Archive for the ‘WorkCycles dealers’ Category

Just an 8 Tooth Cog in the Machine

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

8t driver (1)

This folks is an 8 tooth cog. These are the tiniest cogs in the bike world and probably in all of machine world too since a gear with only eight teeth is actually a pretty bad idea. The problem is that it’s not really round, it’s basically an octagon so it runs roughly as it’s effective diameter gets bigger and smaller between each tooth. In freestyle BMX though, such tiny cogs are handy because they enable making a useful gear ratio with a tiny chainring… one that won’t get bent in half when a rider smacks it onto a stairway railing or priceless sculpture.

Anyhow at times like this we at WorkCycles feel a little like that little 8 toother: Handy but basically just a minuscule cog in the giant financial machine. A handful of power brokers work the controls and we spin around, trying to do our thing. My understanding of such matters is limited but I read that the powers that be decided it would be good to turn on the presses and print a whole lot more Euro money. Of course the total real value of that money hasn’t actually increased; It’s just been divided into smaller units. In other words printing more money makes whatever money you already have worth less. I suppose the saving grace is that I don’t have any money to lose value.

Oh and then there’s that exchange rate thing, the reason I’m driveling on about this. Now with more, less valuable Euros in the world, a Euro becomes less valuable in comparison to other currencies. In our case the US Dollar is the issue because the parts of the world that make lots of stuff sell their stuff in US Dollars. WorkCycles bikes are NOT made in one of those countries but some of their most expensive parts are: gear and dynamo hubs, rollerbrakes, some frames, cranks, pedals and other smaller components.

eur-usd-exchange- apr-2015

That above is the relationship between the value of a Euro and a Dollar over the last year. One Euro is worth approximately 30% fewer Dollars than a year ago. Alternatively you could say that the roughly 25% of a WorkCycles bike’s contents purchased in Dollars now costs 30% more for us Euro money wielding Dutch folks to purchase. Being a little company competing against giants our profit margins are already pathetic. We wrestle each year with where to set our prices so that our bikes are a good value for end customers, our dealers can earn a living from their margins, and we can pay our own employees and bills. It’s been apparent that considerable price increases would be necessary and and making them suck is not an option we’ll ever entertain. We delayed the inevitable as long as possible and have finally pulled the trigger: As of April 2015 WorkCycles bike prices are increasing approximately 10% instead of the usual yearly increases of a couple percent. We’ll honor quotes with the old prices from March 2015 so if you have one of those in your hands you’ve got about three weeks to to say “YES! and get a great deal”. On bikes sold to dealers our margin is so small that the new prices unfortunately have to apply to all new orders. I’ll be mailing those out shortly.

That was the BAD news. The GOOD news is that WorkCycles bikes are now about 30% cheaper for those of you outside Euroland! We pack and ship our bikes almost everywhere (except when it competes with our active dealers). Here are a few examples of the more exotic or unexpected destinations for WorkCycles bikes in the last year or so: Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Seychelle, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Singapore and Texas. Of course most WorkCycles end up in more predictable locales throughout Europe and North America.

With that out of the way here’s my four year old cutie doing what she loves best: riding her bike.

Amsterdamse Bos Bike Trip 2-2015.13

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.

Espresso en Bakfietsen

Friday, May 14th, 2010

espresso-bakfiets 2 on-your-trike

Coffee is good. Bakfietsen are good. So why not combine them into mobile coffee vending trikes? It’s a business with a very low barrier to entry, catchy and probably fun too. Great idea and though you write us weekly to build such a beast… you’re actually not the first one to think of it. You might have first seen it on TV.

The “Inventor” of the Bakfiets

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

bergreijer-rijwielen 3

A year or so ago Oscar Mulder of My Dutch Bike in San Francisco commented that he’d periodically heard from his family that his great grandfather had a bicycle shop in Amsterdam and was the “inventor of the bakfiets”. Perhaps this was never a particularly notable factoid until Oscar and his wife Soraya began a shop dedicated to supplying bakfietsen and other Dutch bikes last year.

Needless to say I’m always skeptical about anybody who’s supposedly the inventor of anything as straightforward as a bicycle with a box. But also being fascinated by the history of such things, and bikes in particular, I was also very curious to learn more. Was he known for developing a particular style of transport bike, or a special bakfiets for a particular purpose much as Maarten van Andel is much more recently the “spiritual godfather” of the 2-wheeled family bakfiets? Such stories often get twisted, misunderstood and mistranslated as they get passed through generations and languages so such an explanation seemed fairly plausible.

