The Dutch take picnicking to a whole new level. Once the sun comes out, it’s like entire kitchens are brought to the park! And the best way to get to the park is of course by bike! The Vondelpark was packed with picnickers this weekend. Where were you picnicking this weekend?
by Aude and Willem
Yesterday was a whirlwind of parties all over the city and what was the best way to get there? By bike of course. How did you flaunt your flair on your bike? Here are six ways some Amsterdammers showed their orange pride.
Hey! Where are you going with that leek?! Come to my house and cook! Where ever this handsome chap is heading, looks like he’ll be sharing a lovely meal.
Any groceries in your bike basket today?
PS. Thanks to Joni for snapping up this pic!
You probably already noticed it on our blog, but to have a crate on the front of your bike is really trendy in Amsterdam! Hardly any cute baskets in the streets just cool and sturdy crates, in different colours, sometimes branded or full of stickers. What do you think of this trend?
Over the long weekend, I headed to Spain for some much-needed R&R. I found some super chic folks using Barcelona’s Bicing bike-share system. Then over in San Sebastian, great weather allowed for some smiling riders. What a fantastic city with cycle paths that rival Amsterdam’s for sure!
Please meet Vitor, a Portuguese bike fanatic who owns and runs Recycled Bicycles here in Amsterdam. He grew up in Lisbon and has been BMX riding since he could pedal a bike. I meet him at his workshop on Spuistraat one rainy day to chat about his shop and his passion for bikes.
How did you end up here in Amsterdam?
I came here for a visit in the early 90s and loved the cycling culture. In ’96 a friend of mine was living here, so I crashed at his place for a month and really got to know the city. I moved here shortly after.
When did you start up Recycled Bicycles?
In around 2002, I was sick of the menial jobs I was doing at the time, tired of working for someone else too. Since I’m a BMX rider I’ve always been around bikes–I love fixing up my own bike and I was already helping out friends too. So I started up the shop to build bikes in 2003. We’ll be celebrating 10 years next month!
Where do get all the parts of the bikes?
When I opened the shop, I built all the bikes from abandoned parts on the streets.But one day, the police came knocking on my door and told me I couldn’t use the abandoned parts from the street or in the trash–that it’s illegal to go through the trash and take home parts of bikes. So now I have to buy the bikes from the Gemeente, like everyone else. I wish they had a better system for the small businesses like mine; I’m competing with so many larger businesses that have much more money.
What is the bike culture like in Lisbon?
Different from Amsterdam, but growing every day. There are many more people on bikes now–not just for exercise, they are going from A to B. One day we’ll see some fietspad in Lisbon…
Do you have other hobbies besides BMX and building bikes?
I also play bike polo. It’s a tight-knit sport right now, just a small group of us here in Amsterdam play, but it’s gaining momentum. I also want to get more into long-distance riding. I did a ride from Paris to Lisbon, and it was an epic journey. I want to do it again, but on a fixed gear bike this time.
Thank you Vitor! Keep on building those bikes.
Now there’s a chic cyclist-in-training!
But really, Amsterdam, who’s ready for spring?! I know I am.
I’m always super impressed by what Amsterdammers carry while peddling a human-powered machine. Weaving through cars, alongside trams, riding with one (or no hands!), talking on their phones, listening to music–and schlepping all kinds of stuff with them at the same time, too. In the past few months we’ve seen people on their bikes carrying planks of wood, sleds, Christmas trees, and of course their babies. And despite the terrible weather, they all make it look so easy breezy.
There are all types of baskets out there. You’ve got the classic crate in wood or plastic. The Albert Heijn winkelmandje is always a nice one to see (how do you steal a shopping basket?!). There’s the removable baskets, too. I’ve seen some nice vintage wire baskets. And the huge wicker baskets that have a handy lid, those are fantastic.
The widespread use of the bike basket, to me, is yet another reminder of how utilitarian the bicycle is for Dutch society, and really for any society. It’s not only a means of transportation; it’s a way of life. It’s so ingrained into daily life that of course (!) we use our bike to get groceries, purchase planks of wood, take our kids sledding, buy Christmas trees, and for anything else we have planned for the day. In fact, it makes no sense to do it any other way.
