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Anyone Commute on a Dutch Style Bike?

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Anyone Commute on a Dutch Style Bike?

Old 06-27-19, 12:55 PM
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zeppinger
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Anyone Commute on a Dutch Style Bike?

I couldnt afford a real Dutch style commuter so I bought a Breezer Uptown 8 online for $450. I love not having to worry about grease on my pat legs or batteries in my lights. Just jump on and ride! I currently live in Chicago which means virtually no hills. I am thinking of upgrading to a Workcycles Secret Service which are available here locally. WorkCycles Secret Service Mens Bike

Its a big investment at about $1500-$1700 so I am wondering if I will regret it. I also worry a little about the steal frame in winter here as I ride year round and currently have an AL frame.

Thanks for advice!

Current ride
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Old 06-27-19, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Its a big investment at about $1500-$1700 so I am wondering if I will regret it.
You'll regret it if it gets stolen. Do you have secure parking for it?

I wouldn't commute on an a bike that expensive unless I had nice secure parking for it, inaccessible to general public.

edit: just noticed you're in Seoul. Maybe you don't have bike theft/vandalization problems there that we have here.
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Old 06-27-19, 01:33 PM
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Re: Anyone Commute on a Dutch Style Bike?

Thousands and thousands of Dutch people do.
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Old 06-27-19, 03:02 PM
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I have restored and own several Dutch bikes which I enjoy riding and sometimes commuting on. However, for your purposes in an urban environment there may be a cheaper option. The world's most popular VEHICLE is the Flying Pigeon bicycle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Pigeon). These are available relatively inexpensively and are quite durable. Although the PA-02 model is more of an English roadster, the PA-06 and PB-13 models are very Dutch-like. It's not a bike that I would be too afraid of riding in road salt or of it getting stolen.
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Old 06-27-19, 03:44 PM
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I have a mid 80s 3-speed step through Gazelle which I occasionally used as commuter bike and a 94 Euro style city/trekking bike which was my main commuter bike for years. But I don't ride both much anymore. Because of my rheumatoid arthritis I have switched to recumbents.
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Old 06-27-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Dutch bikes are heavy...so if you have to start and stop alot, you'll feel it. Just have to accelerate slower than you normal would compare to a 20 pound roadbike. It feels like a Cadillac.

The fully enclosed chaincase is the greatest thing on a Dutchbike. I never once lubed my chain. The dealer told me not to touch it unless it starts making noise. It is still super quiet. It is heavily greased from the factory. And it's been over 5 years and I leave the bike parked outside overnight 365.
Yes they are heavy. Mine is like a tank. Everything is made from steel including the fenders. And with 3 speeds it requires some good legs when going uphill. The enclosed chain guard is cool but a "pain in the rear" when you need to remove the rear wheel. Since the wheel slides in and out from the back you need to take the chain off the sprocket which requires to remove the chain guard first. Meaning fixing a flat does require some significant labor. At least on that old clunker I have. But I still like it. It looks kind of cool.
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Old 06-27-19, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
No one is importing the Flying Pigeon anymore.
Although the company and brand names may change and the design and components may be updated, more Chinese-made Dutch style bicycles are arguably being imported into the United States now than ever before. Any one of these bicycles could be an inexpensive way for the poster to give commuting on a Dutch style bicycle a try.


Oma Dutch Bicycle $328.96

Opa Dutch Bicycle $262.52
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Old 06-27-19, 09:45 PM
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Most of Amsterdam ? fly there, buy a used one, bring it back is an alternative..



'Breezer' gets replicas made for them, as replicas in the style of...

just ride the bike .... enjoy being Alive..






....

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Old 06-28-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I did commute on my Gazelle. Put close to 1000 miles on it, before I relegated it to grocery getting role.

My 12-mile round trip commute can be brutal on a Dutchbike, because you're sitting bolt-upright on windy days. So I lean forward against the wind, and my elbows are completely bent. My lower back gets sore and achy, if there are many windy days in a row. Dutch bikes are heavy...so if you have to start and stop alot, you'll feel it. Just have to accelerate slower than you normal would compare to a 20 pound roadbike. It feels like a Cadillac.
- One technique to lower wind drag is to fold your arms and lean on the handlebars, which is perfectly safe on a coaster brake.

