Friday, March 27, 2009

Saddle up the horses

As you already know from an earlier post, I want to buy a new bike as at the moment I only have a rather unsuitable mountain bike for my city rides. There are many similar types of bikes -- city bikes, cruisers, comfort and commuter bikes etc. To keep things simple:

I'm looking for an urban bike.

Electra Unisex Amsterdam Girard Madonna
Gazelle Basic

I love old bikes, in particular the old Puch bicycles. But I also want new technology, e.g. hub dynamos. I don't know if I want a retro bike though. However, this is a discrepancy. And maybe I will end up buying a cool second-hand bike first before I settle for a robust new bike because I can't resist the temptation ;-). For sure I want fenders, a rear rack and all the other good stuff.

Parking space is limited though -- actually not available. In my house there is no dedicated space to park bikes and therefore most bicycles are illegally parked in the hallway. That's why I procrastinated the need for another bike. And it's still an unsolved problem. Even parking my bike in the flat is impossible because I live on the 5th floor and the elevator is too small to fit a bike in there. Maybe I will disassemble the mountain bike and put it in our small compartment in the basement, but that's not really a satisfactory solution. I also want to have a second bike so that I can lend one to guests -- and not to collect dust :-(.

But I will just go ahead now and find a solution later. You must know that I'm really an indecisive person, though settling for just one bike will be a tough choice anyway. I will keep you informed about the bikes I look at and I'm of course grateful for any advice.

Today I had a look at Bobbin Bicycles from Britain. They sell some nice retro bikes with up to 5 gears that I definitely need if I don't want to push my bike uphill every day. Unfortunately some bikes only have a bottle dynamo and a rear battery powered light. The bikes in this post are from Electra (California), Gazelle (Holland) and Pashley (Britain). By the way, the Bobbin bikeshop sells great accessories too.


Miguel said...

I know it's a very different kind of animal, but I would seriously consider a folding bike like the Brompton or a Dahon model. I've already been noticing a few Bromptons in Madrid (I think there are quite a few more in Barcelona, bigger sales there).

Anonymous said...

Lovely bikes! Sitting upright while riding is stylish!
Have you consiedered
What's wrong with hub dynamoes?

anna said...

Miguel: Actually, I think about folding bikes a lot, and maybe I will investigate a little more. That would certainly resolve my parking problem, but on the other hand it's not so practical for everyday use. But certainly a good second bike, cause I also travel a lot (and in most trains I cannot transport a normal bike).

Anonymous: I don't see hub dynamoes as a no-go criteria, but for me they have many disadvantages: don't work so well in the rain and so-called bad weather, very poor concerning energy efficience (I have to ride uphill for a few km every evening) and don't shine on when I stop cycling at a red light. On the other hand, they are cheap. But as I ride a few thousand km every year, I think it's worth spending the money on a tire driven dynamo. I have to see what's on the market first, though. Maybe I will reconsider.
Thanks for the Velorbis link. I will definitely look into danish bikes :-). Do you know any other good brands?

Anonymous said...

Did you have a look at the Dutch Gazelle website? Their "Basic" model is available in several colours, I especially like the black/beige combination.
The most exceptional colour for the German market seems to be olive green at the moment.

The Batavus "Old Dutch" is currently available in bright blue and red (among others).

anna, could it be that you are confusing hub dynamos and "normal" dynamos? Because hub dynamos are the ones that work in every weather.

maff said...

anna: I'm afraid you're confusing hub dynamos ('Nabendynamo') with the older ones (what's the correct word for 'Seitenläuferdynamo' in English?)

anna said...

Ok, now I understand the confusion ;-). To make it clear: I want a hub dynamo but not a bottle dynamo. Looked it up at wikipedia. Thanks for the corrections, I will change the post in a minute..

Anonymous said...

Bike shopping is so fun. It looks like you have a wider variety of Dutch style bikes over there...lucky you. I'm getting a Batavus in May -- the Entrada Spirit -- they have a lot of models with the features you're looking for and are fairly reasonable price-wise (I got a great deal on mine during an end-of-year clearance).

If you go with an Electra, do some extra research on the model you're choosing first. I've seen several mentions online of recalls and issues with Electra bikes over the past year or so. Good luck in your search and keep us posted!

Erik Sandblom said...

I think you should go out and try a folding bike! They are just fine for everday use. Zippy in traffic. I like the Brompton because it has a good front luggage system.

There are also flat bikes like the Giant Downtown and some of the Dahon bikes. They lean against the wall and are very skinny.

Carolyn said...

Too bad you don't have room in your flat. I am kind of glad I have a spare room for my bike. I just retired my old bike, but was debating whether or not to keep it, but I don't want to clutter up my place too much, as it's easy to do! And like you, there is no storage space in my place either. :( (They should design to include it in new places)

I lift my bike up 3 flights of stairs, so in this case, I am glad it's aluminum. I don't know how hard it would be to lift a steel bike up 3 floors. No elevator in my building. :(

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