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11th Jul 2016

Ask the Expert: How to Be A Chic Cyclist

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Netherlands native Astrid van Gelder-Fitzpatrick owns the Dutch Bike Shop, bringing the best of utility bikes from Holland to Ireland.


“One of the best brands for hard-wearing, stylish cycling clothing is the Georgia in Dublin range. The clothes are very elegant, feminine and have a comfortable fit (check out their rain wrap which doubles as a picnic blanket). Another very promising brand I have just discovered is ‘As Bold As’, their stuff looks really good.

I am the lucky owner of several bikes. We live 20km away from our shop in Goatstown in South Dublin and only have one car between us, so one of us has to do 20k by bike. Most times we use our electric bike but my old fashioned Dutch bike, complete with leather saddle, front carrier and all the trimmings is great for doing the shopping as everything fits in the crate on the front. For other journeys that I do on my own I also have a retro 1980’s race bike inspired model, which is my race horse. When I go in to town with my three kids I use a cargo bike. While the kids do cycle themselves, I don’t let them cycle in town yet. It’s great having them all in front of me where I can see them.

My Dutch bike has everything enclosed so I don’t have to worry about dresses or anything getting caught in the spokes or the chain and I can dress for the destination instead of the journey.  I basically wear what I want for wherever I am going, even high heels and cocktail dresses.

I have very short hair, so after the bike ride to work a wet hand and a rustle through has me looking decent again. Before, when my hair was long, to stop it from getting tangled in the wind I would put a bobbin every 5cm down my ponytail and take them out when I arrived at my destination.

Make sure your bike is suitable for the commute you want to do. There really is no harm in owning an electric bike if your commute is longer, it will make you use the bike more if the effort you have to put in is do-able.

Cycling makes you feel better and relieves stress on your way home after a long day. You will feel better doing it and get fit. A great plus is that your journey times are predictable, you won’t get stuck in traffic like in a car and you won’t have to wait for a bus a train or a Luas (or be stranded when they strike!).

Dress for the weather: Get a nice rain coat that doubles as a dressy coat and don’t forget, it rains more in the Netherlands than it does here and people still use bikes every day there. As the saying goes… we are not made of sugar!”

The Dutch Bike Shop at Willowfield Park, Goatstown, Dublin 14 is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, and until 8pm on Thursdays. Find The Dutch Bike Shop on Facebook and Twitter @DutchBikeDublin.