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My Dutch Bike

Transportation Thatís a Real Treat

Bike trends tend to come and go. One year itís a hybrid bike, next year itís a fixie. But one classic design that has lasted through the ages is the classic Dutch bike, the same kind you might see being pedaled through Amsterdamís canal-lined streets. Often discounted for their heavy frames, these practical and reliable bikes move many of the residents of the Dutch capital from point A to point B daily without a lot of fuss. Bikes are used there by everyone for everything, in any type of weather, in any type of clothing.

With every win of the bicycling advocacy group here in San Francisco such as the recent ruling to green-light a plan for 45 new bike paths in the city, more people choose to take up cycling as a form of daily transportation. But a lot of the time people still shy away from bikes as a way to get around because they think that they will get sweaty, mess up their clothes, and they wonít be able to carry the cargo they want to.

In the past, Dutch bikes may have seemed impractical on our hilly streets because of their weight and lack of gears, but now there is no excuse. My Dutch Bikes, which can be found online (www.mydutchbike.com), has opened a brick and mortar store in San Francisco. The store carries a selection of utilitarian bikes that can transport you and whatever cargo you desire, but are customized to meet the geographical challenges of the city with more gears, lighter frames and fatter tires. Currently the shop is located on Market between First and Second Streets and has very limited hours, but will be moving to a new location soon. If those hours donít work with your schedule, contact the shop for an appointment.

As mentioned, the bikes look like many of the bikes found in Amsterdam, but with some modifications. For example, the store carries bikes from Dutch manufacturer Azor that have commonly found Dutch bike features such as: fenders, mud flaps and skirt guards to keep you clean in any weather; plus a sealed chain case, ďrollerĒ drum style brakes and a halogen lamp. They also have an 8-speed rear hub for easy shifting, making for easier climbs on the hills.

Run by married couple Soraya Nasirian and Oscar Mulder, My Dutch Bike focuses on three types of bikes: Oma and Opafiets ($1599), long and short Bakfiets ($2899 and $2799 respectively), and the FR8 Transport ($2399). You can take all of them for a test ride in the store.

The Oma and Opafiets (ďGrandmaĒ and ďGrandpaĒ in Dutch) are very practical everyday bikes. The upright seating position of the bikes allow riders to sit comfortably, plus have flat pedals that will accommodate any shoe and also include a chainguard and a coat protector that will protect even your nicest work clothes.

The Bakfiets is a sturdy errand and utility bike. In addition to the similar comfortable ride of the Oma and Opafiets, the sturdy cargo hold of the Bakfiets can carry your groceries, dogs or kids. The FR8 is self explanatory. It will carry your freight on the front and/or back, be it animal, vegetable or mineral.

In this city, one essential thing for a cyclist, other than a helmet, is a reliable lock. A cool feature of these bikes is that the rear wheels include a rear wheel lock, though a secondary lock for the front and frame is always recommended just to be safe.

In addition, if you are looking for a specific Dutch bicycle, My Dutch bike can order it from their supplier WorkCycles, a specialist in quality utility bicycles for commercial, family and personal use, which carries bikes not only from Azor, which I mentioned above, but also Bakfiets.nl, De Redding, Monark, Nijland, Onderwater and more.

My Dutch Bike will ship your bike for free if you live within 30 miles of the city. If further, it will cost you. Contact the store for pricing.

As you can see, these bikes may be a lot more expensive than the average ones that might pass you on our city streets, but if you are looking at it as a way to save on gas, insurance and not pollute the air at the same time, itís a lot cheaper and cooler looking than a Prius.