Amsterdam Summer Cycle Chic
July 25, 2008, 11:11 am
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , , ,

After 3 weeks of rain, basically, the city gets back its color…and so do cyclists.

Summer Cycle Chic Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic

Summer Cycle Chic Summer Cycle Chic

See the rest of Summer Cycle Chic here.


Friday Night Cycle Chic
July 18, 2008, 9:53 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , ,

Obviously, Friday nights are perfect to observe Cycle Chic in action. Going to that party, meet at a cafe or cruising to that comfortable terrace at a square downtown, any of these destinations requires just a few basic things: dress up (or casually down) and mount the bike.

Without exception, at all venues of leisure you’ll see two things: people and bikes. Lots of them. The streets belong to us. Makes it all so much more relaxed and convenient.

Friday Night Cycle Chic
Friends riding into town

Friday Night Cycle Chic
Marie Heineken Square, O’Donnell’s terrace.

Friday Night Cycle Chic
Riding into De Pijp neighborhood.

Friday Night Cycle Chic
Pedaling towards De Jordaan neighborhood.

Friday Night Cycle Chic
Waiting at a bicycle traffic light, leaning and standing up.

I shot these pictures with my Nokia N95 camera.

Interview with Mikael Colville-Andersen
July 18, 2008, 7:03 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, news | Tags: , , ,

Cycloculture just posted their excellent interview with Mikael “The Sartorialist On Two Wheels” Colville-Andersen of Copenhagen Cycle Chic, Copenhagenize & The Slow Bicycle Movement. An excerpt of what can be applied to cycling in the Netherlands and Amsterdam as well:

“Q: How have Copenhagen and other European cities made travel by bicycle so easy, accepted, and fashionable? What can cities in the USA and other parts of the world do to emulate the best elements of Copenhagen’s cycling culture?

A: Copenhagen has been dedicated to creating ‘liveable spaces for living people’ for the better part of four decades. Bicycle infrastructure is a big part of it, but not the only part. It is a classic tale of ‘if you build it, they will come.’ If you give your citizens the opportunity to ride, by providing separated bike lanes and facilities, they will ride. If you help present cycling as easy and fast and accessible, branding it as an acceptable form of transport, they will ride. Less focus on safety – people aren’t stupid – more focus on the benefits of cycling – personal and societal – and you are planting the seeds of bicycle culture. In North America, the sports industry have worked hard for decades to sell cycling as a sport or a hobby. Now we need to get people to realise it doesn’t have to be only a sport. It is transport for people in normal clothes. 54% of Copenhageners ride their bikes because it’s easy and fast. Using your bike is a given here. It’s second nature. It’s not something you think about. You just do it.”

Royal Cycle Chic a la Orange
July 15, 2008, 2:12 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , ,

The Dutch Royal House of Orange. Not a subject I thought I’d let myself post about. But, as I want to highlight ALL aspects of cycling in these lowlands, I might as well include that too. If only to emphasize that you can’t speak of ‘a bicycle culture‘ here, as everyone rides and it’s not considered something extraordinary, exotic or fringy.

Enter our Royals. For generations, since the introduction of the bicycle (type) as we know it today, they’ve wholeheartedly embraced it, like the rest of the populace. From King Henry III, Queen Emma, Wilhelmina, Juliana to current reigning Queen Beatrix, each and everyone of them, including their spouses, have not just posed with a bicycle for photo ops, but indeed actively used it on a regular basis. It also made it easy for them to blend in sort of anonymously when they decided to escape the royal confines.

The next in line for the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander is no different. He and his wife Maxima proudly carry on the Dutch tradition of ‘act normal, then you act crazy enough’.

‘Nuff said. 🙂








Queen Wilhelmina










Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard on a tandem.









Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus.

Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander and offspring.

Amsterdamize : Soaking Cycling
July 10, 2008, 12:57 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I was in London for the day and the city lived up to its reputation, the rain never stopped (I know, the weather will never cease to be a topic of conversation, sigh). I saw a few bikes parked, spotted one daring city cyclist on the road near Wimbledon park, but despite these nasty conditions, that particular British cycle commuter had sort of a Dutch touch to his demeanor: no rain jacket, no poncho, no nothing.

After my return last night I mentioned to a friend that a whole day of non-stop rain is rarely the case in the Netherlands. Yes, it rains a lot, too, but it comes in spades. One moment you’d feel like going to the beach, next thing you know the place is flooding. In short, usually you can’t count on any prediction.

‘Usually’ is the segway to this part of the post. Because, funny thing, today London’s climatic seizure moved here. Jolly. This of course gave me an opportunity to do a photo series on Amsterdam cyclists in the rain:

Soaking Cycling
Ride it out, brother.

Soaking Cycling
Tucked in at the front, cycle chic at the wheel.

Soaking Cycling
Another high tech Amsterdamize solution.

Soaking Cycling
She only ‘popped the hood’ on her sweater.

Soaking Cycling
Optical illusion, it’s still raining.

See more in the Amsterdamize : Soaking Cycling photo set.

European Cycle Chic Round Off
July 7, 2008, 5:50 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, Europe, photos | Tags: , , ,

[Cycle Chic: riding a bike in normal clothes, on a normal bike, preferably for commuting purposes]

In no particular order: London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Bern, Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Athens and vicinity.

Feel free to e-mail your own (links to) cycle photos to Amsterdamize, see the menu bar on the top left for the address.

Amsterdamize Classics part 1: 70’s Cycle Jive

My last post got me inspired to do some more research. Feeling like a history major again, I quickly opened up the online image library of the Amsterdam City Archive. Back in my college days, all was done by hand for lack of interwebs and/or no online access to anything. Now, of course, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The image library is vast, huge, enormous. Sophisticated search options instantly got me what I was looking for. Then more, more…sure enough, 2 days later, I’m still browsing.

My catch so far: about 250 bicycle related or non-related, but with bicycle as side-kick, photos. Ranging from 1895 to 2007.

Having gone through them all, (legally!) downloaded them all, tagged them all, named them all, a few assumed and promoted aspects of the history of bicycles in the Netherlands are totally confirmed now, no myths, no exaggerations.

Since its invention the Dutch have embraced the bicycle completely (whether general usage was up or down) and started using it for work (commute/cargo), leisure, family, events, celebrations, rich or poor, etc etc. It hasn’t changed one bit. More volume now, but same attitude, same pragmatism, same no-nonsense, same feel for style (or just disregard for necessity to wear something else), the same joy for riding.

Alright, I’ve decided to gradually put them all up, working from back to front, starting at the turn of the 19th century, coining this series ‘Amsterdamize Classics’. For this first post, however, I wanted to pick a decade that I have some familiarity with…thus bringing you the Cycle Chic Jive of the 70’s.

A few from this batch:

1970's Amsterdam Cycle Jive
1975, girl on Dam Square. Photo by Ed van der Elsken.

1970's Amsterdam Cycle Jive
1970, corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Eerste Rozendwarsstraat, two friends pedaling off into town. Photo by the Amsterdam City Archive.

1970's Amsterdam Cycle Jive
1975, Vijzelgracht, gotcha! Photo by Ed van der Elsken.

1970's Amsterdam Cycle Jive
1979, Reguliersbreestraat, view from Rembrandt Square, a time when cars were still allowed there, rush hour for all. Photo by Ed van der Elsken.