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?
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!
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!
At AMS CC we like to celebrate all aspects of on the bike life in Amsterdam- from the old Dutch bike that clanks as it rides, to carting 3 kids, all the groceries and a puppy while making it home for dinner, to urban speed cyclist, and everyone in between. This past Sunday we met up with the women of the Rapha Club House Amsterdam who where headed out on their Women’s 100km ride through Amsterdam.
[Photos by Amsterdam Cycle Chic]
What started in 2013 as a small group of female riders in the UK, has grown exponentially ever year and expanded over 6 continents (Antartica has yet to report in). The best part of Rapha Women’s 100 is it’s not a competition; it’s about connecting a community of women cyclist around the world through a shared adventure and love of the road under two wheels.
According to Rapha’s website over 7,000 women across the globe joined in and rode together on Sunday the 23rd. More than 100 of those women were riding in Amsterdam!
[Photo courtesy of Maaike Steenwijk]
Unfortunately, my little Dutch bike wouldn’t have made it through 100km (yes, Im blaming the bike) so we only have photos of the beginning. Maaike Steenwijk followed the cyclist along the ride and was kind enough to loan us a couple of her photos. Thanks for letting us join the fun!
Where 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’.
What 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.
What 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!
Why 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.
Pictures of Mérida by Lily.
Aalsmeer Flower Festival Bike Tour
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.
(Do you have favorite summer day trips? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!)
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 (email@example.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!
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!
Meet Awura, a 29 year Amsterdam local and law student turned creative entrepreneur. She joins us on International Women’s Day to share more about life on two wheels and the inspiration that led her to found the Creative Women Collective.
What is a day on two wheels like for you?
I cycle everywhere so, the morning starts with me jumping on my bike heading to the gym, the market or making my way to the office for a meeting. At lunch, I love getting outside for some fresh air. After a little break, I either head back to the office or my next meeting. It’s easy to do errands on my way back home because I have a basket on the front of my bike. I like to grab something fresh to make a delicious dinner at home.
What’s your take on cycling here in Amsterdam?
In Amsterdam we can do so much by bike I cycle every day for work and leisure. Overall, I love it but cycling can be hectic during rush hour traffic and I’ll be honest, sometimes that brings out a bit of my aggressive side (sorry, tourists!)
Cycling can be a relaxing experience too. When the weather is nice, I love cycling around the city in the early evening with my friends. We always bump into the most interesting people – young and old- along the canals of Amsterdam, have a chat and learn something new. Cycling opens the city up to us!
Aside from the quintessential scenery, why did you chose the Bloemgracht as the the location of our shoot?
This area is great source of inspiration, the logical reason being that my workspace is located here but I also experiences a really impacting internship during my time working in entertainment law. Every time I ride my bike along this canal, I take a trip down memory lane. This reflection on the past, makes me super grateful for the life I am living today. That includes my current work space at Ide Fix where I am often working on new plans for the Creative Women Collective.
Tell us more about the Creative Women Collective…
Based on the idea that we are stronger together, the philosophy is to create your own opportunities by growing your network and knowledge. I wanted to create a network that will help motivate women to share their strengths and challenges with each other. The Creative Women Collective is a network of ambitious, energetic women from different creative industries – from food to fashion, media and the arts. The aim is to motivate dreamers to get off the couch and keep professional entrepreneurs hungry for growth no matter how well their businesses are already going. We launched in September 2016 with our first event and it’s been amazing to see how many women are excited to join us!
What inspired you to launch the Creative Women Collective?
I started the Creative Women Collective after three years of practicing law and prosecuting for creative individuals and companies. I was ready for a change and began CWC because I was inspired by the women in my life, especially my amazing mother who is also an entrepreneur. My best girlfriends we are also an inspiration, I see them as epitome of collective strength and creative power. Without them CWC would not be here today!
You were born on International Women’s Day (March 8). Tell us more about why that’ s significant to you.
My birthday wasn’t a coincidence but is a part of my purpose in life. I discovered the desire to start CWC through my experiences and when I tapped into this desire, everything started to make sense, like a puzzle on it’s way to completion. Even my birthday was a piece to that puzzle.
Due to the changes in the political climate, recently a lot of women marches have taken place around the globe. Women – but also young girls and men – collectively stood together to let their voices be heard in favor of women’s rights. Although the circumstances which have caused these marches are unfortunate, these marches have sparked hope and promise for the future. On international Women’s Day a lot of amazing events are organized to put a spotlight on women, in order to stimulate female empowerment and to address female inequality.
The past couple of years, this day has become more and more important in The Netherlands and around the world, and I am glad to see it!
How does it feel to be a part of a group that supports and inspires hard working boss ladies?
The first word which comes to my mind is fulfillment. This experience is fulfilling in ways I could not have predicted. The energy during our events is full of inspiration, purpose and determination. The collaborations which roll out of our events are the icing on the cake, and the continued support afterwards amongst our women is the cherry on top!
What advice would you give to other women who want to follow their passions but aren’t sure where to start?
Start with self-reflection: why do you do what you do? The “why” is important because it is the foundation of your business. The foundation these women will need to fall back on in times of struggle, or during times of lack of inspiration.
Also, surround yourself with entrepreneurs and inspiring people. These people have knowledge and experience to share. They have been there and can help you get started or be there for you when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.That’s exactly what the Creative Women Collective events are made to do.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Awura! Happy cycling and Happy Birthday!
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.
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!)
(photo: Copenhagenize Design Co.)
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.
Amsterdam Cycle Chic