Inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Author Archive

Meet our newest contributor Amy

Where are you from and why did you move to Amsterdam?
I was born in the UK, then my parents immigrated to Australia when I was 4 years old. I eventually decided to go back to my roots and check out Europe (and the world). After some time living in London (and Oman for a short stint) a friend suggested I would like Amsterdam..the rest is history.

New contributor Amy!New contributor Amy!

What kept you here?
I arrived in Amsterdam intending to stay just for a year with the summer job I had on offer. Three years later that job ran out & I wondered what was next. I was convinced by someone that I could be a tour guide, which was interesting as I knew really very little about Dutch history, but I gave it a shot anyways. I started doing walking and bike history tours whilst studying myself and taking to the streets to find out more. I was hooked by the history and it continues to today.

New contributor Amy!

How did you initially find the biking culture here?
My first few months in Amsterdam I was very scared to cycle. Eventually a friend forced a bike on me. I realized the bike was almost brakeless but I continued to ride it (Fred Flinstone style) until it died. After that bike, it was only onwards and upwards.
Being a bike tour guide gave me confidence in the end. After leading a pack of 20 tourists on most days around the crazy centre of Amsterdam, I became very acquainted with the city. But now, I am happily enjoying the ride without people following. Amsterdam and I have had our ups and downs, but in the end there is nowhere like it. And nowhere else to bike like it, with such a beautiful backdrop every day.

New contributor Amy!

What interested you about joining the Amsterdam Cycle Chic team?
Living in this outdoor museum of a city, with all the comedy and life by bike going on, I started capturing funny or beautiful moments – just for fun. So Amsterdam Cycle Chic became kind of an extension for me to share with more people this brilliant  bike culture here in our beautiful Amsterdam.
I love to go by people singing their hearts out, or carrying their dogs or their family or whatever it is that needs to be transported. I often sing a song myself when the mood hits.
And I think I might hold a record in this town – my bike and I have been together for around 8 years – through thick & thin. IF (if!) I ever do move back to Australia, she will be coming with me one way or another.
Welcome Amy!

New contributor Amy!


Making summer plans? Here’s our study guide to urban cycling courses

Ever wanted to learn about how Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and other cities became the cycling cities they are today? Every year many study abroad courses include Amsterdam in their program and focus specifically on bicycling.

It’s fair to say that creating these bicycle-friendly cities didn’t happen over night, and it wasn’t easy. There also wasn’t just one single plan that paved the way. History, policy, culture, social movements were all parts of the equation. If you want the 6-min version, check out this video by blogger Bicycle Dutch. Coming later this summer is a mini-MOOC (massive online open course) produced by the Urban Cycling Institute at the University of Amsterdam.

If you need university credits and are looking for technical courses then check out those offered by DIS Copenhagen, Northeastern U, and UW-Platteville. The course offered by Texas A&M provides a unique political and knowledge-building curriculum. These courses spend from 1-2 weeks in the Netherlands, and some (like DIS) are based in both Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

If you’re up for a challenge, go for Planning the Cycling City – also known as #PCCAMS. This is much longer than the others (3 weeks – June 17-July 5), includes academic knowledge, and it’s also not “taught” in the traditional format. Participants use the city of Amsterdam and specific curated experiences (laid out by the directors) to inform their learning, then come to class each day ready to apply their experience to theory. This course is for graduate students and entry level professionals. (Application deadline: 15 March)

pccams17_tweet3pccams17_tweet4

Finally, if you’re looking for a more quick and dirty experience then a Masterclass might be a better fit. These are usually 3-5 days and are aimed at professionals and politicians. To our knowledge, the 3-day Copenhagenize Masterclass based in Copenhagen is the closest you can get (next class: June 25-27). Or, if you’ve got the budget, there’s the Danish Cycling Embassy’s Bikeable City Masterclass  (May 14-18). Of course you can stop by Amsterdam and give us a shout on your way in or out. We’re always up for a ride and a coffee!

(Know of more courses? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!)

Copenhagenize Master Class June 2015 (207)

(photo: Copenhagenize Design Co.)


