Step On Through To The Other Side

Firstly, I’d like to introduce you to a new sponsor, whose banner you’ll see over there in the right-hand margin, or at the bottom of the page if you’re on a mobile device, or as a tattoo on your forearm if you’re using that new brain implant thing:

The name says it all…used Dutch bikes, like this one:

Actually, that’s not true, it doesn’t say it all; they also have new Dutch bikes, like this one:

And they even have accessories.

Keep in mind these are real Dutch bikes, not the stylized ones certain companies sell to Americans that have derailleurs and exposed chains and rim brakes and stuff. Real Dutch bikes are not only comfortable and practical, but can live outside day after day and year after year with little or no maintenance. The video on their site sums it up nicely:

Helmetless psychopaths.

Anyway, I’m grateful for their sponsorship, and I also have a deep appreciation for the Dutch approach to bicycling as transportation, so much so that I even wrote a book about it. So if you’re in the market for a proper Dutch bike and have been frustrated by the near-total lack of availability here in the Land of the Specialized and the Home of the Trek, now you’ve got a source. I should also note that, as someone who has portaged children by bicycle for many years, the video is exactly right, step-thrus are best for any bike that carries cargo, especially if that cargo is human, since otherwise you wind up karate-kicking your kid in the face:

By the way, Dutch/practical/utility/whatever-you-want-to-call-it riding and recreational/fun/sporting/whatever-you-want-to-call it riding are by no means mutually exclusive in terms of bicycle design. Consider the Platypus (the bike, not the actual freakish creature), which marries step-thru practicality with an adventurous spirit, and which I use for everything from singletrack to errand-running:

Everyone should have at least one step-thru, they are fantastic.

Consider also the Jones LWB:

Which Jeff Jones modeled in part after a Flying Pigeon or something:

Yes, it’s not technically a Dutch bike, but it’s the same idea. Anyway, both Jeff Jones and Grant Petersen use non-racy things like dropped top tubes and long wheelbases and bars with sweep to great effect, and once they indoctrinate you into their respective cults you come to understand how the upright position can work beautifully across the entire cycling spectrum. In fact there’s an argument that if you have a Dutch bike and a Jones you’ll never ever need another bicycle…though I’m not gonna make that argument, because I’m completely incapable of limiting myself to a small number of bicycles.

Moving on, the subject of yesterday’s post was the Discover Hudson Valley ride. Well, it may interest you to know that the person with whom I made the promotional video for said ride–acclaimed cycling filmmaker Terry Barentsen–is currently riding across the country and livestreaming the whole thing…and if that interests you then you may also be interested in his bike setup:

I’ll never ride around the country, I only sleep in beds indoors, and I’ll never be able to operate a piece of electronic recording equipment more sophisticated than an iPhone, but that’s pretty amazing. Anyway, just a little something for the Tech Freds who are tired of my blathering on about the virtues of friction shifters and eschewing anything electronic. You’re welcome.

Oh, and yes, he’s doing it in sandals:

It’s the only way to go.

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