Gazelle Heavy Duty NL For A Song

This is the Gazelle Heavy Duty NL. It comes in step through in this sand color and step over in grey. Both with a nice matte finish.

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The original MSRP is $950 which is a great price in and of itself. Act now and you can save $200 and get one for only $750 which is undoubtedly the best price we’ve ever been able to offer on a fully featured Dutch bike.

When I say act fast I mean it, as these bikes will no longer be available through our Gazelle USA distributors after we sell through the limited inventory that we have right now.

When I say fully featured Dutch bike, here is a run-down on what I’m talking about…

Stout 2 leg kickstand, in this case the Ursus Jumbo.

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Full fenders, of course.

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Low maintenance 7 speed Shimano internal gear hub.

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Front and rear Shimano roller brakes make for a low fuss, low maintenance braking system.

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But wait, there’s more. It also comes with a Shimano dynamo front hub which powers the head light. And it comes with a rear battery powered light.

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The Gazelle Heavy Duty NL comes with front and rear cargo racks. The front rack has a weight capacity of 10 kg (22 lb) and the rear rack 25 kg (55 lb).

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Also, the rear racks have the Yepp Easyfit window so this bike is a solid option as a one child transport bike.

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It’s worth pointing out that even though the step over model comes with the same Easyfit window we would strongly discourage you from choosing this bike to transport a child as mounting and dismounting any step over bike with a child on the rear is not a good call.

Like any good Dutch bike it comes with a frame mounted wheel lock.

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Back to the drivetrain, it has a fully enclosed chain case which is a game changer in terms of minimizing maintenance and makes it so you to never need to worry about your clothes coming into contact with a greasy chain.

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Internally routed cables give the bike a nice and clean look.

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It comes with a headset locking mechanism that keeps the front wheel from flopping around when the bike is parked.

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It comes with cruiser style swept back handlebars and has a fairly open cockpit with comfortable ergonomic handgrips and a bell cleverly integrated into the left grip.

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In stock right now we have the step through model in a 49cm frame which should fit riders 5’2″ to 5’6″ and the step over model in a 54cm frame which should fit riders 5’5″ to 5’9″.

The term I keep coming back to on this bike is ‘no-brainer’ as you really can’t go wrong here when you consider how much bike you are getting for the low price of $750.

Interested in trying one of these out, please come visit us at The Shop and take one for a spin around the block.

Don’t snooze and lose as this deal won’t last forever.

-Jon

Putting the Tour in Tour Populair

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This past Spring we sold a pair of Gazelle Tour Populair bikes to Bill and his wife Mary. I remember Bill mentioning that they intended to do some touring with their Dutch bikes. I thought the idea was rad, albeit a little unconventional since these bikes are more ideally suited for short trips in flat cities.

I’ve never done any bike touring myself, although I love hearing from people about their bike travels and reading about them online (like this one, which I discovered from a recent TwoTone Amsterdam newsletter). So my lack of experience with bike touring has nothing to do with a lack of interest, quite the opposite. I would just chalk it up on the long list of things I’d do if I wasn’t busy running The Shop during the nice weather months.

So I was pretty excited when I received an email the other day from Bill with pictures from their recently completed bike tour on their Tour Populair bikes. I was intrigued to learn more about their trip and asked Bill a few questions and he was kind enough to oblige and let me share their story here on our blog. So here goes…

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Jon: We normally sell the Tour Populair as an in town city transport bike. What
made you decide to actually tour on a Tour Populair?

Bill: Always wanted to do a multi-day tour and with the comfort and easy riding of the Tour Populair I thought it would be doable as long as we did a bike trail and not normal traffic roads. We also chose the bikes because my wife has had some back and shoulder issues and this is really the first bike she has ridden that was comfortable. She wanted a recumbent bike but I didn’t like the idea of transporting that type of bike and the longer profile on the road to me seemed like a safety issue with car traffic. Also the recumbent bikes are a lot more expensive and really aren’t any better quality.

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Jon: How did the bikes perform based on what you were expecting going into the
trip?

Bill: The bikes preformed great as long as you understand that you are not riding a fast bike, just a very comfortable bike. With bike trails made from old railroad routes we have the benefit of normally not having much in the way of hills. Obviously Holland is very flat and the bikes perform best staying away from the hills. Being on a multi-day tour is not a training ride and accepting that we wanted to enjoy the trip and not cover a lot of miles each day is really important. Another advantage to this type of bike was that adding weight for items you need to take is not as much of an issue as with a lighter bike. Many normal bikes loaded with gear become un-stable and difficult to stop and handle, with the Tour Populair we did not experience any of this, the difference in riding the bike with 25 additional pounds on it is really not that noticeable. 

