25 November 2007

18 Ways To Know That You Have Bicycle Culture

Here it is. A quick and easy - and very tongue-in-cheek - guide to determining if you live in a city with bike culture. All from the good people here at Copenhagenize.com.

1. ”Fixed gear” is something than happens after you take your old Raleigh down to one of the 20-30 bike shops in your neighbourhood to have them look at ”broken gear”.

2. If a car honks at you in traffic, you hardly notice. Instead it makes you think that it's been a while since you took your kids to the park to feed the ducks... Hmmm... maybe this Sunday?

3. You think nothing of riding home in 35 degree heat, with your four year-old on the bike seat, two bags of groceries dangling on your handlebars, talking to your partner on the phone about dinner - all the while heading up a steep hill and STILL being able to growl ”Stay on the right!” in three languages at the weaving, gasping tourists on their rental bikes whom you just flew past as though they were carved in stone.

4. When you feel yourself start sweating on the bike lanes on your way to work... you just ride slower. And if the forecast is for hot weather, you leave for work a bit earlier so you don't have to ride so fast and get too sweaty.

5. The only place you ever see Lycra or spandex is in old Jane Fonda workout videos or on joggers in the parks.

6. And you're quite sure that Gortex is that guy who plays midfield for Bayern München.

7. When your bike breaks down and is in for repairs you take your other bike, or you take the train or bus. Even though your car is parked out front.

8. Of the few people who wear those helmet things in the world's safest cycling nation, only a handful are actually wearing them correctly and many just carry their helmet in their basket.

9. The odd-person out in your circle of friends is the one who has never fallen off their bike while riding home drunk. You mock him/her regularly.

10. You have, at one time or another, checked to see if your clothes match your bike.

11. You and your friends have repeated discussions about which bike repair shop in your neighbourhood is the best for price and service.

12. When you see somebody with rolled up trouser legs you think, ”what a shame that fellow can't afford a chain guard”. You consider rolling up next to him at the next light to give him some money.

13. You don't even know that you live in a ”bike culture” and have never used the expression. You just ride.

14. You use your time waiting at a red light in bicycle rush hour with over 100 other cyclists to check out new fashions. ”Wonder where she got those shoes? Cool sunglasses on that guy... must be Prada.

15. Your entire wardrobe can be classified as ”cycle wear”. Espeically those stilettos from Christian Louboutin or your new double-breasted trenchcoast from Tiger of Sweden.


16. When the odd motorist cuts you off you fix him with an icy stare and shake your head in pity before riding off and forgetting the whole episode 50 metres farther down the bike lane.

17. You find rust on bicycles to be charming and aesthetic. Shiny new bikes are somehow gaudy.

18. It takes you over fifteen minutes to find your parked bike at the train station.

50 comments:

miketually said...

Sadly, here in Darlington, we still have a long way to go to achieve this. We're working on it.

I have to admit to wearing a helmet and rolling my trouser leg up.

Zakkaliciousness said...

it's all tongue in cheek, miketually!
but you're on the right track in Darlington, by all accounts.

ch said...

Great Post - JUST what I needed today to refer to from

http://cyclingedinburgh.info/2007/11/26/no-football-2008-opportunity-for-cycling/

Cheers

Chris

P.s. I hear good things about Darlington too.

Still waiting for Bike Demo Towns in Scotland....

Zakkaliciousness said...

Thanks Chris, for the link and the comment.
Tell me what you think about our Critical Miss or Critical Mass post here...
interested to hear your opinion.

Somersetbiker said...

This from the CTC, the UK's cycle campaigning organisation's weekly e-newsletter, received today makes encouraging reading:

Demonstrating results

Cycling England’s six ‘Cycle Demonstration Towns’ reported back to other local authorities on their experiences, at a conference this week. The towns are all using the money in different ways but were all able to report early signs of increased cycle use. Minister for Transport, Rosie Winterton admitted that establishing a Dutch or Danish-style cycling culture will require long term commitment and funding. Encouragingly, she said, “We are going to work with Cycling England and give that long term commitment”. An announcement is expected shortly on further funding for Cycling England."


We can but live in hope...

Zakkaliciousness said...

That sounds encouraging indeed, somersetbiker. Let's cross our fingers for that.

Anne said...

sorry to post this as a comment, but i couldn't find a way to email you (very clever!), and it's not so inappropriate anyway.
i invite your readers to check out a video interview on the Streetfilms site (based in New York City) with NY Times Magazine writer Randy Cohen, whose column "The Ethicist" regularly dispenses advice to readers on the ethics of their various life decisions. in this interview he makes very clear his position against the private automobile and in favor of walking and biking. let's hope it gets some people (especially my fellow car-gound Americans) to give at least a little thought to the topic.

http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/transportation-ethics/

Anne said...

(i meant car-Bound)

chandru said...

I love reading your blog; I will referenced your "18 ways.." in my owm, seeinggreen.typepad.com, tomorrow.

As one who lives in NYC, which may be one of the better American cities for biking but hardly in the same class as European cities, I am envious.

I have written from time to time on how biking will become acceptable in NYC only when it is seen as "normative" and not the "others". Wearing spandex and helmets, biking too fast, yelling at pedestians , having $2000 fixed speed bikes, all makes bikers stand out as some weirdos (for the record, I have a 10yr old 7speed "commuter" with bell, lights and two racks.)

