The Times has been thinking about Dutch Bicycles recently. More than their elegant frames and sensible chain guards, the absence of which on most American bikes exemplifies the deep American hostility to city life — biking is a sport over here — the best feature of these bikes is that they make the rider sit perpendicular to the street. American cycling culture is still basically anti-urban. Everyone wears helmets, and must, because the balls of their feet are clipped to the pedals and any speed below twenty-five miles per hour makes them feel pedestrian and diminishes the undoubted sublimity of their thrills. In San Francisco, Chicago, and Brooklyn, supposedly the American urbanists’ urbanisms, the cyclists’ cyclists pedal with their backs parallel to the ground. The Dutch Bicycle, by contrast, is designed for cyclo-flanerie, for the aimless, unsporty civilian. Its riders thrill to the beautiful, not the sublime, even if the beauty of a busy city seen at a not-quite-pedestrian ten miles per hour is a bit unstable.