This is why I love cycling in Amsterdam – even the suits are doing it! And there’s no need for an iron or a dry clean: just let the evening breeze ease the wrinkles and sweat from the day.
It’s always nice to catch the last bit of sunshine of the day. Especially when it’s with your buddy, cycling side by side.
Fadi Hindash directed the short documentary ‘Mama Agatha‘. This heart-warming film is about migrant women in Amsterdam learning to ride a bike. Cycling means more freedom, and integration in Dutch society. Women of all ages and nationalities are taught by teacher Mama Agatha. Most of his life Fadi lived in car dominated Dubai, but three years ago he moved to Amsterdam. He was not able to cycle, but learned it from Mama Agatha herself. The premiere of ‘Mama Agatha’ will be on the 2nd of May during Leiden International Short Film Experience. Reason enough to make Fadi our cyclist of the month!
How did you come up with this topic for the documentary?
I was having coffee on my friend’s terrace overlooking a park where a group of Moroccan women were learning how to ride a bicycle. Immediately I was struck with how much that image said about integration and the life of migrants. I personally moved to the Netherlands 3 years ago but I have grown up with the identity of a migrant long before. I was raised in Dubai where my family and I lived as outsiders in our own home which is why the issue of integration is one that is very close to my heart. So when I saw the group of Arab women learning to cycle in Amsterdam, I immediately knew there was a story there for me. The fact that it looked so sweet and humorous set the tone for the film. Plus, I also never learned how to cycle because Dubai is a city of cars, which made the film even more personal as I was going through what the women were going through.
Why is it important to learn to ride a bike?
Because it gives you freedom, not just physically but also emotionally. Cycling feels like flying, on wheels.
I don’t see any men in the documentary, are these cycling lessons just for women. If so, why do you think that is?
I had the same question during filming. As far as I know there aren’t similar courses for men. It could be because men tend to be more proud about admitting they don’t know something so basic or they would feel more embarrassed about falling in the street. I was lucky to have Mama Agatha as a teacher, she taught me behind the scenes while making the documentary.
What do you like about Amsterdam?
It’s the perfect combination of a city and a little town. It’s cozy when you need it to be but also cosmopolitan when you need it to be. There’s also the other factor that cannot be put into words: it has this magic quality to it. It looks so pretty, almost like a dollhouse. I love things that seem unreal with a touch of fantasy, that’s the filmmaker in me.
- The premiere of Mama Agatha takes place on the 2nd of May at The Leiden International Short Film Experience at 14:45.
- The documentary will also be screened at Shortcutz Amsterdam in May
- Interested in organising a screening of ‘Mama Agatha’ yourself?
Contact Marek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Follow ‘Mama Agatha‘ on Facebook
- Visit the Mama Agatha website for more information
Finally the first real spring days! And what do you do? Ride to your local park and chill out. At the Sarphati Park, in De Pijp, you could barely see the grass. Bikes and people everywhere. Oh ya.
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!
We missed a few Instamonth posts, so in this post we show you the top 10 of our Instagram pics of December, January and February.
1. National Tulip Day in Amsterdam
2. Christmas tree cycling
3. 5 O’clock rush hour
4. Perfectly coloured pair
5. Let it snow!
6. Foggy and cold Amsterdam
7. Baby chill modus on daddy’s bike
8. Christmas tree in panniers
9. National Tulip Day at Dam Square
10. Bike love in London
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.
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.
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.
I caught these Amsterdammers going though the Rijksmuseum bike path, enjoying today’s sunny chill and riding fast through the tunnel. So many people out and about on their bikes today. Babies, bakfiets, lovers, and friends — I love that no matter the weather, we keep on peddling.