Biking doesn’t always need to be a solo venture. So grab a pal and take them along with you on the back “baggage drager” style, mentor your little one or simply walk back from adventures side by side with your royal steed and best friend.
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..
In Amsterdam, everybody finds his own way around. It’s a happy chaos sometimes. Amsterdammers are used to it, especially in the city center where the chance to bump into a friend is big!
The American colours flew high and proud on this warm summers night in Amsterdam.
Friday evening brought together sunshine, bbq-ing, some friends and soccer (it is world cup season after all) in Amsterdam. I bumped into the friendly guys at Hygge Life (pronounced Hoo-ga life) who cycled their pimped up poffertje bak-fiets to the local park full of their spiffy cooking gear and delicious gourmet ingredients – and were ready to serve all the peckish patrons in the park. You can turn a bicycle into a thriving business it seems!
Alex and her partner Koen, both itty-bitty-pancake-poffertje masterchefs are warming up their gas cookers and Hygge bus engine for a 3 month road trip around Europe enjoying the summertime and making poffertjes for locals and holidayers along the way. A trip of a lifetime!
For all you readers around Spain and France..keep your eye out for these delicious little pancakes!
..good luck guys!
Because cycling is a way of living here, bikes are used for all purposes. So if you need to deliver several cartons or a huge amount of dresses, you just climb on your bike and look concentrated, or not !
The weather is warming up in Amsterdam and you can smell the sweet scent of summer in the air! This means spending more time outside, taking your royal steed (or any type of wheels such as skateboards, rollerskates and rollerblades) and zooming around parks with friends. You can simply laze about and enjoy a picnic until the sun is gone (which for this time of year is as late as 11pm).
My favourite Park in Amsterdam is Vondel Park. It’s located right in the centre of the city therefore super accessible by bike. It has pretty lakes, lots of space for cycling, chilled out cafes, inspiring tracks to run off your stroopwafels, a zillion entrances and areas for all sorts of general meandering.
So pack that bike crate full of snacks, your favourite bottle, some sunscreen.. and of course your favourite people to share in the sunshine. Happy Summer!
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.
Getting to and from work is usually a bit of a bore in most cities. Crowded trains, noisy buses, traffic, pollution, pushing and shoving.
Living in Amsterdam and riding to work (and playing afterwards!) makes your journey, and day ahead much more enjoyable. You can almost guarantee your commute time each day – which for most people who travel by bike, is less than 20 minutes to the centre. I travel by bike and my work is only a few blocks away! Is it any wonder why the French are trying to pay their citizens to ride their bikes to work?
Here is a little snapshot into our bump and grind here in Amsterdam. Enjoy a day in the life..
How to get ready for a ride with your kid?
We all love our pets and hate leaving them at home. In Amsterdam, being a dog is pretty cool. You get walked while your master rides next to you (finally those humans can keep up the pace!) or you can choose to sit and ride in style! This little ball of happiness was riding through the canals in his crate with a big smile, the wind in his face and just watching the world pass by.
In the Netherlands almost everyone cycles. Around 85% of the people owns a bike. Women cycle a bit more often than men and young people between 12 and 18 years old go for a few more rides than the rest. But the differences are small. See below a graph I found on the website of the Fietsersbond, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union, about the amount of bike rides people make per day, per age group.
Cycling gives you independence, you can go wherever you want, when you want and by yourself. This is important for everyone but especially for kids and for elderly. Besides being independent, by cycling they stay active and healthy. I think all around the world people should be able to cycle safely through their cities, no matter what your age is! It makes life so much happier….
Are you already following us on Instagram? You should, if you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s cycling culture and enjoy the diversity of cyclists and bikes in Amsterdam’s streets. Every month we will post the most liked Instagram shots here on our blog.