I forgot about the incident until Oscar sent me a note with a number of scans of photos he’d received from his mother (who still lives in Holland). None of the photos are dated but a little archive research as well as some technical features of the bikes seems to puts most of them in the 1910-1915 range. Making the task a little easier is the fact that the shop was in the Jordaan district just a few blocks from both my home and WorkCycles Lijnbaansgracht location where my office is. Much of the Jordaan looks much like it did 100 or actually even 250 years ago… aside from the cars (yes, even here there are some, though mostly just parked), some rather tasteless new buildings from the 1960’s and 70’s, and a few of the bigger canals that were filled in.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Friday, December 4th, 2009


Rob Bushill of Really Useful Bikes in Bristol, England was clearly a little jealous of all the attention pulled in by the tech-weenie discussion about crates on bikes inspired by Swiss colleagues DoubleDutch. Exactly why my readers get more excited by a five minute post about a wooden crate than several hours of observations and philosophy about Japan with dozens of photos is something that escapes me but hey, I’ll just go with the flow.

fr8-really-useful-bikes (1)

Rob sent the following note with these great pictures:

Roy Belchamber took these of his Fr8, he says his daughter loves to travel on the back and he enjoys the way he can now ride to the shops instead of driving…

I think it great how a Dutch/American product with Dutch accessories can look so quintesentially English….

hope you enjoy..


I certainly DO enjoy Rob – Thanks very much for passing them along. That’s a really interesting observation that a Dutch/American product with Dutch accessories can look so quintessentially English, even if the word “quintessentially” has far too many letters and syllables for most Americans to wrap their heads around. I think our previous President “W” was even pushing a bill to ban words like “quintessentially” from Amurrican dikshunerees and buks… or maybe they were just trying to ban/burn books. I can’t quite remember what was going on in those darkest of days.

In any case I think there’s a fairly simple explanation; The qualities that people associate with “quintessentially English” are basically elements of timeless style such as natural materials, conservative colors, and pure form high on function and low on flourish. They result in objects or products that (if manufactured well) stand the test of time, achieving a certain patina. These are certainly qualities that WorkCycles strives for.

This is, incidentally, in stark contrast with what we would call “typically English” such as drunken and stoned weekend tourists browsing the windows of Amsterdam’s red light district in a rowdy group.

WorkCycles Fr8’s invade London

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


All sorts of people ride WorkCycles bikes: Moms, dads, steelworkers, delivery girls, photographers, teachers, IT guys, cops, punk rockers and even royalty. A few weeks ago we received a call from a distinguished sounding gentleman with a +44 country code telephone number. Thank god for caller ID. The conversation went something like this:

Us: “Goedemiddag, WorkCycles. Je spreekt met (insert WorkCycles employee name).”

Caller: “Please excuse me but do you speak English?”

Us: “Ya. Dat can. How can I be of service?”

Caller: “Pardon me. Would you happen to have any Grey Poupon? Ha ha just a little English humour… No, actually I am interested in your WorkCycles F-R-8 bicycle. It looks like a most dignified bicycle yet refreshingly modern and versatile. Would you recommend it for an individual for whom it is important to look, well, dignified?”

Us: “What’s Grey Poupon?”

Caller: “It’s mustard but never mind that. I’m intereste…”

Us: “Mosterd? We have not mosterd here. We make only de bicycles.”

Caller: “Yes, sorry for the confusion. I’m interested in the F-R-8 bicycle.”

Us: “Oh, you mean de WorkCycles Freight bicycle? You speak it out not as F-R-8 but freight. It is a great bike and it can carry very much freight, such as 3 children and groceries or 150kg of tools. What must you carry and where will you ride de bicycle?”

Caller: “Well I’m not really at liberty to discuss the situation in detail but suffice it to say that it must be possible to carry a five year old child in a dignified manner and ummm… a crown.”

Us: “A crown? How do you mean?”

Caller: “Yes, a crown; like with velvet and silver and jewels and well, you know… a crown. I’m sorry but I’m just not at liberty to explain.”

Us: “Dat is OK. English clients have always strange requests. What is de diameter of de crown?”

Caller: “Almost 8 inches”

Us: “Dat is not a problem. We have a strong plastic crate in order to carry de crown. Dere is enough room to put the groceries next de crown. Do you need an elastic to prevent de crown from bouncing out?”

Caller: No I don’t think that will be necessary. The bicycle will only be ridden slowly.”

So to make a long story short the gentleman purchased the Fr8 and requested that it be personally delivered to Buckingham Palace, insisting that no further address info was necessary. The guards would be expecting the delivery but kindly do not disturb them during the changing of the guard. That would be most inconvenient.

Anyhow, being an American I don’t know much about these English things but I googled Buckingham Palace and found that at least part of the Royal Family lives there. By golly; that’s what the guy meant by the crown! But I couldn’t find any information about a five year old child in the English Royal Family. Do I smell a scandal brewing here?

