Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Scooters and a Daycare Center Terrorizing the Bike Paths

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Kids Lodge golf cart kiddy bus train. Photo from Algemene Dagblad.

All is not perfect in the land of bicycles, tulips, cheese and more bicycles. In the middle of hyper bicycle friendly Netherlands sits Houten which was actually planned and built as the ideal bicycling town. Amongst probably many other honors Houten was as recently as 2008 awarded the prize of Best Bicycling City. In Houten auto traffic is directed all the way around the city on a ring road with limited access to the interior city. Bicyclists, on the other hand, enjoy a network of wide bike paths throughout the town.

Meanwhile “Kids Lodge” after school daycare center in Houten has introduced a novel concept: They bought ten old golf carts to ferry the kids from their elementary schools to the daycare. Behind the golf carts they’re towing trailers, also loaded with kids. Their explanation: It takes too long to drive the kids all the way around the city in buses so instead they ride directly through the city on the bike paths with their golf cart trains. Why not use special bikes such as the KDV Workcycles sells to dozens of other daycare centers in the Netherlands? “We’d rather cycle but that’s not possible with so many kids. Too dangerous.” Dangerous? We’ve hundreds of KDV’s in daily service throughout the country and have yet to hear of even a blister or pinched finger. Too many kids? The KDV carries eight kids, about as many as each golf cart plus trailer rig. Maybe “We got a great deal on the decommissioned golf carts. ” and “We’re too lazy to pedal.” are more likely explanations?

Snow, Amsterdam Style

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

amsterdam snow 5
Note the controlled slide with one foot as outrigger, as well as the smile and look that says “What’s the big deal?”. Dutch folks know how to ride bikes.

The coastal climate keeps it from snowing in Amsterdam as much as you’d figure for a place quite far north and with a reputation for considerable rainfall. Some winters it hardly snows at all while some winters it begins in November and snows regularly until spring. Still it almost never snows more than perhaps ten centimeters and then it usually warms up a couple days later, making a slushy, dirty mess and gradually disappearing.

This winter, however, it’s already snowed more in November and the first half of December than we usually see all year. No matter; we have our bikes to get around and today’s snowfall was just what I needed to remember that. This morning I had a plan to train at the Velodrome with my friend Toon. Yes, I still do that sort of thing and no, there is no conflict between being a cyclist for both transportation and fun/fitness. The Amsterdam Velodrome is great way to stay fit when it’s like this outside. It’s just warm enough to wear shorts and even in a snowstorm there are 30 or 40 riders in a training session paceline.

Workcycles: Voted Best Bike Shop in Amsterdam

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

best bike shop in amsterdam, originally uploaded by henry in a’dam.

Thanks to everybody who voted Workcycles the Best Bike Shop in Amsterdam!

That’s no mean feat in the bicycle capitol of the world with no less than 250 bike shops and half a million daily cyclists.

Workcycles Cover Boys

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010


The latest issue of the Vogelvrije Fietser, the magazine of the Dutch cyclists’ union features workbikes, which basically means it features WorkCycles. Those are WorkCycles Fr8’s in use by customer Eurotank on the cover as well as in the two page spread that begins the article.

To translate the first part of the article:

“Everything you dare transport”

Somewhere in Azerbijan on the terrain of a cement factory ride bikes from WorkCycles, a bike builder from Amsterdam. Also in Latvia, Nigeria, Serbia and Finland they do their duties in factory halls.

Where the tough transport bikes land and at which companies, Henry Cutler of Workcycles often doesn’t know. “Purchasing organizations order the bikes from us. Sometimes that organization belongs to a concern and sometimes they’re hired in to purchase stuff.” In any case businesses that need tough bikes know where to find him. Cutler is from the US and nourishes the Dutch bicycle culture and history. So has he put the wind back in the sails of the old fashioned, indestructible bakfiets in Amsterdam. “I’m an American who maintains a Dutch tradition. For the Dutch is the bicycle apparently not so interesting. The bicycle is something to use, such as a pair of shoes or a refrigerator.”

Vote & Win a Workcycles bike!

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010


Workcycles has been nominated “Best Bike Shop of Amsterdam”. We certainly believe that’s true so if you’d like to make this an official reality we’d really appreciate your vote. And there’s a bonus: Voting enters you to win a specially built Workcycles bike!

Click here to vote and register to win the Workcycles bike. “Best bike shop” appears on page 10 so you can either vote for all of your Amsterdam favorites or just skip to the important part.