Do you have a great photo of a bike basket, with something crazy in it? Post it to our Facebook page, we’d love to see it!
What happened to all the snow?! I was just getting used to the slip n’ slide riding on the snowy streets. Nevertheless, the terrible wind and rain didn’t stop any Amsterdammers today. It’s almost like nothing can stop these people from riding their bikes!
It’s never too late to go out there on your bike and get back home with the last tree from the very friendly Californian Christmas-tree-man located on Marie Heinekenplein.
Season greetings, the ACC Team.
Today our blog is 1 year old! Let’s celebrate it and choose the best picture of the year…all 4 of us (Joni, Else, Meredith and Aude) picked our 2 favorite pictures. Now it is your turn to choose your favorite one among our selection and enter the contest:
Have you made your choice? Please let us know (comment below) or on facebook.
You may be the lucky one winning this saddle cover! There are 3 saddle covers to win, we will pick randomly 3 people who shared their choice with us..so don’t miss it, you have until Friday 21st december!
Last weekend I took a ride through Amsterdam with Dr. Steven Fleming, an academic, theorist, and urban planning philosopher with a knack for cycling. His recent book Cycle Space, like his blog and twitter feed, closely inspects the relationship between architecture and cycling. He was in town for the (wildly successful) Rotterdam Urban Bike Night, hosted by the NAI.
We had a great ride from the Station to Java Eiland, to Brouwerij ‘t IJ, then around Oost, and wound up on Utrechtsestraat–at my favorite herring stand. The whole time we talked about bikes and the future of cities.
My favorite quote from him went something like this, and say it with a really thick Australian accent: “Cycling here is like a hand-me-down blanket from your Oma–it’s ancient, but you love it and you can never get rid of it!”
Ed is born in Assendelft. He moved with his sweet wife Ellie to Amsterdam in the 60’s where they got 3 daughters. Ed retired 8 years ago after having served as a social worker for 30 years. Next to his work, Ed has always been a big collector. He used to pile baskets on his bakfiets and cycle all over Amsterdam, looking for pieces of bikes, etc.
As you can see, both house and bicycle storage contain huge collections of all kinds of items Amsterdammers ever left on the street…
One day, Ed and his wife were asked by their daughter to look after her newborn twins: Ines and Sofia. Ed’s daughter is a graphic designer and works full time from home. She is very good by the way, see here.
As they live on opposite sides of Amsterdam, Ed had to find a solution to go and get Ines and Sofia twice a week.
So 1,5 year ago, Ed decided to give a new life to his bakfiets. He removed the pile of baskets and made this unique creation to carry this precious duo:
The bakfiets itself is actually older than Ed himself! But, as Ed likes to put it: «this sort of quality is nowhere to be found anymore these days».
As you can imagine, they do not go unnoticed. Many tourists as well as locals have already got a snap of them!
This is a picture he took of another of his daughters with some more grandkids:This bakfiets has a nice story :Translation : «The story started with my friend Henk. A long time ago he made a bakfiets in the form of a bible. He used to cycle around Amsterdam with it for years. He also set up the bakfietsclub of Amsterdam. I became myself the chairman, secretary and treasurer. Henk passed away a few years ago. It seemed that his last wish was to be buried in his bible. So we drove him in his bakfiets to his last resting place. Henk’s daughters offered me the undercarriage of the bakfiets. In his attic, Henk still kept a float of a waterplane;just to have something to sail away with, in case a deluge would ever occur. We have then installed the float on the bakfiets and it is still on it today.» Ed Koomen.
Ed never had a car, he is a member of the cyclist union Fietsersbond. He is a real Dutch man; healthy and happy to cycle! Inspired by the Roman times, his motto is «veni, vidie, fietsie».
Ines and Sofia : enjoy the ride!
PS : As it’s never too late to start learning Dutch, here you go: Opa = grandfather and bakfiets = delivery bike
A few weeks ago our friends from Cycling with (Paddy from Dublin and Philip from Amsterdam) shot some short videos of cyclists in Amsterdam. It was a beautiful sunny autumn weekend. Starring in one of the videos is our own blogger Meredith. In the video she tells you about her experiences of living in the Netherlands, about cycling policies and who she would love to carry on her back carrier. You can also see how pretty Amsterdam is in autumn.
