Taking a cue from the bicycle capitol of the World, that being The Netherlands, more and more Americans are investing in and riding on what is known as the "commuter" type of bicycle found all over Europe, the Far East, and recently Australia. It seems that more and more Urbanites are riding their bikes to work, the store, etc., and leaving the car in the garage. There are many reasons for this, gas prices, exercise, won't have to worry about a DUI, and the lack of a carbon footprint. But underneath it all, it is becoming the Chic thing to do. It's cool, just see The New York Times in this recent article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/fashion/30BICYCLE.html?_r=2
So, what makes a classic Dutch bike a classic Dutch bike? I know the answer to this because I have researched bicycles, manufacturing, and design for the past year, all with the intent of importing and selling these type of bikes in the United States. The result is, what makes a Dutch bike classic today is the same thing that made them classics over one hundred years ago, indeed not much has changed. Basic frame design and ergonomics that result in comfort and durability are the standard in which these types of bikes were made in 1890 and are made today. Dutch engineers designing bikes, built by Dutch workers, for people that depend on their bikes for daily transportation. One way to look at it is what I call the 10/50 concept. These type of bikes are meant to be ridden about ten miles a day and last for 50 years. They are not meant to be ridden fast, nor are they suited for a century. They have chain guards, fenders, luggage racks, skirt guards, front and rear lights, and comfortable saddles, which mean "seats" over here. They come with pumps, reflective tires, really big tires that are puncture resistant, and a bell like you had on your 1971 Schwinn. And of course, a kickstand. All of these features are there because if you have to change clothes to ride your bike, you are not Cycle Chic.