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Cycle Chic Spotlight: New Team Member Mérida

Amsterdam Cycle Chic - July 2017 - Merida-8.jpgWhere are you from and why did you move to Amsterdam?

Im originally from the East Coast of the US and my family lives in the middle-of-no-where Mexico. For the past 5 years I was living and working in Baltimore, MD at Under Armour as an Apparel Concept Designer. This January I relocated to the European HQ in Amsterdam and have no plans of  looking back. I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the world and I can finally say ‘I’m home’.

 

Amsterdam Cycle Chic - July 2017 - Merida-6.jpgWhat do you love about cycling in Amsterdam?

This is going to sound so cliche but literally, everyday I see or experience something that makes me smile, I truly can’t get enough of this city. I love the intimacy that cycling gives; you’re at life level with everything and as you whizz by you get just enough of a glimpse to see into someone’s story- Or just enough to create a new one in your head.

I also love seeing the city’s style up close. I’m constant in awe of the women who are flying past me in the morning rocking 5″ heels, meanwhile I have to concentrate to keep my boots on the pedals. Amsterdam is so effortlessly chic and cycling never seems to get in the way of someones outfit; just enhances it.

 

bike.jpgWhat is your bike like?

She’s just a classic, used, back pedal bike. It says “Roady” in some peeling off letters on the frame but I’m not a brand name kind of girl, I chose this one for the color. I love adding little bits of pop; I was secretly thrilled when my original bell, just a plain silver one died because that meant I got to buy this new minty fresh one! I just found this new bike paint that promises a “no drip, no professional needed” coating, so who knows what color or colors she’ll be by the end of the year.

Is there anything you don’t like about your new no-car life?

Aside from the fear of my wheel involuntary flying off while I’m cycling at great speeds; I haven’t figured out the best cupcake transport system yet. I love to decorate and share cupcakes co-workers and friends, but the Amsterdam roads are not so forgiving. So in the mean time I’ve started the #BikeNowFrostLater movement. If anyone has any possible op de fiets solutions- please send them my way!

 

Amsterdam Cycle Chic - July 2017 - Merida-14.jpgWhy did you want to join the Amsterdam Cycle Chic team?

I love how engrained biking is in the city, from toddlers learning on the balance bikes- to the guy doing wheelies under the Rijks Museum Tunnel, everyone is equal when in the bike lanes. And there is something so magical about the morning commuter rush, like a flock of swallows, each an independent being but the flow never falters. I want the opportunity to share those moments with the rest of the world.

From a professional standpoint part of my job is sending street recaps of things I’m seeing in Amsterdam and other travels back to our US based design teams.  I’m already cycling about admiring the city’s finest and freshest, sneaking photos of anything that catches my eye. I’m known for leaving a friend mid sentence to chase someone/ something down the street snapping away, trying not to crash my own bike.

 

Welcome Mérida!

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Pictures of Mérida by Lily.


Flowers & Fiets

Aalsmeer Flower Festival Bike Tour

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June 17-18, 2017

 We lucked out for our first Aalsmeer Flower Festival bike ride and the weather was stunning. With 6 large event stops, the self guided tour wound through the charming city and unless you got as lost as many times as we did, was 26km in total.

Each venue offered a unique experience, ranging from, making your own flower jewelry, listening to live music under a lily covered cabana, to joining a  bouquet building workshop at the International Floral Design School. There truly was a little something for everyone, including a pancake truck if you got peckish (I did mention it was 26km right?).

If you missed the festival this year, I highly recommend taking a day trip to bike through Aalsmeer. The neighborhoods are quiet and beautiful, flanked by fields and greenhouses.

Aalsmeer can be reached by bike from Amsterdam with a nice ride through Amsterdam Bos or you can hop on the train, just remember your bike needs a ticket too!

Keep a look out for next year’s event which will be June 16th-17th, 2018.

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Along the way you were greeted by other bloemen enthused bikers denoted by the floral chain that was given at the start of your ride.

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One of the ten new Art Boxes (utility lockers) hand painted by local artist, scattered throughout the tour. 

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For other great day trips by bike be sure to check here and here.

(Do you have favorite summer day trips? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!)


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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By Sheila.

 


Cycle Chic Spotlight: Team Member Sheila

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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By Sheila.


Movers and shakers

We all love seeing what others can fit and balance on their bikes… umbrellas, pets, babies, shopping. And there there are times where your breath is taken away. The Dutch certainly know the fine art of ‘getting the job done’. Movers?!! Pffft! On your bike! He’s clearly happy with his achievement!

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By Mel


Ring Ring… bike delivery!

Saw this lovely burst of colour whizzing by, delivering a parcel, and I just had to stop him! He spent the day riding through snow, sleet, rain and finally some sunshine. Didn’t seem to phase him 🙂
…Go DHL!

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By Mel


Gameboy

Just when you think your weary legs can’t cycle anymore … you spot what we like to call a ‘Chic’er’ – a super chic cyclist with some fashion on board! Gameboy backpack + faux fur coat + pink gloves and grooving to tunes, en route to somewhere fabulous for sure. Arriving with style people!

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By Mel


Northside vibes

So many people are talking about the North. You can find it just across the small stretch of water, accessible in only a couple of minutes by the ferry of your choice! All for free of course.

Go take a bike around this weekend if you’re in town!

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By Mel