Cycle Chic Spotlight: Alex
Alex is a German expat from Hamburg who has been living and working in Amsterdam for a decade. In 2015, he founded The Coffee Vine, a blog turned monthly subscription box for caffeine addicts to try new varieties of beans each month. Today, he’s sharing a bit about his life on two wheels, so pour yourself a cup of joe and keep reading to learn more.
Welcome, Alex! We’re excited to have you in our Cycle Chic Spotlight series, let’s get started. How did you end up in Amsterdam?
I came here rather unexpectedly, at first Amsterdam wasn’t my radar at all. I was living in Hamburg and recruited at a large FMCG company. Funny enough, I didn’t really enjoy Amsterdam after two rather disappointing holidays here but ten years later, I am still live in Amsterdam and loving it here more than ever!
How cycle friendly is your hometown compared to Amsterdam?
Hamburg is a really big city and despite having an excellent public transport system, many people still prefer to drive. Over the past few years cycling in Hamburg has become a lot more popular and safe. Now, there are bike sharing programs and the city has implemented a lot more bike lanes. That’s a great change to witness.
Tell us an eye opening experience about cycling in Amsterdam.
Living in Amsterdam definitely changed my view on cycling. It has become a way of life for me now rather than a necessity. In the beginning, I was a bit weary of cycling in the city center because the Dutch can be really aggressive but it’s funny how quickly you assimilate. Now, I sometimes catch myself cursing at tourists too.
A few years ago I used to work out in Amstelveen so, I had a scooter. Obviously, it was a lot faster and less exhausting but I was the only person in my circle of friends with one. Now I sold it and became regular cyclist again, I realized how much I actually hate scooters in the bicycle lanes!
What is a typical day in Amsterdam like for you?
I usually get up at 7:30, cycle to my gym, then back home to get ready before I settle into work – either from home or at my workshop which I also bike to. I love my neighborhood, De Baarsjes. It’s a vibrant my neighborhood close to so many parks. I’ve got Sloterplas, Rembrantpark and Vondelpark all within a 10 minute cycle from my house. My work is very close to my house and it’s not very scenic. When I go from Oud West to De Pijp I love going through Vondelpark and soaking up the greenery. Running my own business, I don’t really have a set work schedule, which is really nice because I can grab my bike and pop out for lunch with friends or go to other meetings. It’s great to get fresh air and cycle around the city.
What’s something special about your bicycle?
My bike is actually just a simple Cortina ladies bike. I don’t like the bar across the middle that men’s bikes always have so this one works better for me. I don’t have any flashy details or accessories but of course, I do have a cup holder on the front for my cup of coffee on the go!
Now and again, I need to take a coffee box to a customer or a partner. I hold it in my hand when cycling and I feel like I can show it off a little bit! We feature different artists on the sleeve from time to time, I am really proud of our custom branding.
What inspired you to launch The Coffee Vine?
I began drinking coffee during trips to the U.S. with my dad. He always loved getting big lattes from Starbucks and sprinkling cinnamon on top and that sort of got me into it. Over the years, I developed a more refined taste for coffee and a real interest in specialty coffee. Then, I realized an opportunity to combine that love for coffee with my passion for writing. The Coffeevine started out as a blog about the best coffee bars in Amsterdam and further. Through my blog, I met a lot of key people in the coffee industry so, when I launched my coffee subscription I was able to cash in on my strong relationships with the best roasters. This really helped because they already knew me and trusted me. When I left my last job, I launched our coffee subscription in 2015 and that’s what I still do today. It’s exciting to work with something I am really passionate for!
Thanks for sharing your story with us Alex, happy cycling!