Let me introduce you to J.J. Cruising the streets of the Jordaan district on a daily basis, he’s a well-known character in the area. And he has quite an interesting life story, I found out. He was born in Philadelphia, fought in Vietnam, and fell in love in Amsterdam. But it was the sixties and love wasn’t everlasting nor bound to one place, so he wandered off to see some more of the world. It took a few years and some adventures abroad, but eventually he returned to Amsterdam to settle there for good. And now, as a retired man, he spends his days in the streets socializing with people in the Jordaan district. If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll see him drive by in his mobility scooter, always good-tempered and cheerfully greeting everyone on his way.
This is Leen with his wooden bike. He’s built the bike himself after a sketch by a Danish designer he found online. As the sketch was meant to be only esthetic, there was no scale nor measurements in the drawing. It didn’t discourage Leen, though, and he just roughly estimated the proportions and started his project, he proudly tells me. The result looks really fancy, but exactly how well does it actually ride, was my question. That I had to find out myself, Leen responded, so I hopped on for a short ride. Solid, light, agile, I concluded: Leen should start his own brand.
Most probably the liveliest sales man at the IJ-Hallen flee market, I heard him from far away while he was singing loudly to recommend his goods. In a reply to my question if he would take a pose in front of the camera, he sang: ‘Komt helemaal goed, schat’ (that’s gonna be just fine, hon), and spread his arms like a competent folk singer.
This article was featured in online lifestyle magazine NSMBL