Six lessons from biking in Amsterdam

Seth is a graduate student at the University of Oregon (USA) studying urban planning. Last summer, he took a study abroad course and biked through Copenhagen, Malmo and Amsterdam. The trip made such an impression on him, that he often thinks about his time in Northern Europe. He reached out to us and asked to share his lessons from the experience – and we are happy to share! 

In America, when I tell someone I ride my bike to school, I’m generally met with a warm “good for you.” Like I’ve done my part to curb carbon emissions for the day. Like I’m one of the good ones. Biking in America is perceived as a sacrifice of time because driving a car is easier and faster.

But most Americans don’t know what they’re missing. Last summer, I biked through Copenhagen, Malmo and Amsterdam to study bicycle planning with fellow students from the US. Not that you should drop what you’re doing to go there and bike, but it’s pretty fantastic.

Now that I’ve been back home for a few months, I had time to reflect on my experience and I’d like to share my six lessons.

Good bye winter!

A busy Amsterdam intersection

#1 Make space for people

We began our trip in Copenhagen. On our first day, we were thrown on the road after a series of careful instructions. I felt 16 again. Shaky with a new driver’s permit in hand. At first, I felt anxious, but soon that feeling subsided. Because after the initial shock passes, I realized that bicycle users aren’t really cyclists; they’re just people. They’re riding to work, dinner or a beer with a friend. They’re just normal people, doing normal things.

The bike infrastructure in Copenhagen is special, too. Most streets are lined with designated bikeways buffered from cars. When you do encounter a normal (mixed) street, car drivers are generally courteous. How empowering it felt to have the space I needed and to be recognized by people using other modes!

4 reasons we love Copenhagen

Danish-style single-file

#2 Every cycling city has its own rules

The Danes like their rules. If you obey the rules, everything works wonderfully well. Like the single-file lines on the bikeways. Or when you pass a slower rider on the left after a polite bell ring, then resume your place in line. Riding at rush hour is stressful, but still manageable. Amsterdam has its own madness at rush hour, but after a while you get used to the chaos. Unlike Copenhagen, rules aren’t obvious, but they do exist. You get used to the ‘chaos’ by simply being in it – over and over and over again. The system works for thousands of people, I kept reminding myself. Stay alert, keep pedaling and focus on the ride.

#3 Communication can be different I quickly got used to sounds of bells in Amsterdam. Most Americans consider honking as an affront – a signal that we’re doing something wrong. In Amsterdam, it’s simply a notification. “Hello, I’m behind you. I’d like to get by, so kindly move.” No one’s angry or even disgruntled. It’s simply communication.

Nothing like morning #rushhour to waken the senses! ☀️

Typical Amsterdam swarm

#4 Cultural differences in the bike lane

In Amsterdam, stopping at an intersection feels like posting at the racing block. Bicyclists swell into clusters waiting for the signal to turn. You’re side by side next to other cyclists. At first I felt claustrophobic, but with time that eventually transitioned to mere discomfort. As an American, I’m used to having loads of space. Maybe with more time, I’d come to appreciate the closeness.

Also, Amsterdammers are either extremely skilled or simply less fearful of disaster. I think people here just worry less about consequences – and they know the system works for them. A traffic engineer we met in the Netherlands told us that parents expect kids to get scraped when learning to ride. Less than 1% of people wear helmets. They believe if a helmet law is passed, fewer people will ride. The law would be a barrier for riders. Wrapping children up in pads and strapping on a helmet gives them false security. Forget the training wheels; ditch the pads and let them fall. The pain teaches them what to avoid. This logic seems counterintuitive to Americans, but I get it.

Crossing the street #duthstyle during school drop off means 5 abreast, alert and relaxed, this way and that. And a little towhead eyeing the crazy lady with a camera.  #amsterdam #cyclechic #dutchlife #schoolkids #nofilter #streetlife @yeppbikeseats

#5 No matter how much you build bike lanes, it’s about people

The mass numbers of people on bikes was intimidating, but that’s what made it magical. The number of users is testament to the system’s success. The bikeways in Amsterdam resemble blood cells flowing through veins. Thousands of cyclists stream past cafes, office buildings and restaurants. Unlike Copenhagen, riding shoulder is allowed, and also commonly practiced. Cyclists routinely pass on your left with inches to spare. And somehow the mopeds discover gaps between bicycles that seem impossible. Nevertheless, every trip was filled with excitement.

