Inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic


Amsterdam Bicycle Film Fest is coming!

The Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Amsterdam – only the second time ever!

Buy tickets here now before they run out! 


From October 6 until October 8, Amsterdam will celebrate the bicycle with films, art, talks and drinks. A wide range of 30 films, each telling a unique story about the bicycle in the broadest sense of the word, will be shown.

The Bicycle Film festival found its roots in New York in 2001. Brenda Barbur started the festival after he was hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York City. He insisted on turning his negative experience into a positive one and, 15 years on, the festival has been a major catalyst for the rise of city cycling internationally. Check out to read more.

Here are a few trailers to entice you!

men of steel trailer from Matthieu Landweer on Vimeo.

We look forward to seeing you at the Bicycle Film Festival Amsterdam!


Follow the Flowers

Little brings me more joy while riding along the cobbled streets of Amsterdam than seeing other cyclists with flowers nestled between their handlebars or in their saddlebags. These bloom-laden riders carry an act of love, kindness, congratulations, an apology, or a welcome home. I find myself imagining that their cycle journey will end with a huge smile and hug from the recipient, be it a special someone or a longtime friend.


Seeing the flowers that are carried by bike creates a rippling effect of this act of kindness. They are a visible reminder of the caring and compassion present in the city. They bring joy to other riders and remind us to continue our journey in love.


By Sheila

Back to School

The beginning of September signals the end of the holidays and a return to school. In Amsterdam that means a return of kids on their bikes traveling to and from school. In fact, in the Netherlands the percentage of primary and secondary school children that walk or ride their bike to school is staggering at around 75 percent. Is it a coincidence that Dutch children were ranked the happiest in the world by UNICEF? Take a look at the scenes of children riding to and from school and you decide.



Some of the contributing factors that lead to this beautiful scene of children on bikes are the national Dutch cycling culture, the fact that most children live close to their schools, and the dedicated bicycle infrastructure.

When kids bike to school they show up more awake and alert, ready to learn. They are more aware of their surroundings and where they live. In secondary school, the bike gives them a sense of independence and autonomy where they can control their path. I often bask in the independence that young teenagers experience riding around with their friends after school, often behind a group of young girls giggling along, hockey sticks in hand on their way to practice.



By Sheila.


August Cyclist of the Month – Gertjan

Amsterdam summer is in full swing and this month, we caught up with local resident Gertjan. He’s a freelance advertising creative who loves taking his black Veloretti bike for a spin through Vondelpark.


The Dutch are known worldwide for their love of bikes. As a Dutchie, did you also grow up cycling around town?
For sure! I grew up in a small town in the south of Holland and like many Dutch people, I learned to bike from quite a young age. It was more out of convenience, cycling was the only way to get from point A to point B in that town.

Tell me more about your experience cycling in Amsterdam.
Cycling in Amsterdam can be tricky because people are constantly on the go! During my morning commute everyone is heading fast in different directions and ringing their bells… You can really feel the rush of energy! Everyone here rides bikes but does everyone know how to cycle properly? Well, that’s a different story…

What’s the story behind your lovely zwarte fiets?
Before getting this trusty black stallion, I had a bike that was clinging on to life until it finally broke down on my way to a party. Afterwards, I received this bike as a gift.

You live and work in the city center. What is a typical day on two wheels like for you?
I moved here four years ago and cycling in Amsterdam definitely took some getting used to. Streets are very narrow and bridges can be a challenge but it’s worth the view! Cycling from work to meetings is a fun way to have a breather. I always try to leave a bit earlier and pace myself. That way, I arrive fresh instead of sweaty, looking like I just finished the Tour de France.

Do you have a favorite route pass by?
Maybe it’s a bit cheesy, but I love going through the Rijksmuseum tunnel! There are always musicians playing good tunes and people buzzing about. I’m so glad they reopened it!


In your opinion, what makes Amsterdam so special for cycling?
The scenery and the socializing! Amsterdam is a beautiful city and perfect to be enjoyed by bike. Amsterdam is also a very a small city so, I often run into friends along the way! On the down side… finding a spot to park and tram tracks can be tricky with your wheels. There is always someone on the look out for a new bike, so be sure to lock it up well!

Thanks Gertjan, tot ziens!

