Batavus Flying D

Starting the new year out right, with a sunny winter day, I test rode the Batavus Flying D – D could stand for Dutchman, but definitely not dainty!

batavus_flying_d.jpg

This bike is big, sturdy, heavy (not in a bad heavy way, but good), and rolls – just like you’d expect a Dutch bike to do. At one point, I just rode right over speed bumps and let the big wheels, tires, and sprung seat take the abuse.

I was riding in style, upright and certain the bike would get me to where I was going. The bike rides like a urban cruiser, with wide, 26” rims and big, durable tires. It’s a curious, setback, relaxed, and upright ride and that’s in the rake of the fork. That’s hard to describe, but ride one and you’ll get what I’m saying …

A Sachs (now SRAM) 7 speed internal hub with coaster brake drives the bike with simple shifting and braking control. A coaster brake is like the brake you had on your bikes as a kid, you kick back your heel to slow the rear.

The bike is the beefier and bigger brother of the Lightning I reviewed earlier and also really dug. These bikes are heirloom bikes. Meaning, you’ll have it for the rest of your life and hand it down for generations.

The Flying D ships with

  • Brooks B67 leather saddle and matching leather grips
  • Wheel lock
  • Auto-on/off lights
  • Fenders

and the MSRP is $1,049.99. I rode the men’s version and I was remarkably able to climb up the steep hill back to Hugga HQ. The women’s version drops the tob tube.

Check with your local Independent Bike Dealer for a test ride. On the next ride with the Flying D, I’ll commute to downtown Seattle and back.

Notes

Roller brake corrected to coaster brake.



Frozen Tri-Flow and other 07 observations

Back from Maui, and unpacking the Modal, I learned that way below zero degrees Tri-flow freezes into a gelatinous mass. I guess the Modal was put in the unheated cargo hull of the plane, cause it came back cold and stiff, with a gooey-bottled-blob of dry lube.

That interesting lesson was one of many this year for Bike Hugger. Traveling all over the world with a bike certainly changes one’s perspective and also reaffirms a common thread of cycling everywhere. In all my travels, I’d meet someone that wanted to talk bikes with me and that includes broken English at a Beijing bike pit stop.

beijing_bike_mechanic.jpg

Bike Hugger started because we noticed

a surge in bike-to-work riders, a change in the air, a wisp of urban bikes, and spotted a long-tail, sport utility bike. I thought, ‘huh, something’s going on’

and didn’t exactly expect to sell retail goods, sponsor a team, features in Dwell and men.style.com; or building this large of a community with steady, healthy traffic.

Thanks for being part of that and considering the community, please tell us what mattered to you in 07 … what do you think was the best of bike culture?



Brompton Factory Tour

Our 22nd Huggacast, and last one for 07, features a tour of Brompton’s Factory with Will Butler-Adams, Engineering Director. Brompton is the London-based designer and manufacturer of the Brompton folding bicycle and related accessories.

I posted earlier this month on riding a Brompton with their tech specialist, Rory Ferguson. The video features a discussion of all the parts that go into a Brompton, welding, wheel building, and assembly. The bike shown at the end, folded by my desk, is the one I brought home. It’s a new model with a rear frame clip and a snappy 2 speed drivetrain.

Notes



Times Columnists suggests decapitating cyclists, readers react

Sounds like Matthew Paris, a grumpy old times columnist, got up on the wrong side of his bed this year. In a satirical column entitled What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated? he goes on at some length about how in addition to all the normal atrocities associated with cyclists he’s now identified littering as enough to drive him to beheading unsuspecting riders as they zoom past. Some how I think Mr. Paris might be exaggerating a bit, but it’s interesting to see anti-cyclist sentiment in the media in London as well as in Seattle.

What’s really educational though are the comments (you may have to click the ‘read all … comments’ link yourself, sorry), almost uniformly pro-cyclist. It’s a refreshing change for me to see positive public reaction in the media.



City bikes gaining popularity with (celebrity) parents and kids

There are a lot of things to like in this photo: New Orleans, single speed city bikes, urban cycling, many (3!) kids in tow, and the fact that Brad Pitt seems to have adopted my habit of sticking ones tongue out when hauling a heavy load. Most of all I’m encouraged that cycling culture can get a bit of a plug from the celebrities of the day.

Too bad about the helmets though. Maybe the Pitt-Jolies can use a bit of their celebri-clout to engender more stylish helmets in the future. Links back to where the story came from (thanks Reno-Rambler!). I blame the Ibob folks (background reading on the Bobs) for pointing me in the right direction.



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