Road bikes vs city bikes: how Utrecht portrays its cyclists

In the build-up to the Tour de France Grand Départ on 4 July, Utrecht is organising activities to promote cycling and to present itself as a cycling city. For example, they’re publishing a series of portraits of Utrecht cyclists. What kind of bicycles do they have?

Out of 67 bicycles portrayed so far, no fewer than 26 are road bikes, and only 13 are city bikes. Among both categories, about half the bicycles are made of steel. The steel road bikes aren’t the ones with rusty chains you see in the streets (for example in Amsterdam), but well-maintained classic road bikes, including a mixte women’s bike, and hand-made designer bikes.

There’s also a velomobile (I’m not really into recumbents but this one looks cool), a Pedersen floating saddle bike and a bough bike.

Utrecht could have chosen to show lots of old city bikes, and a few newish Cortina or Sparta imitation cargo and grandma bikes with brown comfort saddles, which is more or less what Utrechters use for their daily trips (check the videos by Mark Wagenbuur). But of course, the point of the portraits isn’t to show the average Utrecht bicycle. Rather, they paint a picture of Utrecht cyclists as diverse, generally sort of hip people with fast bikes.


Some portraits describe or show several bicycles. If they are of different types, I’ve counted them separately. The classification of bicycles isn’t always straightforward; for example, in a few cases it’s unclear whether a bicycle should be classified as touring or city bike. The analysis is based on portraits 100 through 40; the rest was yet to be published at the time of analysis. Download the data here.