The Dutch word for ‘gloves’ is my second all-time favourite Dutch word: handschoenen. Literally translated as ‘hand shoes.’ Yep, that’s what they are: shoes for the hands.
And just as I was getting quite comfortable toting these things around everywhere I go, it seems like it might be time to put them away (the jacket and scarf can stay handy though). Because 15ºC of sun calls for bare hands on the handlebars! Weeeeeeee!
You can pretty much do anything on a bike here, even sports it seems! This keen Coxswain motivates her rowers from a bicycle all the way down the Amstel. Talk about a multi-tasker!
Go girls go!
Sometimes it’s cold. Hailing. Wet. Cloudy. And then sometimes we get lucky with nothing but sun. Yep, that makes us smile, smiles like these two. No gloves or hats even. That’s what being on your bike does — makes you smile.
Wieger and Anne Marie love to go out for dinner, visit art galleries, and look for nice boutique hotels or B&B’s for their next city trip. So why not turn their passion into their work? That’s what they did, they started their own B&B in a typical Amsterdam house in the popular neighbourhood De Pijp. It is called Ollies Bed and Breakfast. The breakfast is lovely, they have cool photography in the rooms and they made their own mini-guide of the city so that their guests can enjoy Amsterdam as much as they do.
Food and Art
Wieger and Anne Marie love art. The museum district is only a 5 minute walk from their B&B. Wieger: “The Rijksmuseum is really a must see, both for the art and for the cool designed building. It is amazingly done.” Anne Marie: “But we actually prefer to visit art galleries and especially photography galleries. In weekends we love to walk around de Spiegelkwartier. We always pay a visit to Jaski Art Gallery and the Yellow Korner.” The Spiegelkwartier has been the heart of the art and antiques trade for the past 80 years with over 70 specialised art and antique dealers.
Their other hobby is to go out for dinner. Anne Marie: “We love restaurant Sent just across the street. It is a small and lovely place where they cook with a Green Egg. But we have so many other favourites like Vis aan de Schelde [Close to RAI. “Michelin-star quality food, and a very relaxed atmosphere”], Toscanini in the Jordaan [a very popular Italian place, so make sure to make a reservation], ‘French-bistro-style’ restaurant Rijsel in a side street of the Amstel, fine dining at Fyra just off Vijzelgracht and Bar Americano [along the Amstel, where you can eat Italian food and stay till late at night for drinks at the bar].”
What to do in Amsterdam
Wieger calls himself an Amsterdamophile: “Amsterdam is the best city to live in. The size is perfect, everything is walking distance. And after living here for almost fifteen years, I still enjoy the beauty of the city.” Anne Marie: “There is always something nice to do in Amsterdam; concerts, expositions, new pop-up stores opening and there are many festivals. I am not that much into electronic music festivals but I love food and art festivals like De Rollende Keukens in the Westerpark, the Food Soul Festival and the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam-Noord. For shopping I recommend the 9 Straatjes and the Pijp. Just a few minutes’ walk from our B&B you have the Gerard Doustraat. Since a few years a lot of nice stores have opened there. It is becoming very trendy.”
Bikes and Boats
“The best way to see Amsterdam is by bike or boat”, says Wieger. “My favourite cycling spots are the Vondelpark, the old canals and the cycle path under the Rijksmuseum.” Anne Marie: “On sunny days we take a boat, bring some food and drinks, friends and nice music and sail through the canals.” They would both recommend tourists to rent a bike and go through the city like locals do. Wieger: “I think it is recommendable for tourists to plan their cycling trip a bit before they start cycling. Cycling can be quite hectic. But there are nice routes and neighbourhoods like the Jordaan are great to discover by bike.”
Ollie’s Bed and Breakfast
Ollie’s Bed and Breakfast has got three rooms. Anne Marie and Wieger live on the first and second floor and the rooms are on the third and fourth floor of a typical ‘de Pijp’ building with steep stairs in a cosy street. “Working together is going really well. We have a good division of tasks but we also work a lot together,” says Anne Marie. Wieger: “We have the same taste of style and paid a lot of attention to detail when furbishing the room. We would love to have guests over who share our taste for interior design and our love for photography.”
The other day I was riding down Vijzelstraat towards the city centre. As I was approaching the Prinsengracht (a one-way and precisely here), I slowed down, looked for on-coming cars and bikes from the left and right… and kept riding.
Yes, I knowingly rode through a red light. In Amsterdam. The capital of red-light-running. I know, that doesn’t make it ok.
A police car followed me, pulled me over, and proceeded to lecture me about how it’s unsafe, especially “because a police car was parked at the intersection.”
And then he actually asked me if he could give me a fine of €97. I had already argued my side by saying I felt safe, so I didn’t argue further. But could I have said no? I wonder.
So watch out Amsterdammers. They’re out to get ya!
Give a lift, or carry your friend’s bag. These two friends have it down.
This past weekend was the much anticipated start of the Tulip season. 200,000 colourful Tulips were ‘planted’ in front of The Royal Palace of Amsterdam in Dam Square as part of an annual pop-up celebration held to celebrate our national symbol. The best part of it all was that the general public were invited to pick their own bouquet of fresh tulips! (if you were patient enough to cue up for hours!)
Bikes of course were out in full force, with their crates swinging with gorgeous towering tulips. The red colour represented Red Cross who was a sponsor of the event. They want this to be “a reason to share and give flowers to your neighbour, to show you care”. Let’s hope there was some sharing done here as it’s easy to take home beauties like these just for yourself.
Couldn’t get any more Dutch than this!
Happy Tulip Day!
Baby it’s cold outside, so get out your wools, hats, big jackets and get (back) on that bike.
Today it is the third birthday of our blog. Three years of promoting the Amsterdam way of cycling. Our believe that everyone around the world has the right to cycle safely in their own city, has motivated us to work on this voluntary blog. Amsterdam shows that all is possible on a bike: commute to work, go out for a drink, pick your kids up from school, take you dog for a run etc. etc.
All local politicians around the world have to do to create a bike friendly is to make cycling top priority; create a safe cycling infrastructure and encourage people young and old to use their bikes. Believe us, it is best for the health, fun and future of a city!
Please join us on our trip back through the past year:
Most popular posts (just click on the pictures to see the post):
Articles in magazines:
and loads and loads more…
Thank you all for checking out our blogs, liking our pictures and spreading the word about how cool cycling is. We look forward to a new year full of ‘horses of steel’!
About Cycle Chic
Amsterdam Cycle Chic is part of the global Cycle Chic movement. It all started in Copenhagen in 2007 when journalist, film director and photographer Mikael Colville-Andersen started posting pictures of people in Copenhagen on their bikes. All over the world people found his blog and were inspired by the Danish bicycle culture. It seemed that a lot of people linked cycling to sports; to lycra, speed and sweat. Mikael Colville-Andersen showed the world that cycling can be very stylish and part of a daily life.
Check out the original Copenhagen Cycle Chic website
The foundation of the Cycle Chic movement is this manifesto. In short; style over speed and no helmets or visvests.
About Cycle Chic