Biking (and Blogging!) Together at Last

Dutch Bike Chicago

Dutch Bike Chicago

What happens when you put two bike blogging friends together in the same city? Lots of bikey goodness. We visited Dutch Bike Chicago and tried out a couple of really cool bikes, the Retrovelo Paula and the Workcycles Bakfiets. The snow was falling pretty hard with already a few inches of accumulation, but that did not stop us. [I was excited to have a chance to ride in real snow. Walking in it was not as much fun!  –T]

Everything about the shop is so classy and being surrounded by all of those gorgeous bikes was a treat.

Both Bikes

Dottie and Trisha ready to ride

We were impressed by the Retrovelo – it was a lot of fun to ride. The Fat Frank tires make it really cushy, but sporty. (Full review of the Retrovelo forthcoming). The Paula could maybe be a good second bike for me, although it might be too close to the Oma. [I’m hoping my Batavus will feel something like the Retrovelo — so, so easy to ride and efficient to pedal. And beautiful! –T]

Retrovelo Trisha

Trisha with the Retrovelo

The Bakfiets is a feat of engineering. This is the SUV of bikes. Despite the size, it’s light and easy to ride and felt totally sturdy. I did reverse fishtail a bit before getting a hang of the steering. I thought that drivers would leave more room while passing a bakfiets, but Stephan, the owner, who uses the bakfiets as his daily ride, said that it makes no difference. As Trisha noted, I’m still searching for the elusive bike that makes drivers courteous.



The bakfiets could be a great substitution for a car, but I can’t think of loads that I would need to transport that couldn’t fit on an Oma [Not even the cats? –T]. I probably couldn’t make a case for needing a bakfiets.



[I have to admit I was not actually able to ride the bakfiets — even with the seat all the way down, it felt too big and I couldn’t get enough leverage on the pedals to launch. Or maybe my feet were just frozen! Dot and Greg had fun on it, though –T]

I imagine a lot of pedestrians see this window and can’t stop themselves from checking it out. Hopefully more and more Chicagoans will be seduced by these gorgeous bicycles to make some lifestyle changes!

Dutch Bike Shop Window

Dutch Bike Shop Window

In the meantime, there’s always public transportation. Better than driving, worse than cycling.

The El

The El

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11 thoughts on “Biking (and Blogging!) Together at Last

  1. Jason Runyan says:

    Trish – I hope you biked to Chicago.

  2. Hooray Snow! Looks like you gals almost have as much as us.

    Tell them to open their next store in Mpls.

  3. jhaygood says:

    I this idea of the tour of local shops. I wish I knew where there was one for L.A.

    Hmm, maybe someone should do one…

  4. meligrosa says:

    how fun!!! it always makes me happy to see bike-test reviews, cool pictures. they do look very comfy, Im really liking the red colour on both of them :) nice pics, thanks for sharing /xo.meli

  5. Allison says:

    Those are beautiful bikes! I’d be tempted. But, then I’d turn around and see all that snow and RUN back to my warm heated CAR. :) You guys are too cute though! I wish I had the drive to be that dedicated. I love learning new things though. Who knows, perhaps one day I too can convert!

  6. anna says:

    Lovely bikes there. I have seen Retrovelo bikes myself before, but never seen a Bakfiets in action (or even in reality). Well, there are just too many bike brands :-). I wouldn’t know what kind of bikes you really need that you are respected by car drivers. Maybe a velomobile could do the trick (see for pictures). You can also get pretty fast with them. I have seen cigar-shaped ones so far, but also some velomobiles that really look like cars (oldtimers to be precise) and two people can easily reach 50km/h on them (>30 mph).

  7. I saw bakfiets everywhere in Holland. Many were piloted by women with babies and groceries in the “bed.” The babies were sort of belted in to the bed. Better there than in a child seat on the (gulp) front handlebars, which was also common.

  8. Jennie says:

    On Friday I had planned on commenting about the carbon footprint but forgot about it. Jason reminded me ;)
    Also – Trish – Are you wearing heeled boots? Could this be the reason you “couldn’t get enough leverage on the pedals to launch” on the bakfiets? ;)
    Glad you all had fun this weekend!

  9. Trisha says:

    I am now curious how long it would take me to bike to Chicago. Since I am the world’s slowest cyclist (TM) it would be a little bit longer than a weekend, I think.

    Anna, neat link! I think my next bike will be a velomobile. ;)

    Biking warms you up, Ali, so it isn’t usually that bad even when it’s cold. It wasn’t until the next day, when we did 7 miles on the lakefront path after two hours of ice skating and the 7-mile ride there that I actually thought wistfully of the El — but that’s another post.

    I am, Jen, but I bike in them all the time. It is possible that I was just too wimpy though!

    And everyone commenting on the bikes, they’re as pretty and fun to ride as they appear.

  10. drmekon says:

    Lovely pictures, and very brave of you to have your first ride of a bakfiets in the snow. Re. height, my wife is 5’2″, and manages okay. We inverted the seat cradle to drop the saddle a little more.

  11. […] Biking — and Blogging — Together from Chicago (Two posts) […]

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