published at 22.05.2014, 11:20
Urban Mobility

An electrifying start to the BMW Motorrad #SocialTestride

The buzzing, vibrant tourist destination of Amsterdam greeted the first stage of the BMW Motorrad #SocialTestride journey, as five C evolution riders brought electric power to the Dutch capital on a whistlestop tour of the city's cultural hotspots.

Ably led by charismatic tour leader Martijn van Ooststroom, the day started at the prestigious 2,100 square metres Harry Meijer BMW Motorrad dealership, nestling on reclaimed land in Lijnden, and just a stone's throw from Schiphol airport.

As international flights whisked passengers off to exotic destinations around the world, closer to home the anticipation was growing for the first of five exciting #SocialTestride events in five top cities across Europe.

Perfect weather conditions greeted the four lucky Dutch riders who had been selected out of the many that applied to take part in this first C evolution try-out experience. Among them was teacher Ann-Tine Thijssen, fitness instructor Simon Stomps, metal fabricator Tom Oude Elferink, and entrepreneur Ewald Vastenburg. They had no problem spotting their guide for the day: Martijn van Ooststroom. At a shade under two metres tall and sporting a long beard, the marketing and communications manager for the Stedelijk Museum looked as distinctive as the e- scooter he was riding.

Breakfast was taken outside in the early morning sunshine, and following a quick briefing, everyone was eager to get started. Smartphones were handed out to allow participants to document their ride, and upload pictures and news to all the fans and friends following online on Instagram, Facebook and the BMW Motorrad website. Then it was time for the workshop doors to slide open to reveal a fleet of gleaming C evolution e-scooters, fully charged and ready for action.

Accompanied by a film crew in a BMW i3 electric car, a short familiarisation session was all that was required for the participants to get to grips with this high-tech but incredibly easy-to-ride powered two-wheeler before they headed off into the bright Amsterdam sunshine on a cultural tour of some of the city's popular and also lesser-known attractions.

With 2.2 million inhabitants comprising 180 nationalities packed into the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, the locals known how to keep moving efficiently around this compact city. In fact, nearly 60 per cent of its urban dwellers cycle daily in the picturesque central area, because the centuries-old streets built around its extensive canal network are just not suitable for cars, vans or trucks. However, they are perfect for motorcycles and scooters...

From the Riekermolen (a traditional Dutch windmill) on the outskirts of the city to the futuristic new Dutch film museum aptly known as 'The Eye' in Amsterdam- Noord, the urban tour encompassed many aspects of typical Dutch life, including a visit to a small coffee producer, a stop at a boutique design store called the 'Frozen Fountain', a ride through the up-and-coming NSDM creative community and – of course – a glimpse into Martijn's museum district and the wealth of historic and contemporary cultural highlights Amsterdam has to offer.

With 'live tracking', plenty of photo opportunities and an abundance of questions coming from interested locals and tourists alike, the C evolution #SocialTestride seemed to cover the length and breadth of the city. Every time they stopped at a traffic light or junction, the riders would be quizzed by other scooter riders or passers-by, interested to find out more about this futuristic e-scooter that attracts so much attention, even though it hardly makes a noise. Eventually, the tour concluded at the Hotel de Goudfazand in the old industrial area, where furniture and automobile design meet haute cuisine in this special restaurant created inside a refurbished warehouse – and the conversations continued late into the evening.

The reactions of Ann-Tine, Simon, Tom and Ewald to the #SocialTestride can be seen in a short video on Youtube.

There are just days to go now before stage two of the BMW Motorrad #SocialTestride begins in Paris, France, where five more eager participants are looking forward to experiencing a unique look at their own city on board a special e- scooter when they plug-in to the power of electromobility this coming weekend.

See all the action from Amsterdam and enjoy the build up to Paris by following the #SocialTestride at bmw-motorrad.com/socialtestride.