I have a new commute that is hilly and mostly off-road, instead of my previous flat all paved one. I don't think my Dutch bike is suited to this, but I LOOOOOOOVE it so much. I never really enjoyed cycling before I got it. Is there a better suited bike that will make me equally happy?
This is my new commute
. Pic 1
. Pic 2
. Pic 3
. (Note that what Google maps shows as paths through the various areas of parkland are actually often the dirt tracks seen in the above photos).
This is my current bicycle
. (Gazelle, three (internal) gears, hub brakes, dynamo lights, fenders, full chain guard, super heavy, comfortable seat, upright riding position.) I love all those features a lot. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't designed for the above conditions.
I'm guessing my best options are (a) trade it in for a mountain bike or similar or (b) trade it in for a similar Dutch bike with more than 3 gears, and stick to roads instead of the cross-country route. The roads aren't anywhere near as pleasant as the cross-country option, and it's not much faster, either, but at least I could still ride a similarly awesome bicycle.
My only experience with mountain bikes in the past has been riding second hand ones on-road, so not really treating them the way they are designed to be treated. I kind of hated them, but maybe I'd love them more if I was using them cross-country?
Given that I love all the above-listed features of my current bicycle, what sort of mountain bike am I likely to be happy with? Is there another option besides a mountain bike that could handle the sort of commute I would be doing?