Cycling with… is a blog that focuses on the social side of cycling. Paddy and Philip interview people while cycling around in their city. In the interviews a broad range of topics is covered. Want to know more and see what kind of cool filming technique they use? Check out their cycling blog!
This weekend is your last chance to send in pictures for the Music & Bikes competition to win a Hotelfietsbel. So we thought we might give you some more inspiration with these pictures of Amsterdam cyclists.
To win a Hotelfietsbel (hotel bike bell), the coolest bell in Amsterdam, you can post your pictures of Music & Bikes to our Facebook wall, our Flickr Group, or just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a new bag in town. A bag designed to lift the weight (of your grocery-filled) bag from your shoulders onto your bike. The bag is made from recycled material by Demano in Barcelona and the Cycle Chic team decided to take it for a testcycle. The test didn’t just last for a day; it is now a permanent accessory on one of our bicycles.
This colourful bag is made of second hand material and may remind you of Freitag bags. We were impressed by it since it’s a cool counterpart to the much used bicycle crate. You can easily clip it onto your bike’s handlebars (after installing a clip-on system) and even lock it so the bag won’t get ripped from your bike. The sizes vary, but the Tibidabo bag we used can easily fit your gym-necessities, picnic goods, your laptop and other daily stuff.
A big advantage is that, compared to a bike crate or basket, you never have a problem manoeuvring your bike into a bicycle rack as, obviously, the bag follows you everywhere. Another advantage is that it resists the rain, which, in a rainy city is Amsterdam, is very important!
But there’s also (as always) a small disadvantage: when using it as a handbag, the shape is kind of strange; the round metal bracing makes it rather big and round (kind of like carrying a basket as a handbag). With the smaller bags you might not encounter this problem. Besides this small remark, Cycle Chic thinks this bag would definitely be a great addition to Amsterdam’s cycling culture.
It’s a project based on the combination of environmental awareness and design, using several recycled materials. It started with the purpose of using discarded advertising material – PVC, polyester – from banners promoting exhibitions, festivals and cultural events.
All Demano bags are one of a kind. The pictures are only a reference. The design of each bag depends on what banner has been used in its making, so you can choose if you prefer them to be more colourful or else to have more solid colours. Anyway, depending on stock, you could ask for a whole collection of bags made from the same banner.
Order your Demano bag at Citybici
I wonder how this Italian lady goes back up the hill!
“The colour we use most is red, because we like our bikes to stand out. Not only because they are cool looking, unique, retro style bicycles, but we hope that people that cycle them want to make a statement. A statement of sustainability. That is why in Amsterdam the greenest bike is red.”
We are talking to one of the founders of Roetz bikes, Tiemen ter Hoeven. After having worked at a big consultancy firm for years Tiemen found his calling: starting a bicycle brand of sustainable bicycles. Roetz bikes are green and social: “We select the best steel frames from bicycles that are not used anymore and turn them into new, fancy looking bikes. All the parts we use are as sustainable as possible and many parts are of recycled material, like the crates made out of pallets from the Amsterdam harbour. We get the used frames from the city council and they are reproduced for us in a sheltered workshop.”
Roetz is a young and quickly growing business. Last August they sold their first bicycle and now their bikes are sold through 35 dealers in the Netherlands.
- Are you a bicycle dealer (in the Netherlands or somewhere else) interested in selling Roetz bikes? Contact Mark or Tiemen
- Check out Roetz’ website
- Follow Roetz on Facebook
The final video that our friends from Hungarian Cycle Chic made of our city.
Thanks! It makes us love Amsterdam even more.
This weekend our friend Áron from Hungarian Cycle Chic visited the Netherlands. He made this cool video of rush hour in Amsterdam’s city centre. Check out all the people chatting, making phone calls and rushing to work. You can also clearly see how popular the bicycle crate is in the Netherlands. The Mr Visserplein, where the video was shot, isn’t what you call the most beautiful spot in Amsterdam, but for Áron it was ‘Heaven’….