The City bike, or "Stadsfiets" is what we commonly associate with the Dutch... those stately roadsters with their internal gear hubs, full chain cases and fenders, very comfortable riding position, fender skirts, and generator lights which are all standard equipment.
Most are fitted with 28 inch wheels and tyres which are really high volume 700c's although there are 26 inch wheeled versions and old English bikes used an over sized 28 inch wheel and tyre that is even larger than a 27 inch wheel.
These bikes roll through potholes and handle rough roads extremely well.
This is an Omafiets or lady's bike...
The English also made their own versions of the city bike and their domestic bikes tended to be set up in a nearly identical manner with full chain cases and with older models being fitted with rod brakes. Export models often had half chain guards to meet weight requirements and the full chain case has yet to be embraced by many North Americans.
My 1948 Rudge is a classic example of a British roadster... as an export model it came with half guard and also has rod brakes.
Times change and although the Dutch still make their traditional heavy roadsters (they are still very popular) many companies are building modernized versions of the stadsfiets and these new city bikes are marketed and sold alongside modern hybrids.
Thanks to wikpedia for these images...
Breezer makes the well reviewed Uptown 8 and they recently upgraded this already outstanding bicycle by adding a full chain case. My better half rides an Uptown 8 and has ridden it in excess of 10,000 miles... she has also had it retrofitted with a full chain case.
Pashley Cycles of England still makes a classic city bike / roadster that is meticulous in it's craftsmanship and utterly beautiful to behold and ride.
These bikes do cost more than the typical hybrid with prices ranging from about $800.00 to almost $2000.00 for higher end models... when you consider that the Pashley is hand built in England and sells for around $1400.00 it really isn't that bad a deal.
The Breezer has been described as the best commuter bicycle in North America and comes with an $1100.0 price tag but like all city bikes the only other thing you will need to ride is a helmet and your street clothes.
From a riders and mechanics perspective I love the traditional city bike... with a full chain case and internal hub chain life can be multiplied 6 fold because it is not exposed to the elements and internal gear hubs are tops when it comes to all weather riding and long life.
For many the set back riding position is unmatched for sheer comfort and this is what these bikes were designed for... pure unadulterated riding comfort.
They are heavier than your typical North American bicycle and modern versions have wider range hubs to give them a better gear range for climbing and better road speed... some are even being fitted with NuVinci continuously variable drives.
I hope you enjoyed my ramblings...