Of course you needn’t live in Amsterdam to vote but you probably will need to visit to pick up the bike… not that visiting Amsterdam is such a bad thing. You’ll already have a bike to use here too!

Flattery in the Flesh

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Tattoo studio House of Tattoos a few blocks from WorkCycles in the Amsterdam Jordaan did this tattoo. Though it is one of our bikes (in mirror image) it’s not gracing one of our bodies; Tom found it while searching for tattoo artists. You can see more of Emilia’s work here. The bike isn’t really typical of her work. Most is of very finely drawn human and animal subjects.

I really appreciate the permanence and commitment of tattoos and some are really beautiful… but I can’t think of anything I want drawn on my body.

Fietsfabriek Colleagues Bankrupt

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Last Week of May
Photo by Marc of Amsterdamize

Some industry insiders, myself included, were at least suspecting things weren’t going smoothly at Amsterdam’s populair transport bike producer De Fietsfabriek. Yesterday their filing for bankruptcy got leaked and now the press is all over it like flies on poop. That’s not really surprising considering the uncanny knack those guys had for keeping the media’s attention. It is (or was) indeed a very charismatic story about a temperamental and driven Kurdish immigrant’s success with that most Dutch of products; the bicycle. I have to admit that it sounds far more exciting than “Highly educated industrial designer and ex bike industry guy from New York makes conservative, high quality bikes in Holland”. But I suppose the downside of celebrity status is that you’re even more newsworthy when things go wrong.

Seven museums, one car and five bicycles

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010


Most WorkCycles bikes are used daily for such mundane purposes as riding to work, carrying the kids to school, carrying tools around an oil refinery or delivering the post. But some of our bikes have far stranger goals in life. Case in point: exhibit and communications design firm Atelier Markgraph in Frankfurt am Main, Germany bought three WorkCycles Cargobikes and two Fr8’s with Massive Racks and we were quite curious about how they were to be used. Their description sums it up:

Bremen and Bremerhaven take their ’Knowledge Worlds’ on tour for the fourth time.

Frankfurt am Main, 26 September 2009 – Surprising experiments, unique exhibits, exciting excursions – the travelling exhibition ’Knowledge Worlds’ shows just how much the two cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven have to offer.

After a highly successful debut tour in 2006, the exhibition is now bringing ’knowledge worlds’ from seven museums in Bremen and Bremerhaven out to the public for the fourth time. Bremen is represented by the Botanika, the Universum and the Ethnological Museum; Bremerhaven by the coastal zoo, the Maritime Museum, the Emigration Museum and the recently-opened Climate House. Once again, the exhibition was conceived and designed by Frankfurt’s Atelier Markgraph, which was also responsible for implementation.

The First Warm Day…

Friday, March 19th, 2010

henry-pascal-fietsen-18-3-10 4

…was luckily also “papa day”. Thursday’s are dad’s weekday to hang out with Pascal. Since a 19 month old demands pretty much full-time attention it means a (nearly) no work day. We do all kind of things on papa day: ride to the zoo, walk around Amsterdam doing errands and checking out every park and playground along the way, visit friends… If it’s decent weather we often go for a bike ride.

Today was beautiful, at least by Dutch late winter standards. After breakfast we got on the bike and then we rode until early evening. We stopped at several playgrounds to test their slides (P’s favorite). The big, curvy one near the wind turbines was the winner. We sat on the terrace of a cafe and shared a chicken saté and frites. We checked out a running windmill where they still grind grains and the nice bakkers bakfiets out front. We even climbed “Het Kopje van Bloemendaal” the biggest hill in the area (43 meters!).

Copenhagen-Amsterdam War in the VogelVrije Fietser

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Some Danish guy on a WorkCycles rental bike in Amsterdam, originally uploaded by Amsterdamize.

I usually flip through the “VogelVrije Fietser” (literal translation: “Birdfree Cyclist”) in about 30 seconds and then pass it to my toddler son for shredding but this issue (January 2010) had a few bits worth sharing… before Pascal gets his way with it. The first interesting piece is the latest salvo in the imaginary Copenhagen-Amsterdam war of cycling supremacy. The Copenhagen ambitions to achieve or already have achieved the coveted, self appointed title of World Cycling Capitol are already all over the Internet and the BirdFree Cyclist even made the trek up there to the great white north to see what all the fuss was about. In a nutshell they made the great revelation in the previous issue that the crafty Copenhageners were just as busy improving cycling facilities in their city as in most Dutch cities, and that they’re being more vocal about promoting this fact. Whoopee, the Danes also see value in a city where many people cycle!