Good bye winter!

#6 Bicycling is not an alternative mode of transport; it’s a way of life

I’m used to viewing bikes as “alternative transportation.” Bikes are alternative because there are always other options available. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam, bicycles aren’t just a way to get around, they’re a part of life. The bicycle is so immersed within the culture, it’s impossible to think of these cities without it.

The trip opened my eyes to what’s possible. I discovered more than what a quality bike lane looks like (and should look like) – I learned what’s possible through collaboration. When people work with a shared purpose, just about anything can happen. People who disagree with one another can cooperate and achieve collective objectives. That’s fairly radical thinking for most Americans.

I expected my study abroad trip to be insightful and entertaining, but not life changing. This isn’t to say I’ve become an activist, but I now understand how it’s possible to influence society with the right motivation.

Everything is easier when we work together.

That seems to be the greatest lesson I learned from this trip, and likely the greatest challenge for other cities.

Thanks for sharing Seth! We love hearing from readers and followers, near and far. Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments. 

 


New team member Klara!

Klara got in touch with us a few weeks ago and we knew immediately she would be a great fit with our team. She’s been an ACC follower for years – but from her home in London. Now, she is living and working in Amsterdam. We’re thrilled to have her on board!

New team member Klara

How did you end up in Amsterdam?

I originally moved here from London for a job, a great opportunity came up with an airline alliance and as I love travel in all forms, from two wheels to airplane wings I jumped at the chance. When I came to visit during my job interview a friend (who already lived here) picked me up to show me around the city. Immediately I was told to jump on the back of his bike. Despite my protests, it was made clear that we weren’t going anywhere unless I got on the bike. My love affair for Amsterdam and its cycling culture started right there.

So what’s the big difference between Amsterdam and London when it comes to cycling?

Cycling in London is growing and in the five years that I cycled in the city I saw a considerable change, with more people riding on the roads, investment in cycle lanes and some great initiatives starting to form. But as soon as I moved to Amsterdam I realized that it’s about more than just cycle lanes, it really is a way of life. Everyone is more relaxed, the pace is slower, and you don’t need to change into Lycra to charge across the city. I love that it starts from a very young age here, and that it’s the most inclusive form of transport, young old, rich and poor, all hop on their bike – making this city accessible to all. Who wouldn’t love that?

New team member Klara

Was there any surprises when you started cycling in Amsterdam?

After being in London you think I would be used to the rain, but I’m not, especially when you add strong winds into the mix. My first few weeks in Amsterdam were gloriously sunny but then I learnt the hard way, although the stronger winds are great for the thighs. In Amsterdam it’s all about that perfectly timed cycle dash to the shops, that quick trip from café to home. And even when locals are caught in the rain here, they carry it off with such style and grace, whereas I still very much look like a drowned rat.

New team member Klara

Tell us about your bike.

My bike, known to me as Betty, made the journey with me across the channel. Like me, she suffers a bit in the rain, a few rattles here and there but I think she’s holding up quite well. She’s been the best companion for exploring my new home and I hope she’ll be with me for a while. There’s nothing like discovering a new city from the cycle point of view. You have the time to soak in the sights around you and experience all that this city has to offer. The absolute best thing about cycling in Amsterdam is how close everything is, that and the wonderful people you see and experience. I’m so excited to join the team at ACC and start documenting the amazing culture and lifestyle I’m experiencing from the saddle.

New team member Klara


The freedom of movement

We love the summer!

We dug through our archives to find a gem of a photo (taken by former ACC contributor Aude de Prelle) for a photo contest happening now until November. It’s sponsored by Mucca, the owner of the website Jak and Jil. The theme this year is Girl Power. What better than to enter a photo of young women taking an everyday bike ride?

Dug through our archives and found this gorgeous shot by former blogger Aude De Prelle. Just entered it into the #jakandjilprowomen photo contest!

Our description of the photo was this:

The freedom to move with ease, safety and joy – at any age & any background – is a reflection of a city that recognizes women as an integral part of its social & economic fabric. This photo captures a moment of freedom. We don’t know where they’re going or where they’re from, but we do know that these women are exercising their power & right to move. And the humble bicycle is a tool to get them there.