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Jon: What trail or trails did you ride on?

Bill: We rode the GAP Trail, (Greater Allegheny Passage) from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD The trail length is 150 miles which we did over a five day, four night period. We took our bikes from South Bend, IN to Pittsburgh on Amtrak and then returned from Cumberland to South Bend on Amtrak. It was a great way to go and bikes were $20 each / each way. Our longest day was 35 miles, shortest was 26 miles. Riding South from Pittsburgh the trail is up-hill until the Eastern Continental Divide, making the last 24 miles down-hill. The up-hill was a bit taxing but it is gradual, not more than a 2% grade but it is continual so we took lots of stops and there is a lot to stop and look at on the route. Most days we started between 9:00 and 10:00 and arrived at our B&B or Hotel by 3:00 to 4:00. Lots of miles of 6-8 mph. You could ride the route the other direction but then the first day is all up-hill at a much steeper incline that what we rode. Our last day was very little up-hill and 24 miles of coasting!

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Jon: How much gear did you have with you and how did you carry it?

Bill: We carried clothes, snacks, personal items and some tools for the bikes which we never had to use. We both had Ortlieb Ultimate6 S Classic front bags. We used one pair of Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus panniers that are normally a small front bag, these went on my wife’s bike. I used a pair of Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus panniers on my bike. We had plenty of room for everything we needed and the bags were great both on the bike and as luggage on the train ride. Although we didn’t see any bikes like ours being used on the trail we did see plenty of Ortlieb bags in use, by far it was the most popular brand we saw.

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Interested in doing a similar trip? Here is a website (http://www.bikecando.com/) that Bill found to be extremely useful when they were planning theirs. It has a lot of information on both the GAP Trail (Greater Allegheny Passage) as well as the C&O Canal Towpath trail which heads east all the way to Washington D.C.

Many thanks to Bill and Mary for sharing their adventure. You’ve certainly gotten me to look at the Gazelle Tour Populair in a whole new light.

Happy trails!

-Jon

Photo Credits: Bill (all photos except map which is from gaptrail.org)

TwoTone Amsterdam X Vera Cycling Caps

We just received a small shipment of these super rad TwoTone Amsterdam X Vera cycling caps…

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For more on what/who TwoTone Amsterdam is, check out our previous blog post.

We’ve never had much success selling apparel at The Shop. Nor have we really attempted to stock much of it since one of the main tenets of Dutch biking is dressing for the destination not the journey.

For me, stocking these sweet caps isn’t about making money or moving units. I like TwoTone Amsterdam and what they are all about and I think you should too. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything in orange;-)

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These caps are not your typical stretchy spandex style, they have more of a light canvas cotton feel to them. They are made 100% in northern France. We have them in one size that I would call medium (my head measures to about 57cm and they fit me just fine). We have a few different colorways in stock and available for $35.

Won’t get a chance to make it into the shop but want to get one, I’d recommend ordering one direct from TwoTone Amsterdam here.

-Jon

Amsterdam Diaries Part 10- TwoTone Amsterdam Visit

Friday December 16, 2016 Continued

One of the first appointments I locked down for this trip was to meet up with Jon Woodroof. Jon is the founder of TwoTone Amsterdam, a consulting/PR agency that does work with innovative start ups including many companies in the cycling industry. They also happen to have a really entertaining newsletter that I always find to be a worthy read. For a quick intro to Jon, check out this recent interview of him from Amsterdam based startup Headroom.

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A peek inside the Twotone Amsterdam space

Flashback to September 2010…

I first met Jon back in 2010 when he was visiting Chicago from Atlanta with his wife and their son and they rented a Bakfiets from us (disclaimer- we no longer offer rentals at The Shop). It was really great meeting them and Jon was super into what we were doing importing Dutch bikes to the U.S. as he had previously ran a bike shop of his own in Atlanta.

Chicago Trip, write up coming soon

photo credit – Jon Woodroof

Chicago Trip, write up coming soon

photo credit – Jon Woodroof

For more sweet pics of their time in Chicago including some early days shots of The Shop, check out Jon’s flickr photo album.

We stayed in contact for a while through social media and I remember seeing pictures online of his wife’s bike; a first generation Civia Loring (a bike we used to sell and one that deserves it’s own post on our blog as it was such a beautifully crafted city bike).

Fast forward to September 2015…

While on another one of my trips visiting Amsterdam and what do I see in the service shop at Workcycles… a Civia Loring.