Famke Jansen rides her Omafiets in NY

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
Actress Famke Jansen rides her WorkCycles Omafiets through the streets of New York

Actress Famke Jansen rides her WorkCycles Omafiets through the streets of New York

Actually it concerns me less that she’s a semi-famous celebrity type (former Bond-girl etc.) than that it’s just a cool photo of a good looking Dutch woman nonchalantly riding her good looking Dutch bike through Manhattan. Yes, the bike is a WorkCycles-Azor Omafiets, purchased from WorkCycles dealer Dutch Bike Seattle.

Whoever the photographer is, he used a seriously high resolution camera. Amongst the photo series are a couple that zoom in on details of Famke I didn’t specifically need to see. Look here if you DO want to see that but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the “adult” content.

Word on the street has it that an anonymous cyclist has put a €50,000 bounty out for anyone who can steal her bike seat and deliver it to his office in a zip lock bag. Famke, keep that bike and saddle well locked!

Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar (Happy New Year), Dutch-Swiss style

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

gelukkig niew jaar

I returned from our New Year’s holiday to find this great drawing in my mailbox. Its from Sjoerd at DoubleDutch in Frauenfeld, Switzerland who sell the interesting combination of dutchtub and Dutch bikes, including WorkCycles.

Anybody who’s spent a New Year’s in Amsterdam understands the significance of the fireworks in the box of the bakfiets: Amsterdam is an wild and crazy war zone of everybody and their grandmother sending off impressively big fireworks in the street, from apartment windows, over the canals, from your bicycle’s carrier, in your mailbox… you get the idea. I’ve done New Year’s in many cities and nothing even comes in the same territory as the random and unorganized violence of Amsterdam’s fireworks.

I’m only curious about the 90 degree placement of the cranks on Sjoerd’s bakfiets. Is this a new system for the mountainous terrain of Switzerland?

WorkCycles Jordaan vestiging is nu echt open

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Na enkele maanden van verbouwing is onze prachtige 2e vestiging in de gezellige Jordaan (Lijnbaansgracht 32-B) nu open. De originele WorkCycles winkel in de Veemarkt (Oostelijke Eilanden) blift ook open.

In beide winkels kun je fietsen (stadsfietsen, transportfietsen en bakfietsen) bekijken, uitproberen, aanschaffen of huren. Beide locaties zijn tevens volledig uitgerust om u te voorzien van service, en voor het doen van reparaties en aanpassingen aan uw fiets. Weet wel dat Workcycles fietsen bij ons voorrang hebben, echter ook transportfietsen van andere kwaliteitsmerken zijn we bereid te onderhouden. Voor service en verhuur is het verstandig van tevoren even te bellen voor een afspraak.

Bij de nieuwe Lijnbaansgracht vestiging hebben we ongeveer 5 keer zoveel ruimte als in de Veemarkt dus kunnen we een grotere assortiment bakfietsen en transportfietsen in de showroom houden. Meer verhuurbakfietsen zijn ook beschikbaar.

Op de WorkCycles contact pagina kun je een kaart vinden. Let op: De Lijnbaansgracht is een lange straat en we zitten bijna in de noordelijke hoek, vlakbij de Westerstraat en Lindengracht.

De verbouwing van dit oude pand nam heel veel werk, voornamelijk dooor ons uitgevoerd. Ben je nieuwsgierig over hoe beroerd het pand aanvankelijk eruitzag. Kij hier.

WorkCycles huge new Amsterdam utility bike shop: progress report

Monday, June 9th, 2008

This is my third update about the beautiful new WorkCycles cargobike/utility bike/child transport bicycle shop we’re building on the Lijnbaansgracht in the historic Amsterdam Jordaan district. That’s right in the city center so its no longer needed to trek that 3 km all the way out to our original location in Zeeburg. I wrote the previous two entries in Dutch so here’s one for the English speaking world.

We’re doing the construction ourselves and with the help of handy friends because its cheaper and more fun that way, and then in the end everybody can say “hey I built/wired/plumbed etc that place” and I’m still riding the WorkCycles workbike I got for doing it. The plan to open in July remains and you can be sure we’ll announce the opening as soon as a date is fixed.

Our plans are nothing short of grandiose: This shop will be 350 m2 filled with bakfietsen, city bikes, utility bikes, family transport bikes, cargobikes… you name it. It’ll also be home to our and our friends’ collections of classic (or just old) utility bikes. Its a funky 150 year old building with strange corners and details which gives us endless opportunities for character. It’ll probably take a few years to find a place for everything in the midst of doing “business as usual” in the meanwhile but that’ll just provide you with an excuse to keep visiting.

You can see photos of our progress a few weeks ago here:

…and more from a few weeks earlier here: