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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Any retailers we’ve missed? Leave a tip for readers below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.