Summer cycling in Barcelona

With grey skies looming over Amsterdam, my mind easily drifts back to sun soaked Barcelona where I recently spent a weekend sipping sangria at the beach, eating tapas and of course, exploring the unique culture and architecture on offer. While not traditionally associated with urban cycling, the popularity and infrastructure for bicycles was evident everywhere in this Spanish city.

In the last decade, Barcelona has seen a significant jump in riders with the city’s recent investment in new infrastructure such as bike lanes and traffic lights. Accustomed to Amsterdam’s bicycle-friendly layout, I was happy to notice all the chic people on bikes – and riding on some nice bike paths.

From fixies to mountain bikes and even Dutch cargo bikes, cyclists filled the busy boulevards, city squares, parks and quiet streets. Here’s a peak at the eclectic mix of cycle chic-sters in Barcelona…


As a daily cyclist myself, I was keen to try out Barcelona’s bike share program Bicing. While deemed as shared public transport and highly popular, it’s only available for locals with an annual subscription. So, instead of taking a spin on two wheels, I instead had the pleasure of snapping photos of cyclists as they whizzed by. I spotted plenty cyclists of all ages commuting along the city center’s tens of kilometers of cycling paths. 


Looking for more? Check out the Barcelona Cycle Chic blog!

The best summer read: “Cycling Cities”

Cycling Cities

We were lucky enough to take a ride and have a coffee with esteemed Professor, lecturer, and researcher Ruth Oldenziel, co-author of the latest and greatest book “Cycling Cities: The European Experience.” It’s 200 pages are carefully researched and thoughtfully describe how cycling came to be (or not so much) in several European cities –  with Dutch cities as a backbone story of cycling decline, automobility, then incremental change towards what are now urban cycling “success stories.” Of course every city has its own story, culture, and responses to change, and this work delves into those stories from 14 cities in 9 countries. From Budapest’s bicycling revival to Manchester’s “standstill”; Lyon’s corporate enterprise to innovations in Malmö – we can read about diverse trajectories in urban cycling but all with the same goal: to get more people on bikes. Ruth tells us more…

Cycling Cities ACC: What made you want to write this book?

RO: I was in NYC in 2009 – the year that marked the 400-year anniversary between New York and Amsterdam. I was going to give a speech and then take a group ride down the Hudson. I rode up to the venue on my Batavus granny bike with high heels and they just looked at me like, what are you thinking? Everyone was wearing Lycra and riding fancy bikes with helmets. I didn’t have any of that stuff, so they didn’t let me go on the ride! I was shocked. But what was interesting was that we were both shocked – at each other’s cycling cultures. I couldn’t explain it to them; I couldn’t explain why I was on this type of bike and why it was ok that I was wearing everyday clothes and high-heels while biking. I couldn’t explain Dutch culture around cycling. That was when the first thoughts about this book started.

Cycling Cities
Cycling Cities

ACC: Are there other books like this?

RO: Not really, no. In 1999 a book [by the co-authors] was published in Dutch, called “Fietsverkeer” (or bicycle traffic). And in it was a graph showing cycling levels across several European cities. The graph became quite famous, but because the book was only in Dutch it didn’t take off in the same way. So one of our goals was to translate the book and incorporate the most relevant research in the new book – and update the graph. The other main goal was to create a narrative through lots of images and graphics in order to make is as accessible as possible to everyone – policymakers, advocates, the everyday reader.

ACC: What surprised you most during the research for this book?

RO: When we looked at the cycling data – the numbers – it varied so much. Especially within the Netherlands. Variety suggests that the Dutch are not special people when it comes to cycling – really, it was just a perfect storm of events that lead to this “success story” – if you can call it that. Factors like the car coming a bit later, mediocre public transport systems, the oil crisis, and the social movements of the 70s – all these events came together and created a perfect storm for cycling.

ACC: Is there another city’s story that sticks out in your mind?

RO: Basel is an interesting case. The percentage of trips by bike hasn’t changed in decades. Everything is done so well there – the highways are pristine, the historic city centre is car-free and walking is a high priority, public transit is flawless, efficient and affordable, and bicycle infrastructure is also good. All these modes compete, so one is not really better than another. That makes it difficult for the city to push forward the bicycle share. Biking there is nice, but no where near as fun as in Amsterdam.

