All about cycling in the Netherlands

Two Dutch everyday bicycles

At request I show here my two bicycles that most my movies were filmed from.

To anyone from the Netherlands these two standard every day upright utility bikes couldn’t be more ordinary. But to the rest of the world they might be interesting enough to give them a closer look.

In Utrecht I have a 10 year old British “Raleigh” because that was 3 kilos lighter than the standard Dutch bike at the time I bought it. In Utrecht I have to lift my bicycle twice a day, off and on the bicycle rack in the underground bicycle parking facility at Utrecht Central Station. That was the reason to go British. It is a good bike, only some parts are a bit too light compared to the Dutch bikes (fenders), but that weight had to be saved somewhere of course. Only the saddle was replaced in those 10 years.

In ‘s-Hertogenbosch (a.k.a. Den Bosch) I have a second hand 25 year old bicycle of the Dutch brand “Batavus”. Some parts were replaced in those 25 years. Like the dynamo, the bell, the saddle and very recently the coat guards. It has some wear and rusty spots, but it was used almost every day in the last 18 years that I own it. It saw the bicycle repair shop about 5 times in all those years. And I cannot do any maintenance myself.

My bicycles (one in my hometown and one in the city I work)

7 comments on “Two Dutch everyday bicycles

  1. Robert
    12 September 2015

    It would be a good thing to list the things that are not obvious right way. There are actually two locks on each of those bicycles. The S’Hertogenbosch one had a cable and the Utrecht one had a U-lock. But when he focused on the rear triangle, you could if you were paying attention, or used these locks before, see the wheel locks that makes locking a bicycle very convenient. The gearing system is enclosed, as is the braking system. Bicycles in the Netherlands have an array of gearing systems, some with none at all and some with 14 hub gears and the wheel-runners with perhaps more than 30 derailleurs, but those can seize up badly. I personally have had a bad experience with those types of gears but the cost of retrofitting it to my own bicycle is too much for me. If I get enough money to afford them, I might get some hub gears of my own and a chaincase to match. For now, I have a type that keeps my clothes clean, but nothing else. I did take off the front gear though to improve it somewhat and left only one gear ring out of the former 3. Mark has hub brakes too. They are enclosed and not dependent on the conditions or weather or objects in the brake system. He has lever gear shifters and it looks like he has back pedal shifters. It makes it hard for him to use back pedal and gears on a bicycle, like what was tried on an OV Fiets bike. He didn’t like that bike. He has handle brakes rather than back pedal brakes, both of which are common styles. The rear light is battery powered or not, but his front lights are powered with a dynamo. Those spokes are thicker than most. They are built for endurance. These features and many others, the saddle, the comfortable handlebars, the enclosed chain, they make it so that even if you use it twice a day, almost every day of every week, each year, it will not be in need of replacement for decades, as the 30 year old S’Hertogenbosch Bratavus proves. You may need some replacement parts, like the dynamo, the coat guards, the fenders, but it is still very reliable and having to see a repair shop just 5 times in 18 years of constant use is remarkable to most people who do not have a culture where these bicycles do not dominate, but is very ordinary to Mark and the Dutch. I suspect that he has not replaced the 30 year old one because he wants one that does not look too flashy and is more likely to get stolen.

  2. Robert
    17 April 2015

    I wonder what the people who passed by you were thinking. ” Waarom is die kerel filmt een van de meest gewone bezienswaardigheden in het land, wanneer het wordt helemaal niets doen op dit moment? ” Perhaps?

  3. Quirinus
    25 November 2014

    My expectation was, that you would have some or at least one highly sophisticated bicycle like a Brompton, a KOGA or something like that. On the other hand, I suppose you are confident with the ones you have.

    • bicycledutch
      25 November 2014

      Well these bikes are normal bikes in this country. But you may be pleased to know that I did exchange the Raleigh for a Gazelle in 2013. I should make a new video about that bicycle perhaps.

      • Quirinus
        25 November 2014

        I live in Germany, but I was born and grown up in Holland. I had several old “Opafietsen” in the period I went to school there. :-)

  4. legocyclist
    15 April 2013

    The Dutch are brilliant at coming up with ideas to reduce maintenance like the fully enclosed chain guard and the roller brakes. I’ve only tried roller brakes once and wasn’t that impressed with the stopping power, but if you haven’t got any serious downhill sections then I suppose it isn’t really a problem!

    • Paul Martin
      2 May 2013

      The problem with many rollerbrakes is that they’re often not set up correctly when first given to a customer, particularly in countries where bikes with rollerbrakes or hub brakes are a rarity.

      My rollerbrakes are as good as rim brakes but of course they still work as well when wet and there is practically no maintenance required.

      I’ve had friends complain about their rollerbrakes and I had discovered that the cable tension was far too loose. A quick adjustment had them able to lock their wheels if they needed to.

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This entry was posted on 22 January 2010 by in Video post and tagged , , .

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