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The Civia Loring all Dutchified with Clarijs panniers, child back rest and a Bobike mini child seat mount.

Seeing a U.S. bike brand like Civia in Holland certainly got my attention but that alone wasn’t enough to make the connection it was Jon’s wife’s bike. Then later that same day while getting a quick demo of Workcycles’ point of sale software, I noticed the name Woodroof in their work order queue and quickly put two and two together.

I was excited to learn that Jon and his family had made the move from the US to Amsterdam. I then joined Jon’s TwoTone Amsterdam newsletter and made a mental note to try and connect with him on a future trip. Which brings me to my visit today with Jon.

Fast forward to now (December 2016)… 

After spending some of my afternoon with Henry Cutler at Workcycles, I made the hop skip and a jump bike ride over to TwoTone’s work space.

I booked my meet up with Jon for Friday afternoon with the intention we could have a beer together heading into the weekend. But we were both completely zapped from a long week so the happy hour idea never got off the ground.

It was a really nice time catching up and hearing how he is pulling off the dream of settling down in Amsterdam with his wife and raising their kids. As someone who loves bikes as much as Jon does, he sure has found himself in no better place on earth to live out his cycling passions on a daily basis both professionally and personally. I often think about pulling up stakes and making Amsterdam home again someday and it’s super encouraging to hear from people who make it happen.

It was also cool sharing with Jon what The Shop has been up to lately and what I have in mind for the years ahead. If I could draw one parallel between us, aside from both being no ‘h’er Jon’s, I would say it’s the passion we put into what we do and how much of that is derived from the partners (in his case clients, in our case suppliers) we choose to support and represent.

Speaking of, we will be representing TwoTone Amsterdam here at The Shop with a nice supply of their sweet TwoTone Amsterdam x VERA bike caps.

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We have a small shipment of these fresh lids on order. Stay tuned to the blog for updates on their imminent arrival.

Thank you Jon for taking the time to meet up. We will leave that beer for next time!

Well that’s all folks! I appreciate you taking the time to join me on this ride. This was undoubtedly my most productive trip back to Holland. It was fantastic to learn more about this little corner of the bike industry that we are a part of and see for my own eyes how many of our suppliers do what they do. I am heading home to Chicago with my passion for everything Dutch bikes fully stoked and more excited than ever for the future of The Shop.

Until next time Amsterdam.

-Jon

Save $50 on a nearly new Linus Dutchi

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‘All returns subject to approval.’ That’s what it says on the bottom of your receipt when you purchase something from The Shop. I don’t have an exact figure but I would venture to guess in our nine plus years in business we can still count on two hands the number of bike returns/exchanges we’ve ever had. We don’t apply an ounce of sales pressure whether you are looking to buy a $30 bike light or a $3,000 cargo bike. It’s just not who we are or who we want to be.

So when a bike goes out our doors and then is returned it’s always a bit of a bummer. Now in this case, it was an exchange so not as big of a deal. The customer simply had a change of heart on color selection after a week with the bike and wanted to go with black. This is where the ‘subject to approval’ part comes in handy. If the bike was beat up and in such a condition that we couldn’t re-sell it as nearly new, we would potentially refuse the return (something we’ve never had to do) or we would come to an agreement on a fair re-stocking fee (something we’ve been able to do amicably on 100% of the small number of returns so far).

2017-07-20 14.27.59The returned bike in question is in nearly perfect condition and if our moral compass was off even slightly we could easily omit this important detail that the bike had a short lived first owner and sell it full price. But, that’s not who we are or who we want to be. So, if you or someone you know is in the market for a Linus Dutchi 3 Speed Medium in Orange/Red and wants to save $50 on one that is as nearly new as it gets, and is sold with full warranty included, come on down and claim this bike. Just don’t return it!

-Jon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voyage Chicago Interview

It’s always flattering to have someone reach out wanting to interview you. Who me?! With Voyage Chicago, it comes with an extra boost knowing it was likely one of your customers who referred you. It certainly puts some wind in your sails and gives you a good feeling you are doing something right. Here is a link to the interview:

Voyage Chicago Interview

And a special thanks to Jack Frisch for the great photos of me, Tim and Keith as well as a thanks to John Whipple for the beautiful shot of their Onderwater Tandem.

-Jon

Amsterdam Diaries Part 9- Coffee With Pete Jordan

Friday December 16, 2016   

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Back when I was making out the schedule for this trip, my strategy was to get the supplier visits locked down first and then leave some open room for meeting other relevant, interesting people. High on my list of people I wanted to meet was Pete Jordan.

