Jonathan is an Amsterdam based designer from the UK with a passion for all things retro. He loves working with his hands to make his creative visions come to life – whether it’s designing shoes for international fashion brands, reconstructing vintage furniture or working on his collection of vintage bicycles.
Welcome, Jonathan! We’re glad to have you as our December cyclist of the month! To get started, tell us a bit more about how you ended up in Amsterdam.
I’m originally from the UK, more precisely from where Hobbits live. Yes, that’s right. Lord of the Rings was actually written in my hometown. After visiting Amsterdam for a long weekend, I fell in love with the city! One month later, I found myself moving over. That was about two years ago… and here we are now, enjoying a crisp, cool day in the lovely Nine Streets neighborhood.
As an expat, what was your first reaction to the Dutch cyclists here in Amsterdam?
At first, it was all so unique and quite startling!Now, cycling has become a major part of my day-to-day routine here in Amsterdam. The Dutch are known as the kings of cycling but it was a totally new concept for me after living in London for 10 years. Unfortunately, in London there’s a lack of forward thinking towards cyclists which makes it quite unsafe.
In your opinion, what makes Amsterdam so special for cycling?
Now that I have adapted to life-on-bike, I absolutely love it! Cycling around the Jordan with friends is one of my favorite areas because of course, the scenery is lovely. Plus, it is more peaceful and less crowded than the rest of the city center. Riding my bike has become a bigger part of my life. Cycling in Amsterdam really inspired me to start buying vintage bikes and do them up, which is now one of my favorite hobbies.
How did you get into collecting vintage bikes?
I love the hands on process of fixing up vintage bikes. Plus, of course the bike loving vibe of Amsterdam is an inspiration. A few years ago, I bought a bike black, vintage Peugeot. It was from 1975 in like-new condition, just beautiful! Once I got my first vintage bike there was no looking back, I was in love! Now, I’m a vintage bike enthusiast. At one point, I did have seven vintage bikes so, perhaps you could call me a “collectomaniac”? At the moment I am down to only three, including the Carlton pictured here.
My other prized bike is a 1982 Peugeot Centennial Edition PH12, this was one of the first bike to consider aerodynamics, it has only been ridden twice since 1982! At the moment, it’s hanging on the wall of my apartment. My third bike is a Peugeot that my dad bought brand new in 1975, when he was 13.
What’s the story behind the unique, vintage Carlton that you’re riding around the Nine Streets today?
The one pictured here is a Carlton criterium custom which I built myself after bringing it over from the UK.The bike was owned by a family friend who bought it new. He was a long distance rider so, I have had it the bike has undergone some changes and I still want to change it further and make it into a single speed.
This is the first bike I built myself and added a Basil bell and Brooks seat. I’m very proud of it!
Carlton is up there as one of my favourite brands. My dream is to one day I have a Bianchi Pista too, they’re absolutely beautiful. So far, I have yet to find one the is in good enough condition… Hopefully some day!
What’s your favorite aspect about cycling in Amsterdam?
My favorite aspects of cycling in Amsterdam are the people you run into along the way. When biking around town, I often spot a friend cycling by and we wave or shout, ‘Hello!’ You often see the most random scenes pop up out of the blue. It’s fun to capture a quick snapshot of wacky moments on my phone and share them with friends for a laugh. I get so much enjoyment from riding my bike everyday in this wonderful city. Thank you, Amsterdam!
And a big thanks to you Jonathan for joining us here at Amsterdam Cycle Chic! You can follow along with his vintage bike adventures via Instagram. ‘Til next time…
Interview & photos by Lily.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Happy Monday! Backpacks seem to be a must-have accessory these days. This vrouw was ahead of the rush hour hoard sporting a stylish one. Where can I get one?
Steampunk may be a fantastical and fictional era from the 19th century, but in Amsterdam in 2014 you see all eras combining into one contemporary and amazing milkshake.
I rode passed this copper-coloured beauty and had to turn around and take a better look. Upon closer inspection I discovered a vintage lantern replacing conventional rear-lighting, and an old fashioned horn for alerting fellow pedestrians and cyclists of this beasts stealth approach. This bike also had a small leather chest and camera case (to carry life’s necessities naturally) topping it all off with a skull fixed on the handlebars – to guide the riders journey.
With rise of the popularity of this genre in The Netherlands through alternative festivals here such as Nox Obscura, Gogbot and Emporium Vennesque you may just be seeing some more kooky wheels flying past you in the near future.
Last weekend I went to the Ij Hallen flea market over in Noord. Have you been? It’s fun to check out all the funky stuff people are selling–and of course to people watch. Hipster mania! But all types of people, too. Old and young, local and foreign, it doesn’t matter.
My favorite parts of the journey are waiting for the ferry to get there, and waiting for the ferry to go back. Then you get to see all the cool stuff people picked up — often tied to their bike in creative ways. I always end up saying to myself “What!? How did I not see that!” Ugh, next time. Next time.
Vrankrijk is the historical squat of Amsterdam, situated in the heart of the city. Founded in the late 80′s, it was a place for live music, dance parties but also a political home for people who were looking for orientation off the mainstream.
Now, after being closed for several years, the Vrankrijk has been re-discovered by a new generation: a mix of squatters and hipsters so don’t be scared of the snake, you are invited too!
Afraid of the dark days ahead, many Amsterdammers dyed their hair in all the colors of the rainbow!
Most of the time, only a part of it. Most of the time, even only the tips of it..
Curly hair, dirty shoes and plastic bag. Those 2 guys cycling along the Amstel look like they are heading to a party outside, maybe the last one of the season.
Now Pete gave Amsterdam Cycle Chic a signed copy of the book that we can give away!
How do you win? Send us by mail, post on our Facebook page or in our Flickr group a picture of your own ‘history of cycling’. So for example a picture of yourself as a baby on the back of your dads bike, your mother in a hippy dress on a Dutch bike or a picture of your home town full of cyclists a few decades ago.
The picture of Aude’s husband Willem that she posted a few weeks ago is the perfect example. Join the competition and win!
Have you been to Berlin? Wow, what a city. This weekend I was super impressed with the numbers of cyclists their chic style.
Though the cities are very different, Berliners and Amsterdammers have quite a lot in common when it comes to cycling, also a few new things to learn! So if you’re in Berlin, here’s how to cycle chic. Check it out:
PS. Berlin has their own cycle chic blog, check them out here!