Dutch bike or mandarin ottoman? Post-modern conundrum.
Proof that the Dutch bike craze has fully permeated American consumer culture and is now simply another mandatory accoutrement for happiness and meaningful trendy living. Yaaaay!
The latest CB2 catalog — that’s the hipster youth version of the adult Crate & Barrel — features two casually beautiful young folk, still a few years from the exhaustion of off-spring, gently yet effervescently pedaling their Dutch knock-offs around Miami to some art opening, wine tasting or bondage gear sale.
You can rage or rejoice, lambast or celebrate the dutch bike reaching elite consumer status. In the masterful Bike Snob book by Eben Weiss, he perfectly describes the yin and yang of your favorite pleasure niche becoming yet another full blown cultural happening that on one hand destroys your narrow definition of beauty by also brings that watered down version to the masses. Something you couldn’t possibly argue against and yet the nuances disturb your finely calibrated Fruedenshiz, a German word we just made up that means wistful angst.
And yet, sweaty palm on polygraph, we admit we love the look of these bikes with the snazz yellow tires and front basket full of Mexican beer. We’re addicted to that vibe and by golly, two hipsters on Dutch bikes is better than two crabsters in an SUV.
We quote the CB2 script: “Retro abuelo (grandfather) does a mod spin on the classic Dutch opafiets (grandpa’s bikes) with grey gloss hi-ten steel step-over frame and fenders, upright commuter handlebars with red stitched grips, red classic button saddle seat, Kenda custom yellow balloon tires (CB2 exclusive color), even a retro red bell.” It should be noted that Dutch grandpas don’t generally suffer from massive Visa debt.
You can purchase these machines direct from Republic Bikes or wait for your fave retail operation to sell them. Besides CB2, they make branded variations and flavors for companies like Urban Outfitters, Roger David and J Crew. Republic is based in Miami — an amusing irony — Dutch bike leaves dreary grey surroundings for the pastel tropics.
CB2 and Republic Bike have turned the drab and utilitarian Dutch bike into a fashion accessory no different from the $300 Bengal coffee table, the $49 Pixel pillow and the asian inflected $499 Max Mandarin ottoman. Might be a tough call as the ottoman is the same price as the Dutch bike. And as every cyclist knows, you can’t pedal an ottoman.
Post-modern consumer dilemma. Pop an anti-anxiety med, do a spreadsheet and the choice is clear.