Yesterdays post seems pretty maudlin reading by the light of today, so let’s look at something more positive, and furthermore actually on topic for this blog. I’ll Introduce you to the Omafiets.
The first thing you notice about Oma is that she’s Heavy.  None of that namby-pamby lightweight carbon or chromoloy: this one is steel: great lumps of the stuff. If it didn’t have wheels you could mistake her for scaffolding. In view of this, the manufacturer fitted a stand rather like those associated with Indian bikes, a big triangle that is horizontal much of the time and lifts the back wheel clean off the ground when pushed vertical, It also locks in position. These stands are found on most single-speed bikes in Japan, which seem to be most bikes. The ubiquity of these inbuilt stands may be why I’ve yet to find a bike rack as I’d recognise one in Europe: most are just a parking space with a bike symbol. The bike is locked with a wheel lock of the sort that the Dutch use all the time, but out of interest, do the Dutch ones clamp the key into the lock when it’s unlocked?
If we get a bike for Beautiful Wife to take home, it will probably be a three-speed one at least, partly so she has at least some options when climbing up the hills of Ostfildern, but also because than I can be sure that the frame is wide enough to take a Nexus hub gear for if and when we want to upgrade. I know they are usually a standard size, but Japanese bikes seem to have few ‘standard’ parts (Ironically, I don’t see a lot with Shimano components) and It’d be a real bummer to find the chain stays are the wrong width after I get a new wheel.
The back rack is next to useless as I don’t have any bungee chords and it doesn’t have a sprung clamp, but the front basket is very handy for shopping, although it’s not exactly Xtracycle capacity as I found yesterday when I had th squeeze the groceries in, and when full it does funky things to the steering and I’ve nearly landed in a ditch once when the handlebars seemed to move of their own accord because of the weight. I also find the contents of the basket tend to go airborne when we hit a bump: you hit a lot of bumps on Japanese side roads.
However, the frame is what sold me on the idea of getting a bike here: It’s curved like a Dutch Omafiets, instead of being straight like a mountain bike. For some reason it looks slightly more feminine (when my wife’s riding it anyway, my beard tends to take the edge off any femininity). It certainly looks more at home doing the shopping than an MTB conversion would, while being a bit better suited to Beautiful Wife than the larger-wheeled European town bikes.
We’ll be scouting the local bike shop, which is so eccentric it warrants a blog post of its own but which has a big range of used bikes of the sort we want. Then we have to work out how to get it home.

Anyone have any other suggestions for thngs to watch out for?

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