Omafiets Cycles

So there’s a new bike store opening in Sydney.  “So what”? I hear you say… another bike store, in a market which some may say is already saturated.  However, this is a really interesting concept.  What they do, is import second hand bikes from Holland.  Apparently, the Dutch government gives tax incentives to people to buy bikes, so they generally turn them over quite quickly (and sell them very cheaply).  So, what the guys do, is buy a container load (I’m assuming unseen) and ship them to Australia to sell.

I was lucky enough to meet Oliver (one of the owners of the store) at Cycle Recycle and he invited us to have a sneak peak at the store before it’s official opening.  (photos to follow) The shop is in Marrickville, an edgy, coming on trendy part of town.  The store is a bit hard to find, being up a side street off a major road, however it does make parking easy and I’d imagine it will be much easier to find once there is some signage in place.

Now, the bit you’re really interested in – the bikes.  Well, there really is an assortment, in all sorts of conditions.  There are plenty of what I’d call your typical “Dutch bike” – not many gears (3 or below), beautiful curving handlebars and an upright seated position.  Lots of the bikes have dynamo hubs and front and rear lights, and most bikes have a rear rack (or front basket).  Brooks leather saddles abound.  The bikes vary in condition – from really good, to well, average, although I suspect that some of them were actually damaged in transit.

There’s also a few more interesting bikes including a recreational tandem bike, and a very large cargo bike and a few touring bikes.

I think it will be interesting how they go.  I hope they do well – I like the idea that you can buy a cheaper bike that is still good quality, and the guys that run the shop seem really passionate about getting people onto bikes, and super friendly (I even got to mind the shop for a while), but I worry that some of the bikes are a bit expensive for what they are – I mean $500 for a second hand single speed with coaster brakes seems a bit steep, even if it is in really good condition  – I mean when was the last time you rode a bike with coaster brakes?   Yet there are also some really good deals to be had – $1100 for a fully kitted out touring bike – including dynamo hub, double kickstand, front and rear racks, handlebar bag and lights seems like a really good deal.

However, the shop is well worth a look.  Did I buy a bike?  You’ll have to wait and see Smile

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Mini Track Pump Review – Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HPG

So what do you get when you cross a track pump and a hand pump?  A mini track pump!

This type of pump is perfect for travelling and cycle tours.  It is the best of both worlds being both small and portable but has a higher capacity cylinder and a pressure gauge.  My Lezyne Micro Floor Drive pump has been on quite a few trips.  It is the first thing in the box or pannier when going on a trip.

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Lazer CityZen Helmet Review

So, I’m trying to replace my helmet.  My present helmet (a Met helmet) is getting pretty old, and although it looks okay, I think it’s time for a new one.  After looking at the Lazer helmet on the Net, and thinking that it looked like fun, I went to try it on.

The Lazer helmet is like a skatey type helmet, with a fabric cover and a brim.  It comes in a selection of colours (black, khaki, black tartan, red tartan and blue tartan) in a one size fits all approach .

Fit

My first impression was that the helmet was heavy.  Really heavy.  And at 430 grams, I guess it is.  It feels like wearing a horse riding helmet.  It’s held on by a retention system at the back of the helmet, however the helmet itself is quite wide (as it’s a skatey helmet).  I have  a weirdly shaped head – I think it’s more oval than round, so I found that the helmet gapped a bit at the sides.  Nothing too drastic, and the retention system held it on well enough, but it was still noticeable. The brim is reasonably soft (stays out, but not super stiff) and folds up, which is good in case you are in a stack.

Helmet view - side

City Zen - Front View

Looks

The helmet looks cool.  Seriously cool.  I really wanted a Yakkay helmet, but until they are approved in Australia, this is a good alternative.

Other stuff

The helmet is hot.  There are only little vents at the top of the helmet and these are covered in fabric, so ventilation is minimal.  It would be great in cold areas – but I’d hate to be wearing this if the temps were over 25 degrees.

Overall

I really like the look of this helmet.  It’s stylish, doesn’t look like you are trying to win the Tour, and is fun.  Yet the weight of the helmet and the lack of ventilation makes it inappropriate for longer rides.  Overall, I think this would be a perfect helmet if you were going for a jaunt up to the shops to, or getting on your cruiser for a spin on the beach, but for longer rides, or in hotter climates, I think the jury is still out.  Just for the record, I didn’t buy it.  I’m still deciding.