We know a lot of our followers and readers have their own blogs with fantastic photos of women on bikes – let’s populate this contest with these photos! To enter your photo, check out the Photo Challenge 2017 website. It’s super easy!


Join our team!

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We are looking to add a couple bloggers to the Amsterdam Cycle Chic blogging team!

Do you love Amsterdam? Do you love taking pictures of people? Are you good at social media?

Do you want to gain relevant communication and media skills and enhance your network? We’re looking for you!

We are a small team of 3 international, entrepreneurial women. We run this blog in our spare time and we are looking for self-motivated people to grow Amsterdam Cycle Chic and the Cycle Chic movement. We can’t offer money, but we have team dinners once a quarter, and we have a huge network. We now have over 6,000 followers and we are an official member of the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

In addition to the above questions, other relevant characteristics and skills we’re looking for include:

  • Must live in/near Amsterdam!
  • Enthusiastic about everyday life on bike in Amsterdam
  • Can commit to about 2-3 hours per week
  • Can take pretty good photos of people on bikes, owns a decent camera, and has or wants to improve camera skills
  • Is creative and takes initiative
  • Knows or is willing to learn blog platform (WordPress)
  • Basic social media skills

We love people who can stay with us for at least 6 months, but for the right person shorter term could also work.

Are you interested? Send us an email us (amsterdamcyclechic@gmail.com) and include:

  • a short introduction of yourself, include any relevant background information and/or links to previous/current work
  • tell us why you want to join the team
  • include a fake blog/Instagram post, complete with 2-3 photos (check out our blogs and Instagram for an impression)
  • submit before May 28th (Sunday)

Looking forward to meeting you!

 


Tot ziens Winter!

Amsterdammers are so very happy to see winter behind them. The days are now longer, brighter, and we can wear less clothing. That’s always a good thing!

At Amsterdam Cycle Chic, we are constantly taking photos and we end up blogging or gramming only a handful. So we thought we’d give you a purge of our winter collection. Enjoy!

Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter!
Good bye winter


Summer plans? Our study guide to urban cycling courses in Amsterdam (and CPH)

Calling all students! Ever wanted to learn about how Amsterdam (and other cities in the Netherlands) became the cycling cities they are today? Every year many study abroad courses include Amsterdam in their program and focus specifically on bicycling.

It’s fair to say that creating these bicycle-friendly cities didn’t happen over night, and it wasn’t easy. There also wasn’t just one single plan that paved the way. History, policy, culture, social movements were all parts of the equation. If you want the 6-min version, check out this video by blogger Bicycle Dutch. Coming later this summer is a mini-MOOC (massive online open course) produced by the Urban Cycling Institute at the University of Amsterdam.

But if you want a more hands-on experience, then following a course could enrich your perspective. Each course seems to have its own distinct flavour and style, and focus. Many of the courses focus on infrastructure and design perspectives, such as the courses offered by University of Oregon, DIS Copenhagen, Northeastern U (closed), and UW-Platteville (closed). The course offered by Texas A&M provides a unique political and knowledge-building curriculum. These courses spend from 1-2 weeks in the Netherlands, and some (like DIS) are based in both Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

pccams17_tweet3pccams17_tweet4

While the above focus on infrastructure and design, another one focuses on the social science aspect and an immersive experience – Planning the Cycling City – also known as #PCCAMS. This is a different course and much longer than the others (3 full-time weeks – June 19-July 7). It’s also not “taught” in the traditional format. Participants use the city of Amsterdam and specific curated experiences (laid out by the directors) to inform their learning, then come to class each day ready to apply their experience to academic theory. About 23 top cycling experts are the course leaders, and every day an academic and practitioner lead the course discussion topic. This course is for graduate students and entry level professionals. (Application deadline: 1 March)

Finally, if you’re looking for a more quick and dirty experience then a Masterclass might be a better fit. These are usually 3-5 days and are aimed at professionals and politicians. To our knowledge, the 3-day Copenhagenize Masterclass based in Copenhagen is the closest you can get (next class: June 19-21). Of course you can stop by Amsterdam and give us a shout on your way in or out. We’re always up for a ride and a coffee!

