Omafiets takes me around town (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

This is my omafiets.

In Dutch or Flemish, it essentially means a commuter bike that a grandmother – oma – would ride. If you are male, it’s an opafiets.

It weighs a bazillion indestructible pounds, has fenders so you can ride in puddles without putting a stripe up your back, a “skirt guard” over the back wheel, a chain cover so you don’t get those greasy bike chain tattoos on your leg, a detachable basket to carry things, a bungee’d rack to carry more things (it came with a nice elastic but I wore it out,) a light and a bell.

Three gears; shift by twisting the right handgrip. That’s it.

If you wear black shiny Lycra bike shorts or tight logo’d bike shirts on it, you look like a complete moron. Even a helmet makes you look rather overcautious.

Wear normal clothes, pretty much any kind of shoes and ride it around – suddenly getting a little exercise, fresh air and saving gas to get somewhere or run errands is not such a big deal.

Be casual about your transport, like the Dutch couple I saw riding bikes in Amsterdam, each holding a cell phone to an ear plus holding hands, which meant that no one touched a handlebar on either bike.

I am not an oma, but I adore my omafiets.

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