This is the top 10 of May:
1. Dog in crate
2. Mother and sons
3. Father and son
4. Eating an apple while cycling in the rain
5. Rainy day cycling
6. Bike parking Amsterdam central station
7. Flower pants
8. Google likes bikes
9. Mother with cargo bike and kids
10. Now that is Cycle Chic, sir!
Amsterdam is one of the most diverse bicycle cities in the world. Bikes of all shapes and sizes wind through the canals and cobblestoned streets each day. A rarity in this jungle of spokes and tyres is the Tandem bicycle, it’s always special seeing one. I mean who wouldn’t want double the pedal-power getting to your destination? Never leave your partner behind at that crossing again!
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!
Pedestrians and cyclists follow the same rules all over the city even if a red pedestrian light is sometimes seen as an orange light by a cyclist!
We are looking to add someone to the Amsterdam Cycle Chic blogging team!
What we’re looking for:
- Someone enthusiastic about cycling and Amsterdam
- 1 blog post per week, about 3 hours per week
- Someone who can take pretty good photos of cyclists
Are you interested? Read more information here (pdf). For consideration, we’d like you to email us (email@example.com):
- a short introduction of yourself
- tell us why you want to join the team
- include a fake blog post, complete with 2-3 photos
The deadline is quick! Submit before April 11th (next Friday)!
His great grandfather had a bicycle shop, where his grandmother spoked wheels in the cold Dutch winters and his father ran around as a little boy. At the age of 3 Elian learned how to cycle, when 15 years old he started to work in a bike shop and now he has designed the ultimate city bike, the Minute. In short; Elian’s life is all about bicycles!
The ultimate city bike
Elian is a bike designer. He makes handcrafted bicycles; “the process of designing a bike starts with a blank paper, I talk to the customer, what does he/she want, what is their ideal cycling position, where and how will they use the bike, I take their measurements and then I start.The result is the perfect bike for that person.”
While designing these bikes, Elian realized many people were looking for a bike that would solve the typical urban biking problems many people face: “It should be a bike that they could leave in their apartment (not to get stolen on the street). Not too heavy, not too big, easy maneuverable in the busy city centre’s of Amsterdam and Utrecht and easy to park in the full bike parking’s. Also most people want to sit upright, cycle comfortably and they want to be able to carry groceries and kids on their bikes. When I kept hearing those same requests for a bike, I decided to design the Ultimate City Bike. And we just launched it: the Minute.”
Great grandfather’s bike shop
Elian’s great grandfather had a bike shop in Maarn (close to Utrecht). Elian’s father still remembers being there as a little boy: “His grandfather was a typical bike repairman. He always wore a blue overall, his hands were black of all the repair work and he was always smoking. He still remembers the smell of his workplace.” In the village of Maarn almost everyone had a Fongers bicycle. “The winters were much harsher then, so in winter people couldn’t cycle because of all the snow, in these winters there were no repairs to do. In those months my great grandparents and grandparents had another task: spoking wheels for Fongers. That is how it went in those days.”
Elian lives in Leersum, a village in the green Utrechtse Heuvelrug. His workplace is in the shed of his parents in Maurik. Every morning he cycles to work through the forest and the fields. He has a little son for whom he built a walking bike. “I get a lot of support from my family; my wife moved mountains to get the Minute launched, my 16 year old brother helps building bikes, and my father brings technical knowledge – which often comes in handy.” Even Elian’s grandmother offered help: “Let me know when I can help, I can still spoke wheels like in the old days!”
Andy knows what it is to follow your heart. She used to be an investment banker for one of the Netherlands’ biggest banks, but she stopped that promising career to follow her heart and she became a musician. Andy is a happy, positive, 30 year old Dutch singer songwriter. She sings about love, love in relationships but also love for a city. And Andy… she is in love with Amsterdam.
Andy loves Amsterdam
Nine years ago Andy moved to Amsterdam and she fell in love with the city. “Amsterdam is beautiful, the atmosphere is good and there are so many different people. The fact that there are more bikes than people makes the city even cooler. Everyone cycles! Cycling makes people more social then when everyone sits in their own car. I also love the trams in the city. Sometimes I just hop into a tram and let it take me to its final destination. In those 9 years I got to know all the tram routes!”