(Know of more courses? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!)

Copenhagenize Master Class June 2015 (207)

(photo: Copenhagenize Design Co.)


Why we cycle in the winter?

Here in Amsterdam, it’s getting pretty darn cold. It’s a biting, bitter, wet cold. This is the kind of cold that creeps into every crevice that is exposed and then laughs in your face.

No, there’s no snow on the ground – and it’s not even THAT cold, according to the thermostat (or Northern Scandinavians, for that matter). I’ve read -4C (25F) as the lowest temp recently. But for some reason, and maybe that’s the Californian in me, it just feels cold.

We’ve gotten a few emails recently asking about the cold weather and cycling: “What do Amsterdammers do in the winter?” So, Henri and Maria: this is for you.

It’s a habit.

You see, when you live in Amsterdam, you become so used to your bicycle as your main way of getting around. Your whole life starts to revolve around your bicycle. Your routes become habits. The grocery stores, cafes, shops along your routes become daily destinations. Out of habit (and probably laziness, too). On your daily routes, like to and from the office, you get used to being able to zone out, to think about other things, and to let your mind wander. You know your route that well. It’s that predictable, and dare I say, boring but relaxing at the same time.

You probably even know small, particular details about your route, things that you think only you know. (Like the small patch of uneven pavement that you knowingly swerve around.)  You’re so used to it – the route, the swarm of cyclists around you, the mind-wandering thoughts – that you need this time, even if unconsciously. It’s the moments of your day you get to just be, and you even sort of forget that you’re peddling. It’s this critical nothingness in your day, and at the same time maybe the best part of the day, that becomes a deeply ingrained habit.

Next to the ride itself, you are used to your “usual” stops – for groceries, bread, coffee to go, the corner post box. You have different preferred places for different routes and directions. You know where you like to park your bike at these places. You have your favourite part of the bike rack or sidewalk (remember, Dutch bikes have kickstands!) and you park there almost every time. It’s second nature.

So what happens when it gets cold? When it rains? Snows? When the streets are frozen? In extreme conditions like snow or frost, the City ploughs the bike lanes at 3am – before they plough the rest of the street. That happens a handful of times every year. So that’s helpful for safety reasons.

Other options exist – tram, bus, walking, even car – and some do people opt out. (Stats show only a small percentage opt out in the winter.) But for the most part, Amsterdammers are only continuing their time-honoured, ingrained habit: using the bike.

We all know habits are hard to break. So Amsterdammers are no special species when it comes to cycling in the winter. There’s only one thing we do: wear a warm coat. After all, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

XOXO
Amsterdam Cycle Chic

Why we cycle in the winter? Why we cycle in the winter?
Why we cycle in the winter?
Winter cycling//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js


Best 9 of 2016!

Happy New Year!

2016 was a wonderful year of bicycling in Amsterdam and we can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

This year Amsterdam Cycle Chic is celebrating our 5th year. We want to specially thank you, all our followers, for inspiring us to keep sharing the Amsterdam love for cycling.

Are you following us on Instagram yet? Last year we had 214 posts and over 34,000 likes from over 5,000 followers!

Check out our top 9 posts of the year!

You're the pedal to my wheel. #justmarried #wedding #ido #forever

Dinking in effortless style #cyclechic #amsterdam #summernights #typicaldutch #fietsen #loveonbikes Heading to school! #amsterdam #wintercycling #kidsonbikes

#kissandride in #amsterdam #bikelove #summerlove @uber but #Amsterdam style

After school minivans #amsterdam style. Complete with snacks, friends, a chauffeur and fresh fall air. #urbancycling #bicycle #dutchbikes #kidsonbikes #frenchbulldogs becoming #Dutch. #roughlife #Amsterdam #dogslife #dutchbikes


Win a People’s Poncho!

Christmas isn’t over yet!

The People’s Poncho is a fast-growing UK-based rainwear brand – and their specialty is, yes, you guessed it: the poncho.

It’s all about the details with these ponchos. 100% waterproof, lightweight, high-quality Japanese fabric. Reflective piping. Zippered front pocket. Three-button sleeves. Peaked hood.

Christmas isn't over yet! Christmas isn't over yet!

