wonder how it handles on hills?

  28. Dottie says:

    Thanks. I can’t say how it handles on hills, but it performed well in the headwind. I probably would not want to ride a heavy Dutch bike around a hilly area, though.

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