- I doubt they are really harder work up to 20-25 km/h. The upright position also influences which muscles are used and which aren't. For me it all comes from the thighs and buttocks, which are relatively well developped and quite anaerobic. I don't waste energy on upper body movement and spinning a lot, I ride in 3rd gear all the time, execpt the first yards after a stop, a few hills here (no, the Dutch city I live in isn't entirely flat) and head wind over 4 Beaufort. 4 Beaufort is normal wind here. I can average 20 km/h that way without breaking a sweat.

I don't believe it's as much the bike's weight, which is little part of the overall weight, but the rotation of the heavy steel wheels that help it keep momentum once up to speed with small inclines or gusts of wind. The weight works both ways, but if you work against it is going to be hard work. Accellerate slow and keep a steady pace. The geometry also helps going in a straight line, which is of course the most efficient. I've had a light hybrid with flat bars and it certainly felt faster, but not less hard work for the same speed.

The fully enclosed chaincase is the greatest thing on a Dutchbike. I never once lubed my chain. The dealer told me not to touch it unless it starts making noise. It is still super quiet. It is heavily greased from the factory. And it's been over 5 years and I leave the bike parked outside overnight 365.
I don't know all the different types of fully enclosed chaincases, but usually you can open a tiny bit and lube the chain by turning the pedals. But it doesn't need be done often because the oil stays on it and keeps doing it's work quite long.

There is quite a bit of rust inside the frame tubings. But these things are so overbuilt, that I think it would take many more years of living outside to kill it.
I know pre WWII bikes for Indonesia got a special tropics treatment on the inside of the tubing, but this wasn't necessary at all for the Dutch climate.

There is a US company that sells a cheaper Dutch bike...I think it is the Azor 3-spd...for under a grand.
https://www.amsterdam-bicycle.com/pr...gory/bicycles/

Personally I think, Dutch bikes are over priced. I think it has something to do with Euro tariffs that keep Chinese bikes out of Europe. Because Euro have no real competition, they jack up their prices. The consumer suffers.
Azor is manufactering the bikes for Workcycles to, they are obsessed with durability. They can last a 100 years and on that website they are only slightly more expensive on that website than in the Netherlands. Azors are an excellent deal here, they are in about the same price range as Gazelle and Batavus but much better build and often better thought through. They are handbuild, in the Netherlands, and usually made to order fully customized through a LBS. They can get very expensive with Rohloffs and wooden fenders and stuff but they don't cut corners on quality with the reasonably priced.

The company's philosophy was to build bikes again like they used to be, very robust, very reliable and very durable, which the main Dutch brands forgot about somewhere in the 80's. A modern Gazelle Tour Populair, the classic model, is overpriced and especially in the US. But around a 1000 dollars for a bike that your grandchildren can use is not overpriced. That's how it got the name 'oma'-bike, in the 80's after decades of sportier models girls started using the pre WWII bikes and 50's bikes from grandma's (oma) house after she stopped cycling or passed away (in the Netherlands there's usually not much time in between). Probably because they were reliable and gave them a more elegant posture, the boys soon followed because the geomotry suits a manly nonchalant posture too. And not giving a **** about your bike is cool too, so old and 'it was just laying around' was perfect.

Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
Yes they are heavy. Mine is like a tank. Everything is made from steel including the fenders. And with 3 speeds it requires some good legs when going uphill. The enclosed chain guard is cool but a "pain in the rear" when you need to remove the rear wheel. Since the wheel slides in and out from the back you need to take the chain off the sprocket which requires to remove the chain guard first. Meaning fixing a flat does require some significant labor. At least on that old clunker I have. But I still like it. It looks kind of cool.
You don't need to take the wheel out to fix a flat. You don't even need to take the wheel out to change the tyres, there's a tool for it that spreads the stay enough to pull the tyres through after you've undone the wheel at the opposite side of the chain case.

