Inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Posts tagged “bike culture

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!

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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


In the Spotlight: Maud, initiator Cyclehack and bike expert

“Dutch kids are the happiest kids in the world, and our bike friendly culture certainly is one of the reasons for their happiness. That is why my mission is to promote cycling and make sure it stays the preferred mode of transport in the Netherlands.” Maud de Vries is one of the initiators of Cyclehack Amsterdam and a bike culture expert. Cyclehack is a global movement where people get together to address the barriers to cycling and come up with creative solutions. “With Cyclehack we wanted to give Amsterdammers a wake-up call. We Amsterdammers are so used to cycling every day, that we do not always fully appreciate what we have. When I ask an Amsterdammer to look at cycling through the eyes of a tourist, people start talking about what cycling means to them and how it influences lives, here and in other parts of the world.”
Maud de Vries

Amsterdam is an example of bike friendliness, but still we encounter some barriers. Can you name some of those barriers?
According to the city council the important barriers that need to be addressed are bike parking, bike theft, too crowded cycle lanes and connecting cycling to public transport like the metro and the train. We, as the organisers of Cyclehack, see two other important challenges; innovation and marketing. We want to claim the bike like Scandinavia has claimed fashion. Amsterdam should again be the number one cycling city in the world.”

Cyclehack took place in 40 cities around the world in the weekend of the 20th of June. What are the ideas with the highest potential that came out of Amsterdam’s Cyclehack?
We are already working on putting some ideas into practice: Cycle Space (a space about cycling in the city), LinkLock (a lock attached to a pole that indicates when a bike was parked, to help address the problem of bikes gone a stary), and the ‘bike-back-crate’ (a foldable bike crate that you can take with you on your back) amongst others. But there are many other ideas that came out of Cyclehack that we are talking about with the city council and Dura Vermeer, one of our sponsors.

Cyclehack Amsterdam

Beside organising Cyclehack Amsterdam you do a lot more to promote cycling, can you tell us something about your other projects?
I am a creative strategist working mostly on bike to work projects. I address the issue of how to get people on their bikes (and out of the car). I am looking at creative ways to change people’s behaviour. I work a lot on ‘Toury’. Toury is an bike to work app, it is a game that triggers people to get on their bikes. For some people losing weight could be a trigger, other people are triggered by environmental reasons, health reasons or because cycling is very relaxing after a day of work. The app addresses all those different triggers. We work internationally with this app with big companies and organisations.

Toury fietsapp

Why do you love cycling so much?
Cycling gives me a feeling of freedom. It immediately relaxes. I can stop wherever I want, I see things that I don’t see from a car or public transport and it is social, you connect with other people. I just love it!

What bike do you have?
I have a Workcycles FR8. It is a great bike! It is the first bike that I spent quite some money on. I bought it when I had my first child. It is great for short and long distances and I can carry my two kids and the groceries on it. When I arrive home, I ride the bike into my house and put the groceries in my kitchen. I have recommended this bike to many friends and everybody loves it.
Maud de Vries, initiator Cyclehack Amsterdam