Missing Dutchs in the US

Dutch style bicycles are the results of decades of good biking culture and intelligent design: they are durable, they allow to bike in an upright, ergonomic posture, they provide racks for your panniers, and their chainguards prevent your pants from getting stained while also reducing maintenance on the transmission system. As a matter of fact, Dutch style bicycles are great for rainy weather.

But here in the US, and specifically in rainy Seattle, they are nowhere to be found. People don’t ride them, stores don’t sell them, and even some components like chainguards are missing altogether.

Why is so? In my opinion, the social fabric that would use them is missing. Here in the US there are two sides when it comes to biking: the sunny-weekend-only, recreational riders (which ride a good looking bicycle, heavy and with fat tires); and those who ride it daily for ethical or healthy reasons (which usually aim for a speedy and lightweight bike).

So who is missing? John Doe. John Doe isn’t yet using the bike to commute to work or go to the supermarket. And although bike usage keeps growing little by little in the cities, one wonders if in 20 years John will by riding his Dutch bicycle, or he will sitting on a self-driving electric car.


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