Best bit: handy handlebar straps that fit any bike. Bam.

Want to win this beautiful, bike-friendly poncho? Of course you do.

Just tell us your favourite thing about the rain (in the comments below) and you’ll be in the contest. Contest ends Friday, December 30.

It’s that easy.

Here’s to a happy (and dry) 2017!

xoxo

Amsterdam Cycle Chic and The People’s Poncho

Christmas isn't over yet!


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! 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-27-om-13-48-13-300x199

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 www.bicyclefilmfestival.com 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!

 


In the Spotlight: Prof. Ruth Oldenzi & 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: www.cyclingcities.info

Cycling Cities


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


Join our team!

  
We are looking to add 1-2 bloggers to the Amsterdam Cycle Chic blogging team!

Do you love Amsterdam? Do you love taking pictures of people? Are you good at social media? 

Do you want to gain relevant communication and media skills and enhance your network? We’re looking for you! 
We are a small team of 2 professional women (one American/one Australian). We run this blog in our spare time and we are looking for self-motivated people to grow Amsterdam Cycle Chic and the Cycle Chic movement. We can’t offer money, but we have team dinners once a quarter, and we have a huge network! 

In addition to the above questions, other relevant characteristics and skills we’re looking for include:

  • Must live in Amsterdam!
  • Enthusiastic about everyday life in Amsterdam
  • Can commit to about 3 hours per week: 1-2 short blog posts per week; or 1-2 longer posts per month (like the “Cyclist of the Month” series OR a new series you want to take on) PLUS a couple Instagram/Twitter/Facebook posts per week 
  • Can take pretty good photos of people on bikes, owns a decent camera, and has or wants to improve camera skills
  • Is creative and takes initiative 
  • Knows or is willing to learn blog platform (WordPress) 
  • Social media skills

We love people who can stay with us for at least 6 months, but for the right person shorter term could also work. 

Are you interested? Send us an email us (amsterdamcyclechic@gmail.com) and include: 

  • a short introduction of yourself, include any relevant background information and/or links to previous/current work
  • tell us why you want to join the team
  • include a fake blog post, complete with 2-3 photos

The deadline is soon! Submit before May 29th (Sunday)!


Poem of the day

Coat tails are flying.
Riding one-handed.
Getting in the zone.  

 


Get your self-driving bike today only!

Google Netherlands has finally released it’s much-talked-about self-driving bicycle. “It’s the best invention since the bicycle itself,” says the director of the Dutch bicycle advocacy group, the Fietserbond.

Check it out for yourself:


Cycle Chic Spotlight: Breean from Bubae

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I caught up with American Amsterdammer, Breean, on a typical February afternoon – rainy, cold, and generally miserable outside. But her energy and enthusiasm made up for it. She took me for a ride in her Johnny Loco cargo bike and we had a nice chat about everything from bikes to love, dancing, and yes, Gyrotonic.

Breean used to dance professionally in New York City; she was trained as a classic dancer and danced with a contemporary dance company. But then she fell in love with a handsome Dutchman (a doctor with curls, no less). She moved to Utrecht in 2011, and then Amsterdam in 2014. She’s a mom of 2 kids, an entrepreneur, and a busy, busy woman.  Here’s a snipet of our conversation.

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What do you like about living in Amsterdam?

Compared to New York, life seems so easy and much slower. I’m still very busy of course – with two kids, a clothing line, fitness instructor – but somehow there’s time for everything. And I still manage to spend plenty of time with my family and friends and just exploring this gorgeous city.

Do you ride this [cargo] bike every day?

For sure. This is my SUV. I love this bike. It’s falling apart, but I love it. I take my girls to school in the morning, and our new thing is stopping to get croissants and a latte (for me obviously) before the bell rings. They sit in here and eat their croissants and play with their fake cell phones. It’s ridiculous but I love it.

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What do you like about cycling in Amsterdam?

In New York everyone is looking for a fight – and New Yorkers are known for their screaming matches. Why they like yelling, I have no idea. It doesn’t help anything. Here, people just mind their own business when they’re on the bike. If I accidentally bump their bike – which happened to me a lot at first – they just glance over and smile, or they don’t even do anything at all.

How long did it take you to ride like an Amsterdammer?