‘City love’ is the name of the record Andy is working on. She is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to finance it. With as little as 10 euros people can fund it: “Crowdfunding the money to release my second record is a logical choice for me. Music is social. It is my way to communicate. I make music for people. To move them, to inspire them, or to make them happy. So if I make music for ‘the crowd’ why not involve them in the process of producing my record?” The campaign is going well. In only two weeks Andy funded nearly 60% of her project. The record ‘City love’ is about Andy’s love for Amsterdam and about love between people. “Love is nice, it is horrible, it is disastrous… sometimes love makes you act like a complete idiot. That is what makes love fascinating.”
Andy is not only in love with her city, but also with her bike. She bought her racing bike 6 years ago on Marktplaats (the Dutch eBay). “I bought it because I wanted to see if I liked to go racing. But the bike wasn’t good enough for long cycles so I kept it as a city bike. I have many bikes that got stolen in Amsterdam so I am very careful with this one. I used to carry it up three stairs to my apartment, so that I didn’t have to leave it on the street. Luckily I now have a shared garden with a little storage box where I can put it.”
Look at Andy: No side wheels!
Andy has one very clear memory of when she was 4 and learned to cycle. “It was the last day I would cycle with side wheels. I knew that this would be a ‘Kodak’ moment, so that morning I put on my best dress and cycled with a big smile, and my cute little pink basket to my father taking the picture.”
Like most Dutch Andy doesn’t have a ‘cycling’ style, she just cycles with what she is wearing that day. Almost always Andy wears All Stars: “I wear All Stars since I was 9 years old and they really became part of my identity. I wouldn’t go on stage without my All Stars. People would just be so surprised to see me wearing something else.” We also loved Andy’s ring: “That ring used to be my grandma’s. That makes it extra special. My grandma was a tiny lady. She was always very sweet, friendly and quiet. But she was a tough cookie: she had 9 kids and a bakery and her husband passed away quite young. So she worked incredibly hard! Also she was a talented violin player. When I look at the ring I think about the hard work she did and that she didn’t have a chance to make music her life. I then feel so lucky that I do have the chance. That is why I decided to go for it. To follow my heart…”
- Want to help Andy to make her dream come true? Fund her crowdfunding campaign!
- Andy is planning a world tour. Do you know a nice venue where she could play? Email her! firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Aude; Text: Joni
Last weekend I went to the Ij Hallen flea market over in Noord. Have you been? It’s fun to check out all the funky stuff people are selling–and of course to people watch. Hipster mania! But all types of people, too. Old and young, local and foreign, it doesn’t matter.
My favorite parts of the journey are waiting for the ferry to get there, and waiting for the ferry to go back. Then you get to see all the cool stuff people picked up — often tied to their bike in creative ways. I always end up saying to myself “What!? How did I not see that!” Ugh, next time. Next time.
In this case, the title really says it all.. Thanks Corentin, for this cool pic. Well spotted !
Vrankrijk is the historical squat of Amsterdam, situated in the heart of the city. Founded in the late 80′s, it was a place for live music, dance parties but also a political home for people who were looking for orientation off the mainstream.
Now, after being closed for several years, the Vrankrijk has been re-discovered by a new generation: a mix of squatters and hipsters so don’t be scared of the snake, you are invited too!
I am lucky that the social enterprise JO Cadeau that I founded has its headquarters (and to be honest, only quarters) in this amazing building by Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck. It is an anti-squat arrangement; you pay very little and rent a space in a building that would otherwise be empty or occupied by squatters. It is great. It is in the city centre, in the old Jewish neighbourhood. The only disadvantage is that you can suddenly be ‘kicked out’ when the building is sold.
For lunch I love to go out to get some bread and nice Dutch cheeses that we eat all together (interns, freelancers and ourselves) in our office. When outside, I look at the cyclists. It is a diverse scenery at the Plantage Middenlaan. Check it out: