Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bike of the Day - Electra Amsterdam

A few years ago, the Electra Amsterdam is what got me back on a bicycle after, I don't know, 25 years off. I knew the Dutch formula suited me - chainguard/fenders/rear skirt, upright not hunched over - and the Electra was (and still is) one of the few Dutch-style bikes that you can go out and buy in the DC area.

I bought mine at Big Wheel Bikes in Bethesda and rode it home to Petworth via the somewhat rough Bethesda-Silver Spring stretch of the Capital Crescent Trail. Hot day and first day back on a bike in a long time, so that was kind of a fun mistake... but I made it ok. You don't forget how to ride a bike, but you do sort of forget the exhilaration of it.

The Amsterdam is definitely elegance over speed, and very comfortable, but frankly sucks on major uphills (or maybe I suck on major uphills... anyway, I don't mind walking it whenever). But their so-called 'flat foot' design means the seat is shifted slightly back and lower so you're closer to the ground. Which is nice, I felt perched pretty high on the first few bikes I tried.

If you get the Classic 3i (shown, they also have an 8-speed), you'll want to add a front handbrake, it comes with coaster brake only. They also make a step-through women's version, here's an interesting review by a local citizen cyclist.

Here's mine parked in Adams Morgan when I was shooting for this blog one evening.

photo © Bill Crandall


  1. I like that headlamp.

    I'm been slowly shedding stuff from my Raleigh, first the fenders, then the chainguard.

    I'd like to put the fender back and there's no clearance with the modern brakes I slapped on my Raleigh. Not sure what my options are at this point.

  2. Yeah, actually the headlamp just broke ;), I was raising the handlebars and yanked out the wire by mistake...

    It was tough for the guy at City Bikes to get the front brake around the fender, but he did it somehow.

  3. Those bikes are seriously cool. They are also staggeringly practical and if there were more around, it would likely spread . . . the whole crazy idea of practical transportation in a city.