Eustacia Meets Frida

Today Eustacia Vye (my Pashley Pricess) met up with her new friend Frida, the fetching Batavus Fryslan that belongs to Margonaute of ZOMGBicycles.

Margo and I tagged along and sat at an outdoor cafe while the bikes frolicked nearby.

The Batavus Fryslan is a very pretty and comfortable bike. It is a higher-end model than the Old Dutch I tested last summer. It was getting dark and impossible to take decent shots, but Margo has more pictures of this bicycle on her weblog. Especially nice are the shots from last weekend's Tweed Ride - Frida looked so elegant with her owner's stunning outfit!

Despite their differences in wheel size (28" on the Batavus Fryslan vs. 26" on the Pashley Princess), we were surprised to note how similar Frida and Eustacia looked, including their overall proportions. My handlebars are set quite a bit lower, but that was an intentional modification on my part. Margo prefers hers higher. The bicycles also have matching cream tires, matching Brooks B66S saddles, and matching Wald rear folding baskets. So cute to see them together like this!

One really cool thing about Frida is the DIY handlebar bag. It is a small leather purse, with the strap wrapped around the flat part of the bars.

Here you can see the handlebar attachment. A simple and elegant idea that shows you don't necessarily need to spend tons of money on bike-specific accessories.

At the end of the evening, Margo test-rode my bike while I carefully tried hers on for size (Frida is new and I was too worried about her well-being to ride her on the street).

Margo on my Pashley. She is slightly taller than I am, so ideally the saddle would be raised.

My own impression is that the fit of the two bikes is similar, but the Batavus has somewhat more relaxed angles. Weight-wise, the Batavus is a bit heavier. They are both nice bikes, with the main differences being the fork crowns, the wheel size, the lighting systems, and the shape of the handlebars. If you are choosing between a Pashley and a Batavus, I'd really suggest test-riding each.

Here is to lovely bicycles and to lovely bicycle friendships!


  1. A very timely post for Fiona at Girl Can Bike. She's leaning towards purchasing a Pashley but my hubby suggested that she try the Fryslan that they have at the store since she is about 5'8". Batavus bikes have a wider wheel base (the wheels are farther apart) compared to a Pashley, so people who are taller may enjoy the Batavus more than Pash. Longer limbs would enjoy the spaciousness and cruiser-style ride.Willl tell Fiona to check out your post :)
    P.S. Sounds like a lovely meet-up! Love Margo's red shoes.

  2. Everything about this was the best! Frida is like Eustacia's cousin from the Continent (wooden shoes instead of oxfords?). In any case, they were so adorable together.

    And I see from the last photo with the Pashley that you were right-- my giant bruise does kind of match my outfit!

  3. As Judy mentioned what a timely post:) I'm off to test ride a Fryslan this weekend so make some sort of decision on my next bike.

    I had test rode the medium sized Pashley but I still felt slight cramped, though I have short legs I'm still fairly tall overall so maybe the Fryslan will be perfect for me:)

    The Pash and Fryslan look great together and seemed to have become fast friends:)


  4. Eustacia and Frida seem like very appropriate names for two sophisticated, genteel women about town. I wonder if your bike would have evolved differently if you had named her Blanche or Henrietta or Maude.

    I have a single-speed mountainbike named Brandeen. I don't think Eustacia and her are ever likely to meet. Brandeen spends alot of her time looking for trouble at an abandoned quarry or cutting across yards in the bad side of town. Most of her friends are the bikes of hardcore offroadies and alleycat racers, I really shouldn't hang out with her so much. She's definately trouble... If she would tolerate polite company long enough to have a conversation I can't imagine what she would have to talk about with Frida and Eustacia. Certainly not clothes, I'd like to see someone try to get her into a chaingaurd let alone fenders... Her idea of luggage is a spare tube with a rubberband around it stuffed under her seat. She'd probably try to bum a cigarete before sloping off to chat up some raggedy underage BMX bike. I need some nicer bikes...

  5. I love the bag and especially how she's attached it. I have a box full (literally) of little handbags and such that I've picked up thrifting with the intention of turning them into bike bags. So far, I've only done one - the easiest one, which is so typical of me. Maybe this will inspire me!

  6. Fiona - Please report back when you try the Fryslan! Are you also considering the larger sized Pashley?

    Spindizzy - I don't know though, Eustacia is one of those bikes who looks innocent but is really trouble. I always catch her smoking and talking to dangerous-looking male bikes. She is sneaky.

