Going Dutch for a bike ride around London

We’ve already covered the best road bikes for men, for women and folding bikes. However, we’ve yet to cover Dutch style bikes.

You’ll have already seen plenty of Dutch style bikes or city bikes around London, in the form of Boris Bikes.  You’ll generally find a few features in the bikes that make them ideal for short journeys around town:

Relaxed and upright position

Generally, the rider is in an upright position, the bike is very stable and doesn’t have the twitchy spirit of a road racing bike. Handlebars are often angled back towards the rider, meaning there is no need for bending forwards, and thus less pressure is placed on the lower back.


Not all Dutch bikes have a chain guard, but many do – this is a covering over the chain, which prevents muck from getting in, and stops skirts and trousers getting caught up, too.


Generally, if you’re making short trips at a leisurely pace across the city, you are unlikely to have spare clothes with you – so mudguards are a standard requirement in case of wet conditions or grime on the roads.

Luggage carriers or a basket

Going shopping? No problem – you’ll often get a rear rack or basket with your bike.

Dynamo/automatic light

If your trip happens to be to the pub, and it gets dark whilst you’re there, there will be no need to faff around attaching lights if your bike has a hub powered dynamo or automatic light as standard.

Hub gear

A hub gear cuts down on maintenance, as the moving parts are enclosed. It can mean that in the case of a puncture, the wheel is harder to remove.

Drawbacks of Going Dutch

Of course, a Dutch bike is wonderful for across town rides, but they are generally fairly heavy, without many gears. Though I’ve seen a Dutch bike on a sportive, they aren’t great companions for sporty riding, any riding that involves tackling hills (unless you’re after extra resistance), and the changing a puncture on a hub gear bike does mean you’ll need to carry a spanner.

Where to get a Dutch Bike in London

Dutch bikes are popular in London – they’re practical for city riding, very stable, they feel safe, and can look a bit trendy.

Here are some of the dealers we rate:

Fred’s bikes


A fairly new addition to the London market, Fred’s was born over a bowl of noodles in Bermondsey. They’re now up and running, selling a Gentleman’s version, and a Ladies’ version, at £260 fully assembled, or £240 90% assembled. They’ll deliver anywhere within the M25.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 17.18.20 Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 17.18.28

The bikes have V-Brakes, are singlespeed, and weigh 18kg. You get a chrome bell, leather grips, and reflectors. Of course, there are plenty more accessories available, and from £262 you can go for the ‘Fred Astaire’ and add lights, a basket and more.

Heavens Cycles


If you’re after a bargain, you might be able to find your new ride at Heavens Cycles, at Broadway Markey in Hackney.

Heavens sell second hand bikes, and Dutch bikes very from £150 to £350. You can see a range of what’s available at the market on Saturday, or check out the website and arrange an appointment to see the full selection at the workshop.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 17.35.48

Bobbin Bicycles


Bobbin established their first ‘bicycle boutique’ in 2007, and they’re now a major brand. Bikes are beautifully styled, available in a rainbow of colours, and patterns (leopard print and all) and they’re a high quality option.

The brand is owned by a husband and wife team, who are based in Shoreditch, and there are a great many dealers in London.

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Any retailers we’ve missed? Leave a tip for readers below.

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18 Responses to Going Dutch for a bike ride around London

  1. Alan Moore 24/09/2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Popiel Cycles in Crystal Palace do a great line-up of Gazelles and are hoping to do Batavus and others soon too.

    • Andreas 24/09/2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Thanks Alan, appreciate the addition!

  2. Lloyd 24/09/2014 at 4:48 pm #

    I bought my Gazelle Toer Populaire from Compton Cycles.

    It’s the archetype Dutch bike – perfect for London and such a comfy ride.

  3. MJ Ray 25/09/2014 at 8:28 am #

    As anyone who grew up with 3speeds probably knows, you can patch punctures without removing the wheel. I’m sure there must be YouTube videos of the method. Or worst case, carry a puncture foam canister.

  4. Cyclist Kabir 25/09/2014 at 6:02 pm #

    I’m professional biker from Italy. Almost 16 member in our team. We’ve just covered the best road bikes for men, recently. Will try to make it next year. Thanks for sharing.

    Cyclist Kabir

  5. Vincent 26/09/2014 at 12:58 am #

    > Chainguard

    > Hub gear

    You can use a belt-drive instead of a chain, and do away with…
    1. chainguard
    2. maintenance
    3. noise.


    If you need a lot of speeds, buy an Alfine 11 or a Rohloff internal gear hub (14 speeds).

    • Tony D 26/09/2014 at 12:23 pm #

      At long last, someone else who promotes belt bikes. We’re a rare breed but for an almost maintenance free commuter bike, the belt is great

      • Robert Mayers 30/09/2014 at 7:37 am #

        Belt drive does require a specially built frame though.

        I’m definitely interested in them though. Do you have any supplier/frame suggestions?

  6. Jesper 26/09/2014 at 9:35 am #

    Thank you for the article. The upright style bike “ready to ride” is a great way to get around for short trips and even for medium length commutes. For most people 3, 5 or 7 speeds are usually enough, and there are certainly many would-be bike commuters that could do without the maintenance, oil stains and wet stripes up the back, and as mentioned, it is quite possible to fix a puncture without getting the wheel off.

    We actually started importing Danish bicycles at the beginning of the year, as we found the selection of upright and urban bikes on offer quite limited. Our showroom is in Royal Tunbridge Wells, but we ship all over the UK. We would love to hear with your comments and request.


  7. Monico 26/09/2014 at 10:51 am #

    I’m from Holland and I brought my dutch bike to London when I lived there. It was great. I never took the bus or underground again! I had a basket in front for shopping and was able to go wherever I wanted. Many people asked me where I got my bike from and if it was sale. Good business??? Hahaha. Glad to read that the Dutch bikes are becoming popular in London now!

  8. David Cohen 26/09/2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Actually a skirt guard is something you omitted, and this is different than a chain guard, which you reference in the article:



  9. Floyd 26/09/2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Another great Dutch bike shop just down the road from Look Mum No Hands is The Bicycle Man. I bought my Vanmoof bike from them.


  10. Matt 27/09/2014 at 11:39 am #

    Got mine online from http://www.dutchie.co.uk/ – good value and I’ve been very happy with the bike.

    Can I make a plea for mudguards to be standard kit for anyone commuting in town in winter, whether or not you have spare clothes with you? It’s not just you that gets wet if you don’t have them – it’s everyone behind you.

  11. Phil 29/09/2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I’d love a belt drive, but they are too expensive.

  12. Olufemi 01/10/2014 at 11:24 pm #


  13. Derek 05/10/2014 at 12:45 pm #

    “Olufemi 01/10/2014 at 11:24 pm #

    The Pashley Roadster is actually a copy of the old Raleigh Superbe!

    The machines we call “Dutch Bikes” are actually based on the old English roadster bicycles which we originally exported TO Holland.

    What goes around comes around eh?

  14. Becky 10/10/2014 at 3:09 pm #

    I was going to say Pashley too! I love mine, even if she is a hefty thing – luckily it’s only 13km a day to work and back.

  15. Ben Brook 09/12/2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I’m selling my dutch bike!

    A right bargain to be had

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