A gentleman on a Dutch granny-bike? Well, just so long as he didn’t steal it from someone’s grandma!
The omafiets (tr. ‘grandmother bike’) is a very traditional kind of Dutch bike that is best known for its upright and elegant riding style, easy to use step-through frame, and utilitarian (i.e. black) paint job.
While most people in the UK would think it’s a “ladies” bikes, the oma is actually just a universally comfortable and practical design. This particular model takes practicality to the highest degree with a foldable front box and dynamo lighting. Seriously, who needs a car when bikes like this exist!?
For us, this photograph represents a great vision of London Cycle Chic.
Off the bat, a description of the picture doesn’t sound spectacular: ‘a lady has cycled to a cafe in London and has sat down to enjoy her drink’. However, a deeper analysis reveals a much more encouraging shift in London’s cycle scene.
For starters, this lady has cycled in casual clothes, and so her bike is not a piece of sports equipment, but rather a vehicle of general utility. The fact that there is no hi-viz (or other safety equipment) shows that she does not perceive cycling to be a dangerous activity, but rather a normal part of everyday life. Riding a step-over frame also shows that her cycling is not guided by the accepted ‘wisdom’ of chain bike shops, which tend to have disappointingly small ranges of predominantly pink bikes aimed at female riders. Her bike even has a subtle, tyre-driven bottle dynamo to power the lights – she is clearly one discerning cyclist!
In a city where the MAMIL* is king, what a beautifully alternative vision this rider represents!
From a distance it wasn’t clear if this was a bicycle or a quadcycle, but what it actually was proved to be far more interesting.
The gentleman – who was dressed for his destination, and not the journey (take a hint, lycra lovers) – had just swapped his bike’s original wheelset for a custom pair he’d had made. His bike is a classic Dutch Priest Bike, and the unique ‘kruisframe’ design was apparently invented to preserve a priest’s dignity as he rode to Church in his cassocks.
These days the bike is a comfortable, upright city run around, built for an unhurried gentleman who prizes elegance over speed. Sweet brogues, too!
Today’s gentleman was spotted at the Camden Bike Fair that took place around the back of King’s Cross Station. He was gliding around on a classy, upright Swedish bike being exhibited by one of the local bike shops, and was kind enough to let us take his photo.
We’re not sure if he ever bought the bike that he’s pictured with, but I think we can all agree that it suits him! Very dapper 😉
Maybe it’s the sculpted angles of the mixte frame that appealed to today’s chic cyclist – she described herself as an architect, but what she does seems to go way beyond architecture as we know it! (Check out her website here)
For our purposes, we love her style! Not a thread of hi-viz, just a smile and a classic steel bike. And check out the glorious sunshine in the background – looks like summer’s just around the corner!
The inaugural post on the resurrected London Cycle Chic blog is dedicated to a goddess of summertime cycle chic – seen below cruising down the Embankment on her Dutch bike during last year’s Prudential Ride London.
That glorious warm weather can’t return quickly enough!