Saturday 11 December 2010

A little piece of Amsterdam in Walthamstow

This afternoon, a little piece of Amsterdam visited Walthamstow. No, I'm not talking about the strange smell of "herbal" cigarettes one occasionally whiffs. I am talking about this.

When I parked my cycle near Sainsburys it was next to a wonderful Batavus "Old Dutch" cycle. Everything about the bicycle gives of an aura of casual elegance. Not a hint of lycra, hi-viz or polystyrene helmet about it. 

Whilst searching for a picture of the cycle, I even spotted a NY Times fashion article on them. Apparently they are the new "fixie" for the Gentleman about town, if I have managed to decode fashion hyperbole correctly. The article is actually from 2009, so I expect the fashion world has gone through the entire range of cycle types at least twice since then.

I really want one of these cycles. Unfortunately they are just simply too expensive for me to justify one. I need a cycle that I can leave around East London with a reasonable lock and have some expectation of it still being there when I return. And I have had my bicycle for so long now (nearly 20 years) that ditching it for another would feel like some kind of weird act of betrayal.


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    Very nice cheaper altenatives. Just need the front wheel swapping for a Sturmey dynamo/drum brake and you've got everything the batavus gives you for less money.

    or a second hand one from

  2. MrGrumpyCyclist, I too am a massive fan of sit up and beg, upright, hubbed up Dutch bikes. I figure cycling in London can at times already be such an uncomfortable experience that you don't need a poorly thought out bike choice to make it worse for you...

    If you're in the market for a Bat there's a guy at Broadway Market in Hackney on Saturday mornings who has a stall there who sells reconditioned 2nd hand Dutch bikes which he buys in bulk in Holland, ships over here and does up. You can get a great omafiets like the one in your picture for £150 to £200. Happy Shopping!

  3. Thank you for your comments.

    In the slush, my (very) old mountain bike both shows its quality and defects. Much on the cycle is nearly 20 years old and yet works just fine in these conditions with virtually no maintenance. Unfortunately it was originally a proper off-road mountain bike to which I have added panniers and so on. Unfortunately mud guards don't fit so well and therefore in this weather I come back from a trip to the shops as dirty as I used to when I took it off-road.

    In these circumstances I hanker after something as practical as these dutch bicycles.

    Ideally I would get the missus interested enough in cycling to buy her one of these cycles and then use it when conditions warrant. Unfortunately, not only does she seem resistant to the charms of cycling, but I really would struggle to accommodate 2 cycles in my house.