At the time of writing this review, I do not think it unfair to say that the Dutch bike craze in North America has come and gone. When the bicycles first appeared on the scene around 2008, they were a source of fascination. The concept of the Dutch bike inspired us with images of carefree, relaxed, un-athletic cycling – of bicycles that allowed the rider to sit bolt-upright, “as if in a chair,” while effortlessly floating along, groceries or toddlers casually in tow. With these machines came the promise of a dignified, utilitarian and (dare I say it?) fashionable means for ordinary people to ride a bicycle for transportation without changing the way they dressed.
But as nice as it all sounded in theory, in practice it didn’t stick. Routinely, those North Americans who had purchased Dutch bikes discovered that conditions where they lived were too hilly to make these lovely machines practical. Or too windy. Or the distances were too long. Or the car traffic called for more nimble and aggressive handling. So they made adjustments to their Dutch bikes, attempting to lighten them, and to install lower gearing, and to lower the handlebars, before – more often than not – ultimately switching to a different style of bicycle. As the transportation cycling culture in the US grew, a preference emerged for machines that – while still relatively upright and fitted with utilitarian accessories – were of a lighter, sportier, more compact nature than the prototypical Dutch bike.
From the estimable Lovely Bicycle blog, the definitive explanation for whatever happened to the Dutch City Bike in the US market.
I bought one from a neighbor. It had one gear, and no front brake, and only a rear coaster brake. I sold it to someone who really wanted it, but it was hell to ride uphill.