After a big Gay Pride weekend the locals are soaking up the late afternoon sun and biking home…goodnight Amsterdam.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes you need a little break from the city..doesn’t mean you can’t take your wheels! The gorgeous town of Zaanse Schans is a perfectly picturesque town to visit and ride around in nature. Pack a lunch, take a camera and see a little bit of what our Dutch nature has to offer. 250 years ago the windmills here formed the first industrial site in the world and some of the mills are still functioning! Happy cycling!
We all have busy lives and most of us are stuck behind the wheel on our way home from work. In Amsterdam we like to do things a little different, no matter how busy it is you can almost always guarantee the travel time will be the same. Now we can’t use that age-old excuse for why we are late! A flat tyre maybe? What other reasons could we possibly have?
When I was growing up we had to wear uniforms to school. In Amsterdam these girls are super happy to display their own threads on their way home from school…with bikes to match!
Check out Amsterdam Cycle Chic’s top 10 Instagram pics of April.
1. Carrying flowers on back carrier
2. Love on a bike
3. Turning to the right
4. Kings Day: Bikes in Vondelpark
5. Another windy morning
6. Bike crates are soooo cool!
7. Kings Day: Hipsters in the Vondelpark
8. Mums and Babies
9. Kings Day: Vondelpark Flea Market
10. Kings Day: Dinking
Are you already following us on Instagram? You should, if you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s cycling culture and enjoy the diversity of cyclists and bikes in Amsterdam’s streets. Every month we will post the most liked Instagram shots here on our blog.
Wasn’t today just amazing? On these types of days, I have Bob Marley stuck in my head. Though it was cold, the sun was shining and the weather was sweet. Makes you want to move your peddling feet. Sunday, here I am!
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!
Since a month I work in Amsterdam-Noord, the neighbourhood at the other side of the IJ river. To get there by bike you either have to go all the way to the East side and cross two big bridges, or you take a ferry. Since March there is a new ferry at Java-eiland (the ‘Oostveer’ at Azartplein). I love it. You don’t have to cross the busy city centre and you have a great view over the water. It is actually quite relaxing after a day of hard work or after baby rush hour in the morning.
This is what it looks like when the ferry arrives:
- Curious what it is to take one of the other ferries? Read the post by Else: Living in Amsterdam Noord
- Want to try the ‘Oostveer’? Check out the ferry timetable, it goes only three times per hour
- Want to learn more about Amsterdam Noord? Visit the great website I Love Noord
Alexander is a true Amsterdammer. He owns a beautiful flower shop in the speigelquartier in the centre of the city. His customers cycle up to his store on the Prinsengracht canal and cycle away with handfuls of gorgeous flowers neatly tucked away in their arms, bike crates or panniers. He lives and breaths flowers – he even lives on a street called the Bloemgracht! (flower canal). You may have seen Alexander or his staff zipping through Amsterdam on their bikes delivering daily flowers to locals in the sunshine, rain or even snow.
Why did you become a florist?
The story all started in the area of Nieuwendammerdijk, in Amsterdams North where I grew up. This area provided my inspiration as a small child where I played in the forest behind my family home, building huts and creating my own garden. I used to make floral necklaces for my grandmother in my little secret hideaway. Floristry came naturally as I love working with my hands and creating special and unique things and getting to know all different kinds people. I love it.
Where are your favourite places to ride?
In the Summertime I love riding my racebike to the fishing village of Marken. This 45km cycle route is the best way to spend a summer day and it is also a popular route amongst locals and tourists. You can take a quick ferry ride from Amsterdam, cycle along the picturesque dyke houses all the way through Durgedam. Its a beautiful cycle route. In Spring and Fall I love cycling through forests such as Amsterdamse Bos or Hoge Veluwe which is outside of Amsterdam. I even take my bike to other cities such as Brussels when I have weekends away. It’s the only way to travel.
What bike do you own?
I have an original Gazelle that my Grandfather used to own, a racebike, an opa fiets (Grandpa bike) which has a big wooden crate to make my flower deliveries with – and I recently received a beautiful hybrid bike for my birthday which is half race-bike, half mountain bike. Each one has it’s own purpose.
A.P Bloem services Amsterdam and across the Netherlands with their arrangements and displays for local homes, birthdays, weddings and special events. Their signature style draws inspiration from the Golden Age and wild fields in the true essence of nature. “We genuinely love what we do and we wish for people to share and experience the beauty of the special things we source and create” says Alexander. You can keep up to date with their flowery adventures here.