  7. Fiona: I just posted some brief thoughts about how I felt the Pashley compared to my Fryslan that you might possibly find helpful. Obviously, this is very unscientific and nothing replaces your own test ride; but I know I always liked reading these things, especially while bike shopping!

  8. Re sizing - One thing I never understood is why American bike shops never seem to have the larger sized Pashleys in stock. Almost every time I read descriptions of test-rides, the person is trying either the tiny 17" model or the medium model - and the bike is often too small for them. The 3 sizes are a benefit of the Pashley, since the Dutch bikes usually come in just 1 or 2, but it's crucial to try the right size. If you are 5'8" I would suggest trying the 22" Pashley.

  9. It could just be the geometry of the Pashley. I have little understanding of bicycle geometry but I recently rode the 20 inch frame to see if I wanted to trade up from the 17 and was surprised to discover that the size made very little difference to the general feeling of the bicycle (for me -- at 5'3" this might be because I am right between sizes). I was trying the larger frame because I want to install a front-mounted child carrier on my bike. I still love the bicycle and it was helpful to know that the frame size didn't make a dramatic difference to me. I just need a bike with more relaxed geometry to mount the bobike mini in a way that's comfortable for me. Constant refinements related to changing needs blah blah.

    Nice bike, Margo!

  10. Hmmm... Okay then, I must just have a freakishly short torso and shouldn't comment at all! The proportions of the Pashley feel just right for my upper body, whereas the proportions of the Dutch bikes I've tried (Gazelle, Batavus and Azor) not so much. What's even more weird though, is that despite feeling too long for me, the handlebars on the Dutch bikes hit my body if I turn them too much. On the Pashley this does not happen. I too am mystified by bike geometry; no matter how much I learn about it, there seems to be more I don't understand.

  11. I agree with you that the Dutch bikes are way more crowded in the way the handlebars come back (I am also short of torso) but I think maybe the relaxed angles of head and seat tubes creates more space in the place where a front-mounted child seat would go? I don't feel crowded on my Pashley without the baby seat at all. I just expected to feel like there was a lot more space on the 20 inch bike and there wasn't -- I attribute this to geometry because I don't know much!

    I like a Dutch bike a lot once I am on it but I find I need something a bit more nimble for NYC.

  12. Aw, in person you looked hardly deformed at all! :) To be fair, though, I have a particularly long torso (many inches hidden in those high-waisted shorts!), so that may account for some of my handlebar preferences. Anyway, short torso = Balanchine ballerina; whereas long torso = ill-fitting bathing suits. I think you win that one!

  13. neighbortease - Though this was not one of the reasons I chose Pash over Dutch, in retrospect I also realise that I would *not* be able to handle the bit of extra weight. The Pashley is already borderline too heavy for me to carry up and down my porch stairs, and I curse at it constantly. Oh and it totally makes sense that a slacker headtube angle would cause the sweep of the handlebars to make contact with my hips, good point. My vintage DL-1 has obscenely slack angles as well, but the vintage English handlebars are tiny compared to the modern Dutch ones and don't reach my body.

    margonaute - Short torso also equals protruding tummy as soon as one is not ballerina-thin. All that fat tissue has nowhere to distribute itself!

  14. Reading these posts has intrigued me about the differences between Pash. and Batavus riding. So I asked hubby for his thoughts which I'm condensing, so I apologise if it soundsw little weird!
    Batavus bikes have a longer wheel base so they are longer compared to Pashleys. The Fryslan was made specifically for the N/A market and is designed to travel longer distances and up hillsides whie still maintaining the comfort and enjoyment of its classic geometry. It's more relaxed and not as upright than a Pashley.
    Pashleys are built to ride very upright compared to the Batavus. In fact the bigger Pashleys are fortified with a double top tube for extra strength and rigidity. Whereas Batavus are generally tall and long, Pashleys are extremely tall with a shorter wheel base. Of course I completely agree with you all...try both and see which bike geometry fits your body's geometry!
    My Sovereign fits me wonderfully (I am 5'1" and I ride the 17.5" frame). Although I'm currently trying out different cyclocross bikes for winter commuting and for times when I feel the need for speed!

  15. Judy - I was expecting a big difference in wheelbase, but side by side they looked surprisingly similar. More similar than the Pashley looks in comparison to other Dutch bikes, as well as to my vintage Raleigh. Also, I don't think that the female (loop frame) and male (diamond frame) Pashleys can be put in the same category, as they have different proportions and wheel sizes. The difference is clearly visible when I compare my Princess to my husband's Roadster - which I am pretty sure has a longer wheelbase and possibly slacker angles.

