by Aude and Willem
These guys were definitely ready for the game!
Let me invite you to Amsterdam, to have a look out of my window. Every minute at least one chic cyclist is passing by. Having a Cycle Chic blog in Amsterdam is therefore not too difficult, almost any cyclist is a chic cyclist.
Please enjoy, ten minutes hanging out of an Amsterdam window:
Hope you enjoyed your ten minutes in Amsterdam. Don’t you love the cyclists, the sun and the cyclists’ shadows on the pavement? Please come again soon!
Is it finally time to (really) break out the sun wear? To roll up our sleeves? Leave the heavy coats at home? Wait, wait–maybe even gloves too?!? These Amsterdammers think so. I was convinced spring was never going to come, but with this sunny, 20-degree weather, I think it’s finally here. It’s definitely time to celebrate with a breezy bike ride through my favorite cycling city!
So get out those sexy sunglasses, I think there’s more sun in store…
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?
In Amsterdam people of all ages cycle. Last week we saw ladies with their babies on bikes, we have seen young kids cycling and trendy students. This week we show you chic cyclists with grey hair. Aren’t they stylish and fit? I guess cycling keeps you young!
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!
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!
Now they have released a new bicycle interview, with Alexander Klopping (a tech freak and gadget expert, known from the popular tv show ‘De Wereld Draait Door‘) and Ernst-Jan Pfauth (a Dutch journalist and blogger, known best for his columns on technology in nrc.next).
We encourage you to join Alexander and Ernst Jan on their Sunday cycle through Amsterdam, to see how they met via Twitter, to hear them argue about the demise (or not) of traditional journalism, and to learn some cool Dutch cycling tricks.
The mission of ‘Cycling With…’
“Today’s cities face big problems: polluted air, obese citizens, and social exclusion. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: the bicycle. ‘Cycling With…’ believes that by sharing stories of inspiring people on bikes, we can encourage cities to take pro-cycling action. So we have embarked on a mission to film 100 ‘Cycling with… documentaries’. And to show the world how gloriously easy, fun and sexy a bike ride can be.”
If you want to help, please sign up for their newsletter now.
- Visit the ‘Cycling With…’ blog for more videos
Ok, Friday was the darkest and shortest day of the year–it’s looking up from here on out! Nothing better to brighten up your day with a little leg! Add some hi-tops and a Dutch bike, so chic. ♥
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!”
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 email@example.com
‘Just taking my two bikes out for a cycle’
It has been raining loads in Amsterdam. Which doesn’t stop us from cycling of course. It does make us wet, very wet and it makes the sky grey, very grey.
But, all the water in the streets also creates great scenes for photos, like this one by Ayolt.
In the Cycle Chic Republic it is all about Style over Speed. In Amsterdam it generally is, you do not see that many sporty cyclists in the city that just want to go as fast as possible. What you do see are stylish speedy cyclists. They wear normal clothes, they cycle a Dutch bike, but they are going really fast! Probably late for a date, or just work, or a boring meeting or maybe their kids are waiting to be picked up from school…
“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
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’….
Nice video of cycling in Amsterdam from Paul Rogers from Madison, Wisconsin. He visited Amsterdam for a conference and was amazed by our cycling culture. He made the video in the spring of 2011 with a small Canon VIXIA HF camera.
Can’t wait till it is spring again!