“Why do we have so many different pairs of shoes and just one pair of glasses?” asks Camiel, our cyclist of the month. Camiel founded Ace&Tate to democratise eyewear. The Amsterdam startup has been named one of the “TOP 100 HOT STARTUPS” by Wired Magazine. So we decided to interview Camiel about his company, cycling to work and his bike.
Cycling to work
Ace&Tate is located on the Overtoom – city centre Amsterdam. The team of around 20 people all cycle to work. “We stay in the city centre, because we want to cycle to work. My colleagues all live in or close to Amsterdam’s city centre. My commutes leads me through the Vondelpark, my favourite cycling spot. I love cutting through runners, skaters and other cyclists. The chaos is what makes Amsterdam the lively city it is.” Ace&Tate’s office is located right above Amsterdam’s first bike café.
Camiel has lived and worked in London and Dublin, in those cities he never cycled: “In Dublin I could have cycled but I lived so close to work and the city centre that I walked everywhere. In London I didn’t feel safe at all on a bike. There is a lot of work to be done in London to make it as bike friendly as here in The Netherlands.”
Camiel cycles a traditional opafiets (Dutch bike) and recently upgraded his bike with a crate on his front carrier. “I use it a lot to bring around our glasses to events or concept stores.” Besides glasses and groceries, a lady’s handbag is often to be found in Camiel’s crate: “When me and my girlfriend go out, we always take one bike. She sits on the back carrier and throws her bag in my crate.”
Ace&Tate eyewear is made by hand in Italy. They sell for: 98 euros (or 89 pounds) per frame, including prescription glasses. Camiel: “Our trick is to cut out the middlemen. That makes our glasses affordable. So you can have different frames for different outfits and occasions. Our dream is that in a few years every European thinks of Ace&Tate when thinking of eyewear.”
- More information on: aceandtate.com.
Amsterdam receives it fair share of precipitation throughout the year, which you get fairly used to the longer you live here. I mean the trade offs are well worth it (just quietly) with our winding canals, cobblestoned streets and unbeatable old world charm, I’m happy to don a fuzzy/soggy hair day now and then.
But us Amsterdammers can get through the last-minute always unpredictable showers pretty simply by a) shielding one’s hair with our hand, b) wrapping our cardigan on our heads or c) un-crumpling our plastic emergency poncho from our pockets whilst not falling over. Easy right?
However turning cycling in the rain into an artform is all about finding the right (stylish) raincoat, mastering the balance of steering whilst carrying your stylish (aerodynamic) umbrella is another thing altogether.
You can add that to my personal bucket list..
Steampunk may be a fantastical and fictional era from the 19th century, but in Amsterdam in 2014 you see all eras combining into one contemporary and amazing milkshake.
I rode passed this copper-coloured beauty and had to turn around and take a better look. Upon closer inspection I discovered a vintage lantern replacing conventional rear-lighting, and an old fashioned horn for alerting fellow pedestrians and cyclists of this beasts stealth approach. This bike also had a small leather chest and camera case (to carry life’s necessities naturally) topping it all off with a skull fixed on the handlebars – to guide the riders journey.
With rise of the popularity of this genre in The Netherlands through alternative festivals here such as Nox Obscura, Gogbot and Emporium Vennesque you may just be seeing some more kooky wheels flying past you in the near future.
Tiago Rosado realized this cool film with badseedfilms
Vitor is a Portuguese bike fanatic who owns and runs Recycled Bicycles here in Amsterdam. Meredith already made Vitor one of our cyclist of the month on our blog, have a look!
Do you match your outfits to your bike? I doubt she meant to, but look at that! Blue and red, with red flowers, bell, and panniers to boot.
There are over 850, 000 bikes in Amsterdam. With these numbers, you want to stand out from the crowd. Us local Amsterdammers do this in many ways – from our baskets and spray jobs (mostly DIY) through to colourful personalised stickers and bells. And just when you thought spokey dokeys were stuck in the 1980’s. No way! The Dutch love pimping their bikes.
Speaking of, if you’re in town on June 1, check out the Fiets Festival (site is in Dutch) happening at Waterlooplein in Amsterdam, where there will be food, cool tunes and a chance to pimp your own bike! Hope to see you there!
Look at that cute little thing! Aw. His little ears flapping in the wind.
Loving. This. Hair.
Have you been to Berlin? Wow, what a city. This weekend I was super impressed with the numbers of cyclists their chic style.
Though the cities are very different, Berliners and Amsterdammers have quite a lot in common when it comes to cycling, also a few new things to learn! So if you’re in Berlin, here’s how to cycle chic. Check it out:
PS. Berlin has their own cycle chic blog, check them out here!
Constructing your own bicycle out of old parts? That’s something Niels Gomperts loves to do, as his two striking, circus-like bicycles illustrate. Actually, Niels is a selfmade handyman who can fix and construct almost anything. And with artists’ blood flowing through his veins, all his creations have an artistic touch.
His beautiful home in the heart of Amsterdam, which seems to be an ongoing creative construction site, represents his bohemian lifestyle. In front of his house, his two bicycles are parked on a bridge.
Cycling all the way to Poland Niels and his friends made a pit stop in Berlin, where they visited a friend with a very colourful collection of bicycles. Returning home Niels couldn’t wait to get started on his own. For both bicycles he used old bicycle-parts, and for the steering wheel of the ‘low-rider’ he ‘borrowed’ his grandmothers walking frame. Nice touch!
Though he doesn’t ride them daily, he does take them out to cruise through the Vondelpark – sometimes accompanied by a sound installation – or go to a cafe. Of course he fell of a number of times, but hey, that’s the best way to learn. Now he can handle just about any moving vehicle.
Niels isn’t just a skilled handyman, he is also an actor and appears on Dutch television and in several movies. He acted in the movies Lena and Shocking Blue, but he is probably best known for his role in Penoza, a fantastic television show about a Dutch mafia family. So Niels is definitely a talented and remarkable individual. If you keep an eye out, you might see him cruising around town with his head in the clouds.