Especially the cloth chaincases aren't suited for taking apart a lot, especially when it's not done with a lot of care. If you don't take it of very carefully it will not go on as tight as it was, and when it's not tight it will start wearing out.

To answer TS question. Yes I commute on a Dutch style bike, a Dutch bike in fact. It's 1978 Gazelle Impala with rod operated drum brakes and SA 3-speed. I bought it a few years ago for a 100 euro's, it was unrestored, pretty much untouched even allthough the front wheel was trued off centre, with marks of a big blow to the rim. The tyres looked original but where worn and it was clearly used quite a lot and not stored inside all the time. I rode it 30 km home without an issue and didn't do any work on it other than changing it to battery lights, a better O-lock and retruing the wheel until the (Sturmey Archer) drum brake broke last year. The chaincase had to come off, for the first time appearently, repaired a cut in it with some tape and saddle stitched the cloth back on it's rubber fitting. Part of the metal frame of the chaincase was rusted, but nothing to worry about. The rear rack has rust on it, probably because of a load that scratched the paint deeply, but it will still carry an adult. That's a proper Dutch bike.

I'll probably sell it on or give it away soon, because I'm going to make an offer for another 70's Gazelle. It's 66 cm instead of this 65, it's a bit more upright and 'less sporty', and it's a shade green instead of brown which I like better.
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Old 06-28-19, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Dutch "style" dont feel the same.

To get the authentic style feeling, it should be:
  • very heavy
  • lugged steel frame
  • bolt up right posture
  • full chain case
  • 635mm wheel
  • metal fenders
  • rear rack strong
  • very slack seat post angle
  • very slack headtube angle
My DL-1 ticks all those boxes except it's 26" balloon, and I commuted a lot on it.
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Old 06-28-19, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
My DL-1 ticks all those boxes except it's 26" balloon, and I commuted a lot on it.
My authentic Gazelle, Batavus, and Union Dutch bikes all ride identically to these Chinese made bikes. The geometry and ergonomics are completely interchangeable. If I lived in urban Chicago, I would buy one of these cheap modern Flying Pigeon bikes for the rigors of all weather commuting and save my "Made in Holland" bikes for fair weather pleasure rides.
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Old 06-29-19, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
My DL-1 ticks all those boxes except it's 26" balloon, and I commuted a lot on it.
Not surprising, as the Dutch bike has been a British design from the start. The iconic 'oma' is a British design from 1904 and the Roadster with the SA 3 speed has been a hit since the 20's, mostly Dutch made. The Dutch additions are probably the leather and vinyl (?) full chancases and selling them fully fitted, they are probably called Dutch because the British gave up on them. Maybe they are bit more practical, a bit more reliable and a quite a bit more durable. Rust proofing and low mechanical drag is what they have traditionally been advertised for. Single speeds with coaster brakes and drum brakes for the luxury and sportier models are probably more Dutch.

There have been Dutch designs that weren't English, that usually meant more tubing and more rigidity. Many different types of cross frames and double top tubes, weight has never really been an issue. They have made a bit of a come back lately, partly because of retro appeal but also because the Dutch are getting taller which makes rigidity count.
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Old 06-29-19, 08:48 PM
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I was looking at Dutch bikes for commuting and decided against it for now. They look practical and beautiful. I'd love to own one and ride it through a postcard from Holland. Would it suit an American automotive-hellscape commute? Maybe?

I value high reliability with low maintenance and the Dutch bikes (and other European town bikes, eg. Pashley) seem to have this all sewn up with their drum brakes and IGHs. I don't mind oiling a chain or patching a tube now and then, but I don't love tearing my caliper brakes and derailers down every year to clean out the winter's grime. Put that stuff in a sealed hub. Sounds great!

So why not buy one? Three reasons, for now anyway:

1. High price in US

2. Sparse availability makes it tough to try before you buy

3. I rode a Gazelle oma bike. Its upright geometry resists standing up on it. Sometimes you need to stand up, to use the knees as a suspension on bumps. Right? Now maybe an opafiets or roadster geometry, a bit less upright, would work better. I'd still like to ride one and find out.

