The Dutch are known for their laid-back attitude and their traditional and robust city bikes. Do you know where they got these comfortable bikes from though?
The ‘Safety bike’ aka ‘English roadster’ was invented in England in 1885 by JK Starley, engineer from Walthamstow, London.
75% of the Dutch bikes came from the UK in 1895. This type of bike is now incorrectly called ‘Dutch bike’. It is English!
Read why the safety bike is still the best bike to use for you to be safe in urban contextes.
The safety bicycle was an alternative to the penny-farthing or ‘ordinary’. Their superior design allowed everyone, including women, elderly, children, to ride faster and in a safer way than their precedents. They gave the chance to ordinary people, rich and poor alike, to broaden their horizons beyond the neighbourhoods in which they lived and to discover a new-found sense of freedom of movement. They were the symbol of a great societal revolution, especially by asserting women and facilitating the suffrage movement.
Since then, we have never invented a more practical and multi-functional bike to ride for the daily routine and city scene. That is why it is still the most common type of bicycle used throughout the Netherlands and the world.
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