Pete Jordan is an American who has lived in Amsterdam since 2002. He is also the author of the book ‘In The City Of Bikes: The Story Of The Amsterdam Cyclist’. This book first came to my attention from a customer’s recommendation a few years ago. It is hands down the most entertaining and informative book I’ve ever read about Dutch bikes and the history of biking in Amsterdam. If you are into Dutch bikes, this is must read stuff here.

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I’ve read Pete’s book cover to cover twice now and I often go back to reference specific sections like Chapter 6 where he highlights the key factors that have lead to the Dutch obsession with bikes and how it contrasts with the United States’ obsession with cars. I dwell on this section of the book a lot as someone who dreams of cities like Chicago someday resembling Amsterdam with a constant stream of bikes up and down every street. This chapter is a bit of a double edged sword; it’s inspiring for me to read about the Dutch biking culture but equally depressing reading about how historically ingrained the car culture is in the US.

When I first finished his book, I was inspired to meet Pete someday. I really wanted to meet this fellow American expat who moved to Amsterdam and was as nuts about Dutch bikes as I was. Our lives followed similar trajectories up until a point; that point being when I decided to move back and sell Dutch bikes. Pete on the other hand decided to stay and make Amsterdam his permanent home.

I reached out to Pete a few months before my trip to try and arrange a meet up. I was really excited when I heard back that he was available and up for it. After I got to Holland we settled on a place and time and met for a coffee at de Wasserette (Dutch for The Laundry) in De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam.

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This cafe provided the backdrop of our conversation

We hung out for about an hour and had some great conversation. It was really cool and kind of strange, having read his book I felt like I knew him already and was catching up with an old friend. Pete is an easygoing and friendly guy, it certainly helped that we have such a strong commonality in our passion for all things Dutch bikes.

In addition to being an accomplished author, Pete also happens to be a talented photographer. I picked Pete’s brain about how to capture and share the experience of Dutch biking. When I come to Amsterdam on these trips this is something that I always try to do but can be really difficult. I want to make this experience available in the virtual sense to the J.C. Lind family, where they feel like they are a part of the action. I mentioned to Pete how it can be frustrating when you either can’t get your camera ready fast enough to capture a Mom biking by with 5 kids on her bike, or, right after you put your camera down the action you’ve been patiently waiting for rolls right past you. Pete made a good suggestion which is to narrow the focus of what you want to capture. So you tune your radar, turn it into a fun challenging game and only pull your camera out for that preordained theme you’ve chosen to capture; ie. people transporting their Christmas trees on their bike. For a prime example of his strategy in action, check out this post from the Workcycles blog (Beldoppen: Why Only Some People Can Be Artists) about a really cool photography project of Pete’s.

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De Lairessestraat – a highly trafficked street in the Oud-Zuid (Old South) neighborhood of Amsterdam

I took the above photo the day after I met with Pete as this particular street came up during our chat. This is De Lairessestraat, a long straight street that runs the entire length of the linear Vondelpark (Amsterdam’s iconic city park). It is an arterial street, highly trafficked by many modes of transport as you can see. It also happens to be a street that has what in Dutch terms is inferior bicycle infrastructure. Cyclists have no protections from motorized traffic and have to share a narrow space with parked cars to their right and trams/cars/buses to their left. Pete mentioned that Amsterdam’s city hall is currently discussing potential improvements to make this street safer for cyclists. Just like here in the states, they have the same NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) folks who object because they don’t want to lose their parking spots. However, Pete pointed out very casually that this being Amsterdam the city council ultimately will side with the cyclists.

It was encouraging and refreshing to hear such places exist where the local government prioritizes cycling. It hasn’t always been this way in Holland. One of the key takeaways from Pete’s book for me was that the Dutch biking culture is not something that just came naturally or without any resistance or effort, the Dutch have had to fight long and hard for it.

I recommend checking out the above YouTube of Pete’s appearance on David Letterman while he was promoting his first book ‘Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All 50 States’. Not only is the video hilarious but it will also give you a great introduction to Pete. I haven’t read ‘Dishwasher’ yet but I just ordered a copy and it is next up in my reading list.

We have ‘In The City Of Bikes’ in stock at The Shop and I gotta say, I get almost as much joy from selling a copy of Pete’s book as I do from selling a bike. Thank you kindly Pete for taking the time to meet with me, I hope to see you again the next time around.

The sun is starting to set on this trip, stay tuned for my final entry where I’ll wrap things up.

-Jon