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Well, boys and girls, I am now the proud owner of a Dutch Workcycles Omafiets. (Oma=Grandma, fiets=bicycle. It's a granny bike!)

When I bought Clyde, my Specialized Globe "Carmel" cruiser, back in August, people said things like, "When you upgrade..." and "Oh, I can't wait to see what kind of bike you decide on next!" and I said, "I ain't buyin' no more bikes! Clyde is my bike 4-evah!"

Ha ha ha ha.

Actually, I knew I'd upgrade eventually. I just thought I'd wait a whole year. So, why buy a new bike? And why now?

  • Clyde was built for the buy-it-and-put-it-in-the-garage consumer*, so daily commuting has aged him about five years in six months.

  • Clyde is not truly up to my weight--if I carry heavy groceries, his poor spokes are taxed.

  • I really wanted better gearing. Clyde is pretty clunky that way.

  • A step-through (aka "girl's") configuration in a 61 cm (big-tall-Dutchman) size? How could I not?**

  • Oma From the Left
  • My commute several months of the year is in the dark, and I wanted the hub-dynamo lights that run off pedal power*** instead of having to change out batteries all the time.

  • The more I've ridden, the more I've wanted to differentiate myself absolutely from more sportif riders. This was pretty obvious visually, but the Omafiets really seals the deal.

  • I love the completely enclosed, low-maintenance chain. I was tired of the grease.

  • I wanted a bike that's not a fix-it-yourselfer. I'm a take-it-to-the-shop type of person.

  • Oma From the Right

*This, apparently, is the fate of 80% of all bikes sold in the US. I was astonished. Don't ask me why.

**Assumptions about men, women and size are apparently different in the Netherlands than here

***The Clever Cycles guy said that with the lights on, the generator hub requires the same excess pedal power as if gaining six feet over a mile, or something like that. Not nothing, but no big deal if you're not hurrying.

I went and got her from Clever Cycles at lunchtime today, and rode her home tonight. She feels very civilized and dignified. I might have to name her Eleanor.

(Cross-posted to [community profile] bicycles)

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
woo!!! she looks awesome!!
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
Isn't she pretty? I rode to the hair salon and got a nice new cut, and then rode home feeling very breezy.
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
Ooo. I have bicycle envy. Do they make/sell tricycles over here?
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
There's a related line of cargo-type bikes that are actually trikes, I think, but I haven't seen any three-wheelers just for regular one person transportation.

Have you seen them in operation in Europe?

Apr. 14th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
I was a little disturbed when I read you bought an Oma--imagine my relief to find it was a bike.
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC)
Why Miz Roxy! Is an Oma something naughty? *leers*
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
commenting with world's sexiest icon
Even worse!! Oma means grandma! I thought maybe she'd taken up trafficking in elderly folks. tsk-tsk!

And say! Whatever makes you think I would have naughty thoughts? *tries real hard to look angelic*
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)
Re: commenting with world's sexiest icon
I like and approve of your icon!
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm getting that a lot! Hee!

In bike-speak it's pretty straightforward, but I should be a little more careful outside of bike-land.
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:08 am (UTC)
lol! I learn something new every day
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
I want that bike! I wish we had safer streets here so I could ride to work. The traffic is awful, and so many drivers here are in LA-LA land, or on their cell phones, and I'd end up as roadkill. If I had that bike, I'd buy a stuffed dog that looked like Toto and put him in my basket. Hope you have many wonderful rides on Eleanor! She's awesome!
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
My ringtone is the wicked witch theme from Wizard of Oz!

I wish you could ride too--you'd love it. I have a few memories of your neck of the woods, and it was a bit pedestrian-unfriendly, as I recall. Most places that don't have sidewalks are also no good for bikes.

It'll be a great day when we remember that the roads are for everyone.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, I dislike the trouser-leg arrangements required by the exposed chain. I've taken to tying a colored bandanna around the right ankle--I've got about ten different colors, to go with what I'm wearing--but it looks odd at best.

"Shopper" would be a good designation for this bike.
Apr. 14th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! So excited for you! Welcome to the club - it's very exclusive ;)

Seriously, those are all excellent reasons to buy a Dutch bike. My thought process was similar when considering whether to buy mine, with the additional reason of: "Pretty!"

Apr. 14th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yes! It is a very pretty bike. I rode to work in the cold sunshine this morning feeling wonderfully breezy. Even put together a nicer outfit than usual for the occasion!
Apr. 14th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
Go Ahead...Make "My Day"

Aquitaine or Roosevelt?
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Go Ahead...Make "My Day"
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you're going to love her, and vice versa :)

Just start using "omafiets" instead of "oma", and you should remove any potential confusion :)

You're going to love the rear frame lock too, putting that on my Raleigh has made such a difference, not having to find a place to carry a lock separately and worrying about forgetting it or losing the key or whatever.

Actually, apparently the Netherlands has the tallest height average of any country, so they should have large-framed bicycles for everyone :) I think they're trying to make up for the fact that half the country is below sea level :)

Apr. 14th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!
That was me again, I really need to stop posting anonymous comments. Sorry :D
Apr. 14th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!
I knew that from your reference to your Raleigh. :D
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!
Hee! I'm picturing tall Dutch men and women standing on the pedals, trying to peer over the top of the dikes. And yes, I don't think I've ever met a very short Netherlander.

Now I'm going to call the bike Eleanor, so the Oma confusion will go away.
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm having a grand time!
Apr. 15th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
That is the bike we should have bought for my mom! She wanted one like her old bike, and we bought a more sporty one.

Eleanor looks great, but I just wonder: why do you want to look different from the sporty cyclists?
Apr. 15th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Because I'm not a sporty cyclist. I'm a bike-rider chugging along to and from work. I own no spandex. I don't ride on weekends except to the grocery store.

American bike-riding is viewed as a sport and leisure activity, and not as transportation. That view helps fuel the American hatred of allocating resources to bike infrastructure: people feel like they're being asked to pay for the elite hobby of an athletic few.

I ride for transportation. I want that statement to be visually clear to every motorist who sees me on the street--and it doesn't hurt that Mr Sporty in his Spandex Shorts can tell at a glance to go around me. He's way less likely to be impatient with me if his entire expectation is set by the kind of bike I ride. Safer for all.
Apr. 17th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
She's adorable. And she definitely looks like an Eleanor to me.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )



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