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Our New Rides: Transport Bicycles

After testing at least a dozen or more different bicycles over the weekend, we both found new bikes for our Amsterdam lifestyle. I was hoping for used ones, but none fit very well and used bikes here are pretty beat. Of the 6 or so brands we tried, one was a Giant and I saw a Trek, but otherwise they were Dutch bicycles.

As it turns out, I really prefer being able to easily step off the bike without having to swing my leg over the bike. Lots of guys in Amsterdam have figured that out too, even though the style is called “omafiets” (grandma bike). However, I found that most bikes have a very short reach, which was the only thing I disliked about them. Then I discovered one that has a bit longer reach, and the style is called “moederfiets”. That’s because it is designed to allow for a kid to ride between the seat and handle bars, so your arms can go around the kid and he/she isn’t pushed right up against your chest.

Yes, “moederfiets” means “mommy bike”; I ride a bike meant for moms with 1 to 3 toddlers since there is room on the front, middle and back of the bike for child seats. If it gets fitted with child seats, it would weigh 29 kilos (64 pounds)! So without child seats, it’s less than that, but still heavy. It is the most comfortable thing to cruise on that I’ve ever experienced.

The salesman at the store we bought the bikes at referred to them as tanks and battle ships, in both their style and weight. It wasn’t meant as derogatory, just factual. I hope I don’t find a hill to climb with these! Oddly enough, the salesman is also the father of the woman teaching our Dutch course.

Lorie’s bike has pedal brakes (coaster brakes), but mine are disc brakes on the front and back. Both are 3-speeds and made by BSP and come with the front and rear racks, plus a headlight and tail light. Mine is the “La Scala” in “jeans blue mat” color and Lorie’s is the “Metropolis” in “industrial grey mat”. Her’s is only 18.5 kilos (about 41 pounds). Notice the double legged kick-stand and the lock mechanism to keep the front wheel straight when parked or pushing it with a heavy load. These things are designed to carry a load, but we like them for how comfortable they are and we can hit any cobblestone and keep going.

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