Amsterdam that is. You can bump (or ride) into someone you know at any moment. Those spontaneous meet ups on your bike are the best, right? Makes up for the random hail storm you just biked through seconds before.
I saw these guys chatting it up, laughing, and recounting some silly story. Some definite bromance going on. Has this happened to you? How many friends have you seen randomly on a single ride or in a day?
This is what sunny Sunday afternoons are for: cycling together. And how do you cycle together? Ask any Amsterdammer and you’ll get a variety of options. Of course there’s the classic side-by-side cycle. Then there’s the other classic double: two people, one bike. Then there’s the more acrobatic version of doubling, standing on the back rack (popular among the youngsters).
What else? How else can you cycle together?
This is one of my favorite streets for shopping, people watching, coffee drinking, and of course cycling. I never tire of watching the stylish peeps riding by. Boots, scarves, beards, berets, colorful bags. Eye candy galore!
Plus, everyone always slows down to look at the shop windows (which are always oh-so enticing). Some people see me taking photos and give a smile. Thanks guys!
Since December passed us by so quickly we are just now getting to share some big news. US-based urban cycling mag, Momentum Magazine, featured our very own Amsterdam Cycle Chic girls in their December issue. Joni and I wrote a brief article with tips about the best cycling city in the world, including a few pointers on “how to cycle like an Amsterdammer”. In the 2-page spread they also featured photos by us — and Aude’s shot of me for last year’s Cyclist of the Month was chosen for the cover! You can still download the December issue here.
We love opportunities like this. Sharing Amsterdam’s unique and amazing – and all so normal at the same time – bike ‘culture’ with the world is one reason this blog exists. So keep on cycling chic, Amsterdam!
We all know that cycling makes us smile. Even in the winter cold, when you and a friend are side by side on bikes (maybe talking about last night’s escapades?) it’s like that chill running up your sleeves just disappears.
Or so we think, right?
Admitted, I am a native French speaker so if you translate the title of today’s post literally, it means: Chicken Daddy. Just like a Chicken Mummy would do with her little ones, this French expression hints at a daddy that is very protective with his kid(s). Very much like this father who seems to be also quite involved in the education/protection of his progeniture.. Vive les ‘papa poule’!
When it comes to cycling the Dutch love to double up. Especially on chilly, wintery days like today, it seems like the only way to get around is to jump on the back on your friend’s bike and snuggle up close. Or hop on a tandem like the adorable cutie-pie in the last pic! Don’t lose those flowers!
Anyone else seeing it everywhere–moustaches and beards galore? It’s amazing. I love this time of year.
One thing I love about cycling in Amsterdam is the elegant chaos on the fietspad. Check out how nice and neat these people look while waiting for the light to change! Have you ever seen this? This looks more like Copenhagen, whereas Amsterdam stop lights are often a bit more chaotic. There’s always that one person who squeezes in the usual two-bike queue!
For the ones living in Amsterdam, yesterday was a heavy day. The sky went dark, the wind started blowing very hard, announcing the storm that brought heavy old trees down. I hope everyone made it safe home..
Curly hair, dirty shoes and plastic bag. Those 2 guys cycling along the Amstel look like they are heading to a party outside, maybe the last one of the season.
On a Saturday afternoon at StarBikes, I met up with Pete Jordan, author of In The City of Bikes, to talk about his book, Amsterdam, and of course, cycling. In The City of Bikes is a memoir-like historical fact book telling the story of Amsterdam’s cycling history and culture. It takes you back to the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, and to the city still filled with bikes we know today.
How long have you been in Amsterdam?
I came to Amsterdam in 2002 to take a one-semester-long urban planning course. 11 years, 8 apartments, and 4 bikes later, I’m still here. I blame the bikes.
Your book is all about the history of cycling in Amsterdam. What’s your favorite bit of history?
I found the war years (WWII) incredibly interesting. Amsterdammers showed a massive amount of resistance to the Germans. And it was something everyone could do: lolly-gag on their bikes in front of an impatient, waiting, honking German car.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
I was enthralled by all the cyclists from day I arrived in Amsterdam and I started asking around for books about it. To my surprise, I found nothing. Cycling is so normal in this city that no one has bothered to write a book about the topic!
And the best or worst thing about cycling in Amsterdam?
I’m still amazing that it keeps growing! Look at the Haarlemmerstraat, the best street in Amsterdam. You’d think all the cyclists going every which way would cause complete chaos–but in fact, it works. My least favorite is tied between the tourists and scooters. Yesterday I saw 2 tourists collide in front of the Rijksmuseum. It’s comical, but also just dangerous.
