Having recently returned from one of my all-time favorite cities in the world, as well as Esther’s stomping ground — Amsterdam, I now have a serious case of bicycle-itis. The whole bicycle culture over there is just completely enchanting to me. Visions of every age using the power of the pedal as the main form of transportation, unlike Los Angeles, where the smallest of errands usually entails a full car load up. Not only that, but the bikes in Amsterdam are works of art as far as I’m concerned. My husband and I would duck into any bike shop we’d come across and excitedly “choose” which style ride we needed to have in our possession back in the States. My kids couldn’t get enough of piling into a cargo bike and away we’d go! And not only does bike riding appeal to my “green” side, it appeals to my “fun” side and totally takes me back to my childhood and the feeling of freedom that goes along with riding a bike. The geography of L.A. makes it highly unlikely (i.e. only in my dreams) to become a bicycle driven city, but that does not mean we can’t have our own little slice of the Dutch life. Thanks to the super friendly brother duo, Adam and Josef Bray-Ali, owners of Flying Pigeon LA, we Angelenos now have direct access to the SUVs of bicycle family fun.
They have opened up a neighborhood bike shop in Highland Park that imports and stocks the most popular Dutch brand bicycles. Check out their website and blog, but definitely go to the shop in person to take some test drives. Take my personal current fave, the Bakfiets (pictured), with its sleek, sturdy and timeless design, you can haul around your kids, beach towels, toys, groceries – even a little canine accessory so often seen in L.A.
If you need a little more incentive to get back on a bike, they frequently host great events and cool “shop rides” like Spoke(n) Art, where folks join up at the shop, hop on their bikes and hit the East Los Angeles art galleries that are open late once a month. Fun!!