  16. Velouria~

    If there is a Large frame tomorrow when I go in then I'll try the largest size Pashley too. In my reality I'll be able to try both tomorrow in reality reality probably will have to just try the Fryslan.
    I think my biggest problem is that I'm still plus sized to I want to make sure that Im not feeling like I'm riding a clown trike..that was one of the reason I vetoed any of the more modern step through frame...I do have shorter legs but a slightly longer torso and monkey arms:)

    Hopefully either the Large Pashley or the Fryslan will be a winner as I think hubby is getting tired of my indecision:)

    Will post a review on my blog as soon as I can


  17. What a dreamy pair of bikes--clearly the start of a beautiful friendship.

    neighbourtease--love your name!

  18. Re Pashley hommes et femmes. A really sweet old man cycled up to me on his Roadster sovereign last week and we compared bikes next to each other. I hadn't had a chance to really see the angles next to before because all the roadsters I've seen have been the larger sizes and didn't line up properly for a comparison. This man was only a couple of inches taller than me and had the 20 in Roadster and when I looked at our bikes they really didn't look related at all in terms of geometry.

    I also think my Pashley rides more like my old Raleigh ladies sports than anything else I've ridden. Really it feels like a heavier, better-constructed, loop-frame version of this bike. I would not be surprised at all to learn that the Sports was its inspiration. Particularly because the current incarnation of the ladies Pashley seems to have been conceived relatively recently.

    I was also truly amazed at how much lighter the Retrovelo Paula was than my Pashley. It can't really be more than five or six pounds but the handling was utterly different and it felt much faster.

    Ok sorry for rambling -- this is a current obsession of mine.

    good luck in your search to Fiona.

  19. "I also think my Pashley rides more like my old Raleigh ladies sports than anything else I've ridden. Really it feels like a heavier, better-constructed, loop-frame version of this bike. I would not be surprised at all to learn that the Sports was its inspiration."

    I agree. But I have a feeling that what they actually did was use an older model Raleigh loop frame (pre-DL1), which, oddly, had a geometry similar to the Sports but heavier. I say this, because the 1936 Raleigh Lady Roadster I wrote about earlier has more in common with the modern Pashley Princess than with the Raleigh DL-1. Okay, I know - I am beginning to sound like one of those bike history geeks now. I was obsessed about this topic too for a while! (However, I am now 100% at peace with my Pashley after the latest changes I made.)

    As for the Retrovelo Paula, oddly I did not find it lighter than the Pashley Princess when I tried it in Vienna, not at all.

  20. I love a bike history geek. That is soo interesting about Pashley lineage! And thanks, Sarah! Homage to Mitford -- and to my excrutiatingly hip neighbors.

  21. Bike geometry is funny in a lot of ways, what works for one person may not work for another similarly sized person. As far as longer a matter of 1/2" length in the wheel base can make all the difference in the world. I have ridden bikes that were the same on paper but rode totally different. I have also ridden two different bikes that were the same size and model but they handled differently, perhaps one frame was tweaked a bit?

    The best bet is to ride as many different bikes as possible and get the one you like, you can make some adjustments to stem, handlebars and seat posts, but the basic fit is what you need to be comfortable with.

    Love the pictures (as usual) and finding yet another blog to follow that shows "normal" people riding bikes.


  22. Love to read all of these comparisons--makes me feel as if I have to try out a lot more bikes! Currently adjusting to my '48 ladies Sports which I love (though darn it--one day I will have a loop frame) but curious to see how it compares to others.

    neighbourtease--we dog-eared Mitford growing up! Love those books...

  23. Velouria~

    I finally test rode the Fryslan today and also the medium framed Pashley again (they were sold out of the largest frame) and though I not well versed in the technical aspects of comparing the two I did feel much more comfortable on the Pashley than I did the fryslan. I am not sure it was the handlebars or what but in the end I felt much better on the Pashley and will be buying one now:) I also didn't feel squashed at all this time around on the medium frame..I also put up pictures on my blog:)


  24. These pictures came out great! Looks like a good time - fun girls, fun bikes, fun blogs and fun red shoes. What more could one ask for? :)

  25. they both look lovely together, im also surprised how they look so similar. one of these two bikes, i'm currently thinking of buying. i haven't seen a fryslan in person yet (the store here only has od), i was wondering if you know if has the same not fully lug frame as the old dutch?? read your review of the OD and that is something i noticed that bothered me too. thanks :)


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