Cycling Cities

ACC: What’s your favourite thing about cycling in Amsterdam?

RO: I love the Weesperzijde (where we are now). Not only have I lived here a long time – I was born and raised in Amsterdam – but I love that this street has no cycling infrastructure and yet it’s a preferred route to and from the city centre. And of course it is – look around, it’s just beautiful.

ACC: Tell me about this bike of yours.

RO: I’ve always had 2nd-hand bikes, but this is my lucky bike. I’m a klutz with bike keys, always losing them. I can’t even tell you how many bike keys I’ve lost – it’s pathetic. I’ve had this bike for six years and never lost the keys!

Thanks Ruth!

For more information and to purchase her book, see the website:

Cycling Cities

Cyclist of the Month – Team Member Sheila

cycle_chic (1)

Where are you from and why did you move to Amsterdam?

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California and I first came to Amsterdam as part of a sustainable bicycle transportation course during my undergraduate studies and immediately fell in love. I vowed to come back and returned in 2014 to pursue my master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam.


Tell me about your bike.

A traditional second-hand omafiets whose brand has been lost under shoddy paint jobs, it is the third bike that I have had in the two years that I have lived here. I love the comforting noises my rattily Amsterdam bike makes, the way she mutters with the down-stroke of my pedal, and how her gentle clatter alerts other before I overtake them. I love riding around at night and gently closing my eyes for a minute to find myself amidst an orchestra of bikes clambering over the cobblestones.

My bike is my lifeline, my freedom. She has met and bore witness to friends, colleagues, and lovers who have made awkward small talk or laughed so hard they made us swerve as they have driven next to us or sat on her back rack.

What do you love about cycling in Amsterdam?

Riding ignites and stimulates all of my senses. It is my time during the day when I am free; free to think about my last meeting or construct a dinner recipe for when I arrive home, or I am free to think about nothing at all and simply enjoy the momentary feeling of weightlessness you experience as I come down over a canal bridge.

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Why did you want to be a blogger for Amsterdam Cycle Chic?

As arguably the best place to bike in the world, I want to share the absolute wonders that everyday cycling can do for people and for a city. As a place that has prioritized active transportation, creating a human-centered city that promotes healthy and happy lifestyles, I want to share and promote this and Amsterdam Cycle Chic seemed like the perfect medium to do so.


Text by Sheila Photos by Lily.

Keeping an Eye on London

Summer holidays means getting to travel to different cities and explore the cycling culture outside of Amsterdam. On a recent trip to London, I got the chance to observe what it is like to cycle in Europe’s largest city and test out their bicycle share system, Santander Cycles.

What struck me about the cyclists in London is that many take the utmost pride in their bicycles. While there may be fewer cyclists in London, those who ride do so in the uttermost style atop impeccable, shiny bikes with beautiful leather accessories. These cyclists make me hopeful that someday soon we will see masses of everyday cyclists swarming the streets of London.

IMG_2190 (1)


Another exciting observation was that new developments in the city seem to be catering to and in turn witnessing a surge in all kinds of cyclists. While parts of the cycling infrastructure felt disjointed and disconnected, there were some shining sparks of hope that tempted cyclists to ride in true style. This was apparent during my ride around the new developments in East London. From families to hipsters bikes abound.



While there was a general lack of lack of Dutch style bikes, I was overjoyed to spot a bakfiets and a woman with all of her shopping reminding me of home.



By Sheila.

Cyclist of the Month – New Team Member Lily

July cyclist of the month 1Welcome to the Amsterdam Cycle Chic team, Lily! To get started, tell us a bit about where you’re from and how you ended up in Amsterdam.

After visiting Amsterdam a few times as a tourist, I came back in 2009 to work as an au pair for a year. That’s when I first learned how to ride a bakfiets! Through the ups and downs, something kept pulling me back to Amsterdam…many adventures and one master’s degree later, I’m still here, cycling around the city on the same yellow bike.

What’s the story behind your colorful bike?

I love that the Dutch cycle as part of their every-day routine and suspected it would become a passion of mine too. So, I figured that a sturdy Dutch bike would be a smart investment and a fun souvenir of my time in Amsterdam. It was winter time when I first arrived and the bright yellow reminded me of the sunshine I desperately missed back home in Orlando.

