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As part of my Best Birthday Ever (TM) celebrations, I had a lovely time on the Tour & Taste ride which started at Rolling Orange bike store in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill. Best of all, I was lucky enough that Christine from Rolling Orange let me borrow one of her gorgeous Dutch-style bikes to ride for the day, the arrestingly magenta De Fietsfabriek OMA.

It was the first time I’d actually ridden one of these heavyweight bikes, designed to keep the rider sitting upright and also equipped to carry heavy loads on front and back racks. The front rack and basket are attached to the body frame rather than the handlebars and front wheel, so it took a little while to get used to not seeing the basket move when I steered around a corner. But in that mjestic saddle I suddenly understood how all those European riders stay so chic while cycling. The OMA was a dream to ride – posh and ponderous in the best way, prompting posture my mother would be proud of, so weighty and steady I felt really safe on the road. The Rolls Royce of bicycles.

I spent much of the tour seriously considering committing a grand theft velo… Only when we’d ridden all the way back to Brooklyn could I bring myself to ask Christine how much she cost. At $1500 the OMA is an investment, but I daresay you would not regret it. Unless you had to carry her up and down stairs… Personally though, if I were in a position to make a purchase from Rolling Orange, I really love the pared-back classic style of the “Old Dutch” step-through from Batavus.

The Rolling Orange call to arms, emblazoned on the store’s wall, is reminiscent of the Cycle Chic manifesto:

the slow revolution
welcome to a different way.
a different way to bike.

a different way to move.

a different way to live.
ask yourself a simple question.
if you love life, why rush it?
fast has no time for charm.
no time for chance.

no time for wonder.

there are no details in fast.

slow is seeing, feeling, loving the life you move through.
fast is a schedule. slow is freedom.
fast fades. slow lasts.
fast rushes life. slow enjoys it.

it’s simple, really.

if you love life, you deserve a different way.
a better way.
a slower way.

It’s a beautiful store, sun-lit and laid out so that the gorgeous bikes appear almost like artworks in a gallery. Bikes hang from the walls, are suspended from the ceiling; even the accessories are cheeky and chic, from baskets and colourful panniers to these Yakkay helmet hats:

The bikes may be beautiful, but their design is functional and intelligent as well. The Dutch influence, where bikes are a part of everyday life, is particularly clear in the storage options – racks, baskets and trays for carrying groceries or even children or pets. Rolling Orange is well worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood (269 Baltic St, Brooklyn). Join the Facebook group to keep up with the many wonderful events they’re involved in too – coming up on November 20 the Dutch Days bike tour will incorporate New York’s early Dutch history into a laidback Saturday ride…

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