our story

Warren is known in Amsterdam as ‘Flowerbikeman‘. Or, if that name doesn’t ring a bell, you probably know him from the colorful flower bikes that are placed all over the city, outside shops, and on bridges. Over 100 bikes are coloring the city of Amsterdam at the moment.

Our Story

Warren first came to Amsterdam in 2004 with his wife, Michelle. Compared to their hometown, Tarpon Springs in Florida, the city felt light. “We felt we could breathe better here,” says Warren. After a week in Amsterdam, Michelle fell in love with the beautiful city and asked Warren if they could live here.

Five months later, they returned. Michelle had found a job at a large company, Warren a boat to live on. Everything seemed to be falling into place. But then, tragedy struck. Just before she could start her new job, Michelle suffered a severe epileptic seizure. A long recovery followed, and afterwards, she could do much less than before. After two difficult initial years in Amsterdam, they decided to temporarily move back to Tarpon Springs to earn and save for a bigger boat.

In America, Michelle could work again, but because of her epilepsy, she struggled with small things, like finding her way around the city. “Michelle found a job in another neighborhood but got lost at a busy intersection and ended up on the beach on the other side of town.” This is how the idea for Warren’s first flower bike was born. To help Michelle find the right way, Warren decorated a blue bike with large sunflowers and placed it to the left of the intersection. From that point on, Michelle never took the wrong turn again.

After this first bike, Warren made more. Initially to help Michelle, and later because it sparked enjoyable conversations with people on the street. More and more residents of Tarpon Springs recognized Warren as the Flowerbikeman, the man with the flower bikes. The bikes gave him visibility in the city. This brought him much attention but also troubles.

Love Is The Cure

“The real problems started when I rode past a police car with flashing lights in a back alley one evening. I saw a cop beating up a woman. Since I rode by on my orange flower bike, the cops immediately knew it was me. “After that, they never left me alone,” says Warren. Warren filed a lawsuit against the police (Warren Gregory vs. Tarpon Springs), but a verdict has not yet been reached.

Several tough years followed, and what kept Warren going were Michelle and his bikes. To show he wasn’t going to be easily dismissed, Warren placed more and more flower bikes, until there were over two hundred in the small town of 25,000 residents. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough. The police continued to make Warren’s life miserable, and it was no longer safe for him and Michelle to stay in Florida.

The dream to return to Amsterdam remained alive. It was the only place Michelle had strong memories of, and her parents eagerly wanted them to move back there. It seemed impossible, until tragedy struck again. Warren was hit by a car while on his bike. He suffered from chronic back pain, but with the settlement money, they were able to move to Amsterdam in 2018. They brought thirteen bikes from Florida, found a new boat to live on, and picked up where they left off.

If anything characterizes Warren, this is it. He has the strength to turn setbacks into opportunities and negativity into love. “Love is the cure,” says Warren. Michelle is doing better in Amsterdam, and as we write this, her parents are visiting them on their boat. After the interview, we walk with Warren to one of the bridges on the Leidsegracht to take a picture with one of his flower bikes. Large clouds fill the sky, and we wait for a moment when the sun breaks through. Warren, with his eternal optimism, gives us a hand, “If I focus my eyes on the sky, I can make the clouds burst.”

'A lovely painting of the first of many flowerbikes'