Any other plans with the book? A sequel? A photo exhibit?
The Dutch version of the book, De Fietsrepubliek, has an excellent photo section unlike the English version. I’m planning to extend the gallery into a book on its own. Now the website is also up and running, and I also offer private tours based on the book. And I’m working on a guide book for cycling tourists that will be out next year.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
A while ago, I started collecting all these loose, often broken bike parts from all over the city. In no time at all, I had almost every piece I needed for a whole bike. I wanted to put all the pieces together, but then I realized: a bike made from broken parts is just a broken bike. So I threw them all away.
For more information about Pete Jordan, his tours, and In The City of Bikes, head to www.cityofbikes.com
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.
Anyone up for short Dutch lesson? I already told you at the time what was an “Opa“. Now let’s talk about the “Oma”: it is the grandma. You may think I love old people, and I do. But I am not the one who invented the expression “Omafiets”. “Fiets” means bike in Dutch so “Omafiets” is a grandma bike. And trust me the Omafiets is the fancy old classic that most of people in Amsterdam are riding on.
One great thing about Amsterdam cycling is hopping on the back of a friend’s bike, or giving someone else a ride. (In other countries, it’s illegal!) The first time I gave someone a ride, I almost fell on my face and broke my friend’s legs. How do you all make it look so easy?!
So when it comes to hitchin’ a ride, who does it better: boys or girls?
Did you see the Pride parade on the canals this Saturday? Those boats were incredible! In between the fabulous drag shows, feathered boas, winged costumes, glitter and glam–some people managed to keep their pants on this weekend at Amsterdam Pride. And when they did, it was nothing but pink!
Born in Afganistan in the 80’s, Massy and his family moved to the Netherlands more than 20 years ago. As a child he discovered the Dutch culture, he learned to cycle straight away and felt in love with this way of moving around. He likes the feeling of being independent on his bike, to be free to go everywhere and to breathe the fresh air.. He never went back to Afghanistan but he is pretty sure the bicycle is not as popular as it is here !
Massy is living in Utrecht. A few months ago, a friend inspired him to start a new business. His friend was selling ice creams on his delivery bike.
He couldn’t stop thinking this idea was very good and would be much appreciated by all the Amsterdammers !
So he just started with one of his mates a new company on wheels : bikeexpress.nl (site still under construction)
They have 2 ice cream delivery bikes, one is mostly cycling in Amsterdam North, while the other one goes around Amsterdam East. They offer our most beloved flavors : vanilla (in pole position !) strawberry and chocolate, or pistache, or lemon, etc
Massy loves selling ice creams. The reason is very simple: he is happy to make people smile. It is related to what makes him happy in life : « to help people in every way I can help ». He is already doing so since a long time as he has worked many years for Amnesty International and other NGOs. He also initiated this nice project ofoundation.nl. Massy’s dream is « to have a positive influence in the development of the human kind ».
I was happy to meet Massy and to taste his delicious ice creams while enjoying the Oosterpark with my little baby.
Let’s see what he will offer us in the winter : broodjes, soup ?
This cycling pose that most young people usually only take to better oversee crowded junctions, is spotted more frequently in the streets of Amsterdam these days. This young man, for example, is obviously trying to put some extra power on the pedals. This might be absolutely crucial if you have to break the timing record on your cycling team’s time trial through the Oosterpark or if you have to climb one of Amsterdam’s many steep bridges that certainly qualify as 4th category climbs. Yes people, these days the Tour de France is on again!
I just loved these blues-brother-like guys, appearing on the borders of the Amstel river. It made me wonder, though: are they just colleagues on their way to have a drink or is this a smart dressed entrepreneur, taking his client out for lunch to one of the nicer restaurants on the borders of the Amstel. In any case, you must have a good deal of self-confidence to sit on the front seat of a bike like this, because a clumsy fall of the bike in front of a fully occupied terrace does not really match with this cool image!
In one week we had many festivities in Amsterdam; on the 30th of April Queensday and the coronation of the new king; on the 4th of May the Remembrance of the Death at Dam square and on the 5th of May both Liberation Day and the championship celebrations of Amsterdam’s football club Ajax.
After all these celebrations, with many people in the streets from all over the world, we are now taking it easy. Just enjoying the city and reliving about all the beautiful festivities.