So far, I’ve encountered plenty of adventures with my trusty omafiets but funny enough, she never made it back to Florida permanently and neither did I! At first, I added various colorful, flowery accessories but everything was stolen over time. Now I keep it simple with a colorful bell, flowery panniers and of course, a huge lock. 

July cyclist of the month 2 July cyclist of the month 3

How do you find living in Amsterdam?

I absolutely love Amsterdam! My expat chapter became longer than expected but now that I’ve completed my master’s degree, finished Dutch integration and launched my freelance creative business, it’s really feeling more like home.

Name three things you love and one thing you loathe about cycling in Amsterdam:

    1. The convenience! Getting around the city center is faster by bike and fortunately, safe too.
    2. The scenery! Nothing beats cruising along the historic canals on a quiet evening or passing over the Amstel with a warm breeze in my hair.
    3. The weather! Let’s be honest, it’s never fun to get pummeled by hail, blown over by wind or caught up in a surprise rainstorm (Confession: I eventually gave in and purchased that typical HEMA rain suit out of necessity).

July cyclist of the month 4

Why did you want to join the Amsterdam Cycle Chic team?

Amsterdam is a utopia for everyday cycling and while living here, I’ve adapted to doing as much as I can by bike. Growing up, I loved riding my bike but unfortunately, Florida doesn’t have the safe, organized cycling culture that we’re so lucky to enjoy here in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Cycle Chic showcases the city’s bike friendly initiative offering a view of how convenient and fabulous everyday biking can be! I hope other cities are able to learn from Amsterdam and offer both safety and scenery for everyday cyclists in the future. Plus, I’m often snapping photos around the city to share on Instagram and my travel blog so, joining the ACC team is a perfect fit.

Welcome Lily!

July cyclist of the month 5

4 reasons we love Copenhagen

I always love a trip to the other cycling capital of the world – Copenhagen. While leading a urban cycling study tour, I was able to spend 10 days in the city, exploring many new streets, restaurants, and bike bridges. But there’s never enough time, right?

I noticed many differences between the Dutch and Danish bike culture. For example, the Danes, it seems, tend to take care of their bikes – I don’t think I ever saw one rusty old bike with barely any air in the tires. The bikes in Copenhagen are clean, shiny, and well-maintained. The Danes also ride much faster than the Dutch. Biking in this city means business – a serious trek from A to B. No messing around and no chit chat. There were even signs all over the city saying “Keep to the right and look over your shoulder if you want to overtake.” Wow! Yes, sir. Nevertheless, it’s still great fun to cycle in this city. Here’s our top 4 reasons we love Copenhagen.

1) The city is a magnet for gorgeous people. Seriously, gorgeous people. With impeccable style. People-watching is taken to a whole new level here. Anywhere you go, at any time of day, people take care to look effortlessly stunning. It’s like, “Oh this rag? I just woke up and grabbed the first thing I could. It’s nothing, really.”

4 reasons we love Copenhagen #farewell #copenhagen and all your #cyclechic ness! It's been lovely, inspiring and everything in between. 4 reasons we love Copenhagen4 reasons we love Copenhagen 4 reasons we love Copenhagen 2)

2)Food is incredible. The Danes know how to eat well. Every meal I had was designed with such care and attention to detail. Fresh fish, heirloom vegetables, perfect sauces, poached asparagus – all was delicious. Favourite restaurants included: Vespa, Madklubben, Marv og Ben, any vendor at the Torvehallerne or Copenhagen Street Food, and Nose to Tail. 2016-06-06 20.4 reasons we love Copenhagen36.47 2016-06-02 19.37.14

3) It always seems to be sunny. Every day was beautiful with blue skies and warm weather. People were swimming in the harbour and sunbathing in parks. Glorious!
4 reasons we love Copenhagen
Enjoying the last rays on Paper Island. #Copenhagen #summercycling #sunnydays #cyclechic 4 reasons we love Copenhagen
4 reasons we love Copenhagen

4) Danish details. I love biking in this city for all the little details, like angled trash cans and foot rests for cyclists. The lovely Cycle Snake bridge that seamlessly flows through the urban fabric. How nice and civilised! They don’t call it Danish Design for nothing.

4 reasons we love Copenhagen 4 reasons we love Copenhagen
4 reasons we love Copenhagen

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