Pas geleden ontvingen we bericht van Marty, een liefhebber van Nederlandse klassiekers. Niet zo gek, natuurlijk, behalve dat Marty zich aan de andere kant van de grote plas die wij Atlantische oceaan noemen bevindt.
Hoe het zo gekomen is, vertelt hij zelf het best:
Back in the early 80’s while everyone was lusting after Italian bikes I happened into a local bike shop run by Chris Meerman, I not knowing too much asked after something italian, Chris dismissed the idea and asked if I knew about Dutch bikes. At the time all I knew was a Gazelle that a friend had back in 1973! Chris rode a Zieleman, and let me take his bike out for a test ride. I was dumbfounded that a bike could be so right. The shop also had Batavus and I believe a few RIHs, but the Zieleman was the bike for me.
As I was newly married and had a newborn son money was tight so I went off to try and figure out how I was going to save for one. By the time I had enough money I went back and there was someone else running the shop who told me Chris had passed away during a race, and all of the good Frames were gone. The shop closed shortly after that. As hard as I looked I could never find a Zieleman in my size. I found a post on roadbike review about someone restoring a Zieleman and I contacted the owner, we traded a few emails and he told me he knew of an old Zieleman for sale, my size for €15,00 so I bought it, unfortunately it took 3 additional years to get it to me. In the interim I made friends with someone from Rotterdam and he found me the 1975 RIH I have as well as the Jan de Reus. His neighbor bought a Remy for the parts and as the frame was too small for him sent it to me. I got my second Zieleman a few months back, after responding to a Marktplaats advert. The owner didn’t know what to do with an old rusting frame, I’m in the process of repainting it, I’m just waiting for the decals to arrive.
I’ve ridden a lot of bikes, from entry level to custom builds, and I’ve never found a bike that rides better than my Zieleman. Each of my Dutch bikes rides differently, the Reus was very quick, the RIH a good all rounder but a little staid. The Zieleman just eats up the road, and truthfully I don’t know why. Ko sure made magic of those steel tubes.