Instead I'm having a shop build a front wheel around a Sturmey drum brake and dyno hub for the daily driver '70s Schwinn Suburban. The stock Schwinn is a mix of awesome and awful. It has a great saddle, very good geometry and ergonomics. Lousy caliper brakes, and the OEM driveline is hot garbage. If the drum brake works well, I'll cold-set the rear dropouts and build another wheel around a modern IGH. The soul of a new machine.

Last edited by jpc2001; 06-30-19 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 06-30-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jpc2001 View Post
I was looking at Dutch bikes for commuting and decided against it for now. They look practical and beautiful. I'd love to own one and ride it through a postcard from Holland. Would it suit an American automotive-hellscape commute? Maybe?

I value high reliability with low maintenance and the Dutch bikes (and other European town bikes, eg. Pashley) seem to have this all sewn up with their drum brakes and IGHs. I don't mind oiling a chain or patching a tube now and then, but I don't love tearing my caliper brakes and derailers down every year to clean out the winter's grime. Put that stuff in a sealed hub. Sounds great!

So why not buy one? Three reasons, for now anyway:

1. High price in US

2. Sparse availability makes it tough to try before you buy

3. I rode a Gazelle oma bike. Its upright geometry resists standing up on it. Sometimes you need to stand up, to use the knees as a suspension on bumps. Right? Now maybe an opafiets or roadster geometry, a bit less upright, would work better. I'd still like to ride one and find out.

Instead I'm having a shop build a front wheel around a Sturmey drum brake and dyno hub for the daily driver '70s Schwinn Suburban. The stock Schwinn is a mix of awesome and awful. It has a great saddle, very good geometry and ergonomics. Lousy caliper brakes, and the OEM driveline is hot garbage. If the drum brake works well, I'll cold-set the rear dropouts and build another wheel around a modern IGH. The soul of a new machine.
You can also do what I did - get a production frame that is IGH friendly (Soma has some!).

Last edited by jade408; 07-04-19 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 07-01-19, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
- One technique to lower wind drag is to fold your arms and lean on the handlebars, which is perfectly safe on a coaster brake.
That is not entirely true; of course you have no problem applying the brake, but in case of an emergency braking your elbows would slide forward, off the handlebar. That's not to say this method can't be used at all though.
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Old 07-01-19, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
My DL-1 ticks all those boxes except it's 26" balloon, and I commuted a lot on it.
The extra weight comes from the use of gas pipe. At least that’s what I heard somewhere. The high density pipe is great for accelerating downhill.
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Old 07-01-19, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The extra weight comes from the use of gas pipe. At least that’s what I heard somewhere. The high density pipe is great for accelerating downhill.
I didn't like the weight at first - then realized this bike was intended to ride at no more than 15-20kph. At such speeds it's OK.
Moreover, the rod brakes on steel rims are weak when dry and almost non existent when wet, so one has to adjust speed and braking distance accordingly.
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Old 07-01-19, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post


You don't need to take the wheel out to fix a flat. You don't even need to take the wheel out to change the tyres, there's a tool for it that spreads the stay enough to pull the tyres through after you've undone the wheel at the opposite side of the chain case.
Thanks. I was not aware of that and need to look into that. That would make life a bit easier.
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Old 07-01-19, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
The beauty is that the bike does not require a lot of fuzz. Really great for people not really into bikes.
I think it's circular. They're great for people who are so into bikes that they're not really into bikes.
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Old 07-02-19, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
Thanks. I was not aware of that and need to look into that. That would make life a bit easier.
The professionals and the well equipped use one of these:

You put the tyre inside the beak and then put the ends around the axle between hub and stay. For the others there a these:


You have to put it through the spokes and it takes a bit more care because the tyre is not shielded from sharp bits like the axle and the ends might damage the chaincase.

I think both are not fit for aluminum frames, just because aluminum doesn't flex well. I don't use one much, a tyre change is not something I do regularly and on the occasion it might be a good idea to take the whole thing apart and do other work too. But for patching a flat, the only nuts I undo is the one that holds the valve in the rim and the one that closes the valve.