I’m glad I started out in Utrecht, where it’s a little calmer on the bike path. Amsterdam is totally different. It’s busy and stressful – there’s a lot of people on bikes here! At first it was terrifying. Every time I’d get on my bike I’d tell myself: Ok, just DON’T die. I wouldn’t look at buildings or anything else but the bike path. It took me probably a good two months to get confident. Now I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine any other way of life.

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Ok, so tell me about this Gyrotonic stuff…

The Gyrotonic method was developed by an injured dancer who healed herself by developing this method. It’s an amazing combination of rhythmic, circular movements  flowing with your breath. It’s a very adaptable exercise, so anyone can do it, but it’s more of an experience with your body. Come try it out at Full Circle Studio in Amsterdam!

And BuBae?

We’re a small little company with a big vision. At BuBae we design and produce girls’ clothing and give a percentage of the profits to organisations that empower women and girls who are less fortunate than we are. Our fabrics are designed by women from all over the world and then produced by women as well. We’re all about radiating beauty from within. Right now our current line is available on the website.

Thanks for the ride Breean!


And the poncho winner is…

Thank you everyone who commented on the People’s Poncho giveaway post! At our team meeting other night, we put all the comments in a hat and we’re excited to announce that Walton is the winner!

He said: “My favourite thing about biking in the rain is surprising people! Ride with a huge smile and give people a friendly wave while they grimace in the drizzle. Enjoy it, embrace it, and feel like a hero when you arrive at your destination. Chase that rainbow!”

Congrats Walton! And thank you again to The People’s Poncho for working with us on this giveaway.

Want to work with us on a giveaway? Let’s talk!

No day is too rainy for #amsterdammers. #depijp #Amsterdam
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Poncho giveaway!

Get ready for the rainy season (here that’s every season) with a bike poncho! Thanks to The People’s Poncho for working with us on this giveaway.

This poncho has it all: slick waterproof shell, sheltering hood with drawstrings, snap clasps at the sleeves, and even handle bar grips to prevent flying away with the wind and rain! There’s a little waterproof zipped pouch for valuables. And the piping is even reflective. Retailing for €75 – but worth every penny.

The only thing you need to do is comment below telling us your favourite thing about biking in the rain.

Comment by Thursday, we’ll announce the winner on Friday!

small print: only open to UK/EU addresses – sorry!

 

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Monday boost

Yep it’s Monday alright. If you haven’t had your coffee yet, I also would love a little boost like this. 

  


Still chic in the ’20s

I love seeing old photos and footage from back in the day. The Eye has a great collection of these old films and this one caught my attention.

A little history lesson: this was when about 80% of all trips were made by bike. Now about 60% of all trips are made by bicycle in the city center. Amazing right?

And look at the people. So simply chic with their hats and jackets. Sitting upright on their oh-so-Dutch bikes. Love it.

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Instamonth

The top 3 loved photos on our Instagram this month are…

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Top 5 things to look forward to in 2016

Best wishes for 2016!

2015 was a great year. As an ode to all the fantastic shots our team captured in 2015 and all our loyal followers, we’ve put together a short list of the top 5 things to look forward to this year in Amsterdam – doubled up with our most popular blog and Instagram posts of 2015.

1. Several days (at least) of non-stop sun sometime between March 23 and September 17. Otherwise, don’t forget to smile while you squint and bear the rainy weather.

2. Doubling up with a lover (or a stranger).  The best part about getting around in this city is pairing up – on one bike is cozy, but side-by-side works just as well. Our cyclists of the month from February love doubling!

 

 

Wieger and Anne Marie

3. Wearing black, preferably a leather jacket as well.    black leather jacket by aude

4. Spotting adorable children and their (stylish) mamas.  This black and white made waves on Facebook and Instagram. And photos of our own Aude (who now has two little ones) was the most-seen post of the year!

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5. Discovering a new favorite corner in this fantastic city. By bike, of course! Maybe a new cafe or a nice view – where ever it is, let it be all yours.

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A huge thanks to all our readers and followers this year! We are grateful for your loyalty and we wouldn’t still be around if it wasn’t for you. From all of us at Amsterdam Cycle Chic, happy new year!