Why Dutch Bikes are Better (and why you should want one)

this is our dutch bicycle it's an omafeetz literally grandma bicycle there is really nothing special about it at least here in the netherlands but in canada the us or many other countries this bike would be very unique indeed and bicycles like this one really surprised me the first time i visited the netherlands there's a good reason for this uniqueness in the netherlands bicycles are seen as a tool for everyday transportation a way to get from point a to point b quickly and efficiently in most other countries bicycles are used primarily for sport and exercise this one difference explains nearly everything special about a bike like this now it's not like this is the only kind of bicycle you'll see in the netherlands of course there are many others including e-bikes cargo bikes hand cycles and you'll definitely see road bikes used for sport too especially on weekends but for everyday urban transportation this style of bicycle is by far the most common so what makes this bicycle so different from what you might be used to well the primary difference is that this is an upright bicycle it's built to ride in an upright sitting position this is an inefficient position that will not transmit maximum power into the crank during a pedal stroke plus it's totally not aero but who cares what the upright position does provide is comfort the handlebars on this bicycle are high up and swept back making it extremely comfortable to ride on this kind of bicycle you almost pull up and back on the handlebars rather than putting any weight on them this is just a more comfortable way to sit on a bicycle and the design is very similar to the original safety bicycle developed in the uk in the late 19th century sitting upright also makes it easier to see what's going on around you which can be safer when cycling in busy urban environments with lots of other people around riding this way lets you wear any type of clothing you'd like because it's no different than sitting in a chair which is why you see most people in the netherlands dressed for the destination and not the ride this bicycle has a step through frame meaning that you can get on and off it very easily without having to swing your leg around like you do on a bike like this with a crossbar these frames are fine and you'll definitely see them here but i find them particularly annoying if you have a kid's seat because if you swing your leg up to get on you kick your kid in the head [Music] and i don't understand why we still call these men's bikes when it's the only kind you can hit your nuts on because step through frames are more comfortable to use they're increasingly popular for both men and women this is another thing that contributes to people wearing normal clothes when cycling and why you'll even see women wearing dresses and skirts speaking of skirts this thing is called a skirt guard or coat guard and it's quite common on dutch bicycles it prevents long articles of clothing from getting stuck in the spokes as you ride it also helps prevent a child sitting on the back from getting their foot stuck another thing to protect your clothing is the chain guard a plastic or metal cover over the bicycle chain it also helps to protect the chain from the elements making it last longer this thing here is called a frame log and almost every bicycle in the netherlands has one these are incredibly convenient for so many reasons but i've almost never seen them outside of the netherlands denmark in japan they are an easy way to lock the back wheel of your bicycle for quick stops which makes it really really easy to pop into a shop when riding somewhere the frame lock also keeps your key inside as you ride you can actually buy frame locks that don't do this but i really like the key retaining feature this is a small detail but it ensures that your bike keys are always with you that being said i have been known to accidentally hit the key with my leg and bend it like this oops also while there's a lot of space for the locking mechanism in the wheel i seem to hit the spoke far more often than you'd think i should have gone into neutrino research when this lock is engaged you can't ride the bicycle but you can of course just pick it up and walk away with it so if you want to ensure that your bike is still there when you return it's best to bring a chain lock with you as well and most people do if you see bikes locked only like this it's probably because the owner considers their bike too crappy to steal a slight variation on this is a frame lock with a chain lock integrated giving you two locks with one key interestingly u-locks by far the most common locks in north america are not seen very often in the netherlands probably because it's difficult to get close enough to something to lock to with so many other bicycles around another feature you'll see on almost every bicycle in the netherlands is both front and rear fenders this makes sense in a country where it rains all the time fenders are not considered an optional add-on here what's also included is a kickstand almost every bike comes with one over the fender you'll usually find a rear rack though some bikes have a rack on the front ultimately these bicycles are meant to be useful so having panniers at the back or a box on the front allows people to carry a surprisingly large amount of stuff no suv required rear racks in the netherlands are also built strong enough to carry another person which you see quite regularly but then everything on a dutch bicycle is heavy duty these aren't aluminium or carbon fiber frames they're made of solid steel these bikes are not built for speed they're built to last in general dutch bicycles are built to be low maintenance so when a bicycle has gears they're often internal hub gears like this one in-hub gearing is great because they almost never need maintenance this is very different from derailleurs which i find are constantly going out of alignment of course many bicycles including this one of ours don't have any gears at all you might also notice that this particular bike doesn't have any hand brakes either a lot of bikes here do have hand brakes but this one uses coaster brakes that you engage by cycling backwards this was fascinating to me because in canada you will never see brakes like this except on children's bikes they take some getting used to but i really prefer cycling like this as it feels so natural to pedal forward to speed up and pedal backwards to brake by not having any hand brakes or gears it keeps the bike simple and maintenance free it also avoids any cables that might accidentally get stuck on other bicycles when parking in tight places all of this is done to keep the bicycle in good working condition which is important when it's your primary mode of transportation the only problem we've ever had with this bicycle is the occasional flat tire and speaking of tires did you know they use a different tire valve here in the us and canada there are only ever two tire valves presta found on road bikes and schrader found on everything else here in the netherlands they use a blitz valve these valves have a little ball that prevents air from getting out they're really easy to work with in case you're curious you can just use a regular presta pump to fill these just pump it up to a high enough pressure and the valve will open automatically another thing you'll sometimes see on bicycles here is a dynamo these go in the wheel hub or on the wheel and generate enough electricity to power led lights these are pretty nice as you never need to worry about recharging batteries or forgetting your lights just another small thing that makes these bicycles simple for everyday use and lastly the bell on this bike makes a pleasant sound though you hardly ever need to use your bell here so it doesn't really matter when we were still living in canada we knew about upright dutch style bikes and tried for years to buy one but they were almost impossible to find this photo sums up the situation in canada a selection of bicycles supposedly for commuting with nothing but sporty hybrids and road bikes they don't even come with a rack fenders or kickstand maybe there are more bike shops with upright bicycles today but when we lived in toronto there was only one shop that sold them and the next closest was over 50 kilometers away here in amsterdam i can't swing a pair of clogs without hitting a dozen bicycle shops that sell functional practical bicycles bicycles that are designed for transportation not sport one group in winnipeg canada got so frustrated trying to find practical urban bicycles that they started importing new and used bicycles from the netherlands they call themselves the plane bicycle project and they're regularly receiving shipping containers full of bicycles from the netherlands so to my dutch viewers when you're finished with your bike please consider donating it to needy families in canada it's so great to have bicycles that aren't for sport bicycles whose primary function is to be there when you need it to carry your shopping or your friend and to be used with as little effort as possible no special gear or costume changes required this is a point that's often overlooked because while it's obviously important to have safe streets and cycling infrastructure it also makes a difference to have easy access to practical low-maintenance bicycles like this one living in amsterdam i know that when i need to go somewhere taking a bicycle will usually be the fastest and most convenient way to get there but it's also important to know that i won't have any problems either because of our old clunky rusty beat up comfortable reliable omafeeds i'd like to thank my supporters on patreon who pay me to talk about just bikes on not just bikes if you'd like to support this channel and get access to bonus videos visit patreon.com not just bikes you

pexels photo 3671151

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