Originally Posted by well biked View Post
I think it's circular. They're great for people who are so into bikes that they're not really into bikes.
I think beeing into bikes has little to do with it. If you're into bikes that are practical for riding in normal clothes they are great. People who are really not into bikes often don't bother to have it repaired and exchange it for a simple open chain guard.

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Old 07-02-19, 08:20 AM
  #21  
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Always wanted to own one of these, though I'd think the two major inclines on my way home from work would make it not a practical commuter in my case. I did not know the Dutch chain case was actually non-metallic bodied; what's the deal with that? Are the metallic / plastic ones an English thing?

Has anyone ever made these out of lighter frame materials, such as titanium or aluminum? Or even higher grade steel that can be butted? Seems like you could still have considerable hauling strength on those for less weight, though I suppose they'd cease to be "bomb proof".
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Old 07-02-19, 11:12 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
Always wanted to own one of these, though I'd think the two major inclines on my way home from work would make it not a practical commuter in my case. I did not know the Dutch chain case was actually non-metallic bodied; what's the deal with that? Are the metallic / plastic ones an English thing?
I don't know exactly, but I believe the classic English steel chaincase was an oil bath to protect the chain. Somewhere in the 20's chain technology changed and could do with much less oil, so they didn't need to hold oil but just had to keep the water and dirt out. I've always wondered why enclosing the chain had to be that complicated with it beeing quite vulnerable too, but the modern plastic ones don't seem to last longer, on the contrary, I see a lot of them with a corner missing.

Has anyone ever made these out of lighter frame materials, such as titanium or aluminum? Or even higher grade steel that can be butted? Seems like you could still have considerable hauling strength on those for less weight, though I suppose they'd cease to be "bomb proof".
Most new bikes here are aluminium. But aluminium works better with wider tubing and that fits into the fashion of very sturdy looking bikes with fatter tyres, often an extra top tube and racks up front and on the rear. So in the end the weight loss is little, from about 23 kg to 18 kg.

I don't know. I think bike weight is overrated but not irrelevant outside flat lands. I don't care because it's only a small part of the total weight, weight only part of the total effort and depending on the steepness, and because weight works the other way around too, but the inclines are short here, so I get the reward very soon after the effort. So I guess it depends on the length and steepness of the inclines, you could put the extra kilo's on your current bike and try.
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Old 07-02-19, 12:47 PM
  #23  
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Bike weight is an issue for some people. Not necessarily for riding but if you have to carry a bike up stairs or lift into bike rack or up on car rack the weight can be issue. My wife ditched her Gazelle because of the weight.
But these type bikes are ultra rare here anyhow where we live. If people are cycling they only do it for sport reasons. Either road cycling on a fast light sleek road bike or they take a mountain bike on a trail. And a heavy bike won't work for that.
Hardly anyone commutes or shops by bike. I think I am the only in my city of 300,000 people who goes grocery shopping by bike. I never see any other bikes at the grocery stores. This is what you have 2 ton SUVs and Pickup Trucks here in Texas.
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Old 07-02-19, 04:15 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I think beeing into bikes has little to do with it. If you're into bikes that are practical for riding in normal clothes they are great. People who are really not into bikes often don't bother to have it repaired and exchange it for a simple open chain guard.
Admittedly, I was trying to be clever with that response. What I was trying to say was that, usually, when we think of someone being "into" something, whatever that something is, we're referring to a recreational/enthusiast/hobbyist sort of thing. And then there are those who utilize that same thing as a true way of life that is so ingrained in them from a very young age, so part of their culture, that they hardly think of it in any way except as an integral part of their life, in a practical kind of way. They are not "into" it as we usually use that term, instead it is simply part of their life and it always has been. That's how I imagine the vast majority of Dutch style bicycle riders think of bicycles and riding them. I might be wrong about that, but that's how I have imagined it, and it has always impressed me.
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Old 07-02-19, 08:30 PM
  #25  
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I heard there are "sausage" tubes than can be replaced without taking the wheel off, but never seen them in use.
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