Prague and other Czech cities have now joined other major world cities – such as London, Berlin, New York and Sydney – with the recent arrival of a store selling the renowned Tokyobike. These easy riding bicycles are being sold in the Czech Republic by the company URBANE. The bikes themselves have been specially designed for urban lifestyles. As Urbane’s co-owner Václav Stránský says: "mountain bikes are designed for mountainous terrain, the Tokyobike was designed for Tokyo city traffic – the brand’s name says it all.”
What makes these Tokyobikes special? To start with, there are the “Tokyo Slow” wheels, which have been designed for comfort rather than speed. The goal is to make riding a Tokyobike even easier on city streets. These wheels have a diameter of just 26 inches, which is smaller than standard bicycle wheels. The biggest advantage is that when you want to navigate around the city and move through traffic, these reduced diameter wheels mean you can do so more smoothly with improved acceleration and maneuverability.
How did you come up with the idea of opening up a shop selling these Tokyobike designer bicycles?
"It was very spontaneous and the idea literally just fell from the sky. It was all just by chance, a real coincidence. In 2013, my wife and I had taken a trip to Bangkok, Thailand and in moving around the city, we ended up one time right in front of the local Tokyobike store. These bikes were something totally new to both of us and we had to go in and take a look. And, I guess I could say it was ‘love at first sight’! The look was very distinctive and refined and it clearly put function ahead of form. These bikes were very Japanese looking, appearing uncluttered and minimalist and very beautiful. The color schemes and attention to detail were outstanding. You sit on the molded saddle seat and there is almost a Zen-like calm enveloping you. These bikes seemed to be the perfect solution for frantic urban living.”
"Our most typical customers are people who are design and lifestyle conscious – these would include architects, designers of all types and people in fashion. Our buyers can also be environmentally conscious – people who see cycling as part of the future of around-town transportation. There are also foreigners living in Prague who bring an urban bicycle lifestyle with them and they are looking for just the right bike to use here. We have a rather diverse range of customers.”
"Yes of course. I was proud of my classic burgundy color children's bike. It had black wheels, a long black seat with a high back support, which made it easy to get a hold of. Initially, it also had additional training wheels that made a unique strumming sound when I was riding on asphalt. The bike grew up with me and became an integral part of my life."
Having talked with Václav about these Tokyobikes, I had to give one a try. The bike certainly lived up to my expectations and it was a very pleasant surprise to be able to put my foot on the pedal and realize I hadn’t forgotten how to ride. It was a warm summer day and yes, I felt a breeze against my face. The bike provided an amazingly smooth and comfortable riding experience. I really didn’t want to get off. I was having such a great time enjoying this way of seeing part of the city. But all things do need to come to an end. The Tokyobike lifestyle is highly recommended.