Dave Goes Dutch

I broke down and bought a real Dutch bike.  Sunday I was in Chicago and stopped at the Dutch Bike Co. and tried out a Workcycles Oma.  I have had my eye on the different Dutch bikes for a long time and this one had all the features I wanted. 

53cm Workcycles Oma. I love the convenience of a step through frame.

I must admit that for me a big selling point of this bike is how great it looks. I feel almost like I am rolling around Copenhagen or Amsterdam when I ride this.  I never even test rode a standard “men’s” frame because I really prefer the ability to just step on a bike for short trips.  It seems so civilized not to have to lift you leg like a male dog every time you get on and off a bike. The bike has Shimano Nexus internal eight speed rear hub and a from Nexus generator hub.  Front and rear brakes are roller cam, which is great for winter riding and extremely low maintenance.  Of course there is a super wide double kick stand too. 

Most european commuter bikes have a built-in lock. It locks the back wheel and is great if you are sitting at a cafe and only need low security. But I purchased the extra chain for the Axa lock. It just plugs in that hole and you can wrap it around a bike rack, parking meter, etc.

Skirt guards are also standard on most european commuter bikes. Liz will appreciate these when she rides. I may get some use out of them if Liz ever convinces me to wear a kilt.

I will give a full review of how the bike rides after I have had it for a while.  But initial thoughts are that it is pretty smooth. The fat tires and steel frame probably have a lot to do with that, but the suspended Brooks saddle helps take the edge off some of the pot holes too.  

The classic good looks of a Brooks.

This spring from the fork to the down tube is a steering damper. It should have even more benefit after I add the front rack.

The full chain case is a crucial element every great European-style commuter bike.  I have looked inside chain cases on bikes that were many years old, and the chain is still  nice and clean.  There is an easy way to lube the chain that I will show in a later post some day. Now the Dutch panniers I bought in Amsterdam have a real heavy-duty rack to hang on/  An adult can easily sit on this rack without bending it. 

These types of bags are extremely common in Europe. The are cheap, big and work well.

The Shimano Nexus Generator hub and light are something I can't live without on a commuter. I can forget about recharging batteries. But I have become spoiled by new LED lights, and I may swap this halogen light for a brighter Lumotec Cyo IQ.

The full coverage fenders and mud flap are also something I have come to want on all my commuter bikes.  I typically run Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires because they are virtually flat-proof.  The Oma came with the less hardy standard Marathons.  I may upgrade those too if I get a flat.  Removing the rear wheel on this bike is a bit of a pain.  I prefer not to get flats and simply eliminate the need to deal with it. 

These fat tires, heavy duty rims, straight guage spokes and brass nipples all add up to a bomb-proof wheel.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

19 thoughts on “Dave Goes Dutch

  1. Very Nice! Such a classic bike. If you’ve never had a wheel lock before, they can come in handy. Remember that you can always patch a flat without removing the wheel. This isn’t a bad job if you have a proper vulcanizing patch kit and you can find the hole quickly. The center stand means you can do this without laying the bike down as well.

    • I used to own a Trek Dutch bike, but never considered just patching the tube while it was on the bike. Thanks for the great idea. But hopefully I will remain flat free. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have not had a flat in three years with my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.

  2. How exciting!! My Batavus Fryslan is the slightly poorer country cousin of the Workcycles Oma (no dynamo lighting, no stock Brooks saddle, etc.), but I love her with an unholy fierceness. Hooray for gigantic Dutch bikes!

    • All the Dutch bikes are so stately that you can’t help but look civilized riding one, no matter the province. Fryslanders can take pride in more than a great football and a strong work ethic, your Batavus for instance.

  3. David,

    Now I have even more respect for you as a biker….! Enjoy the Dutch treat, although why not buy an Opa bike?



  4. How will one of these work on all the hills here in Seattle? Will I look civilized after getting to the top, especially the 14% grade hill on the way to my house? I like this Dutch idea, though.

      • Points 6 and 7:

        I will regard my bicycle as transport and as a mere supplement to my own personal style. Allowing my bike to upstage me is unacceptable.

        I will endeavour to ensure that the total value of my clothes always exceeds that of my bicycle.

    • Chris, I had actually never seen Mikael’s “Manifesto.” I actually break those rules all the time, since at least half of my clothes come from thrift stores. I typically don’t pay much for clothes and I do pay quite a bit for bikes.

      Maybe I will have to write my own Manifesto to localize and personalize it.

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