Or, as I once put it, if your knew many of your neighbors and family were bikers, you would be less inclined to be aggressive in your car towards bikes.

The antipathy towards bikers here is astounding; when bike lanes are to be added, people turn out in force to object...one actually said he didn't want "hordes of cyclists" on his street. He should be so lucky.

Anne said...

i'm glad to see my neighbor Chandru here, his blog posts inspired me to stop wearing "cycling clothes"!

http://seeinggreen.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/05/at.html

Zakkaliciousness said...

Thanks for that link, Anne. Our email is on the right column near the top. :-)

and good to hear from you, chandru. a great comment and a great post on your blog (thanks, anne).

great minds think alike.

Anne said...

sorry but i still don't see an email link anywhere...

Zakkaliciousness said...

Oh, man, i'm sorry about that. I was thinking about the Copenhagen cycle chic blog... where the email IS included. I've rectified it now on this blog.
sorry!

Anne said...

good, i was starting to feel really stooooopid!! i'm emailing you now...

nollij said...

I found this entry linked to on Todd @ Clever Cycles blog. I liked it so much, I made a link to it myself, and added you to my blogroll: your site kicks ass! Until the drivers in my area get a clue, or we get the "Copenhagen Treatment", I'll keep wearing my finest bike geekery. I envy y'all your "bike culture", though I do love the weather here!

Zakkaliciousness said...

hey nollij!
thanks for that!

schroepfer said...

Mr. Zakkaliciousness,

I like your list because it disqualifies everyone who spends the time to read it, which makes it fair for everyone. You, too, lack "bike culture," since you yourself wrote #13.

Zakkaliciousness said...

Thanks for commenting schroepfer.
Glad you appreciate the humour.

Freddy said...

in singapore .. we're not allowed to ride on highways..so alot of places are inaccessible by cycling..and you have to becareful where you park cause of bike theft..

Travis said...

The point that I take away from this list is interesting in that, if you are aware of your bikiness, then the culture is not fully there. I understand that it has some comical structuring.

Peter1900 said...

Ok, it was our culture but what is the present conditions. If all people will following this culture then we have fuel sufficiency. I know its a foolish idea but think about it. Also your work will be remembered.

================
peter
Wide Circles

Dennis Alan Gray said...

I've only just discovered your blog and I really love this post. Unfortunately bike culture here in Canada tends to be somewhat elitist. When spotted riding my trek hybrid in slacks and a golf shirt I'm usually referred to by the spandex crowd as, "the idiot with a bike who can't dress himself properly." Oh well.

Thanks. Look forward to reading more.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks for those kinds closing words, peter.

dennis: you're not alone. 100 million daily cyclists will laugh with you if you choose to mock the lycra boys... :-)

Gina said...

Hello from Boulder, Colorado. We're about the closest thing the US has to 'bike culture', well, us and Berkley California. Still a long way to go...

Zakkaliciousness said...

Hi Gina! Welcome to you and to the Boulder crowd!

matthew said...

Our cycling culture in Cambridge, UK, is called modal warfare. We know this because of all the CYCLISTS DISMOUNT signs at almost every junction, and NO CYCLISTS or DO NOT LEAVE BICYCLES HERE OR THEY WILL BE REMOVED signs everywhere.

I think this is because the UK culture is set by petrolheads, the Daily Mail, and Jeremy Clarkson. Indeed I believe Mr Clarkson has said he'd rather jump off a bridge than live in 'boring Copenhagen'.

I wish he would. Copenhagen looks like heaven compared to carmageddon Cambridge.

Matt of 2020 Vision

BikingDeckhand said...

I wanna move there...

I'm tired of my helmet, not being seen by drivers, and my blood alley commute.

But not having to look for a parking place or buy gas?

Priceless.

Coming at ya from Berkeley, CA, no bicycle paradise, no matter what the rep says.

Kevin Love said...

The 19th way to know you have bike culture...

Your city has a notorious bicycle theft organized crime kingpin. When he was finally arrested by the police they recovered over 3,000 stolen bicycles from him.

Any resemblance to Toronto's Igor Kenk is not coincidental.

Alastair said...

very cool stuff.

i have to confess to tucking my trousers into my socks...

Wes Cobb said...

I like the fact that the first one takes a swipe at fixie riders. :)

In Tennessee, I've almost gotten into fistfights with motorists who honk or yell at me and then get stopped at a red light.

A.R.Z. said...

Congratulations on your blog, I thionk it's awesom ! I live in the Southamerican city of Buenos Aires where bikes are not given the priority they should, and where if you don't drive a car; you're no one. That makes me quite sad, but I've said to me I'd make something about it and I've been driving my bike half an hour every morning to my university. And I must say it's one of the best decisions I've made this year. I've putted a dynamo-driven-light (since I go out at 6 in the morning, and it's very dark) and now I wan't to put a basket to carry my back-pack. Don't miss understand me, I have no fear to drive a car, and I will get my driver's licence soon. But I intend to use the car the least I need (that means not using it at all). The current city governor has the intention to promote bikes, but I see that difficult to happen. I hope one day they'll realize...
Keep on this great blog!
Best wishes

Dystop said...

13. You don't even know that you live in a ”bike culture” and have never used the expression. You just ride.
It's spot on, living in Copenhagen we apparently need people from non-bike cultures to tell us what we've got. :-D

Anonymous said...

Easy on the lycra/spandex comments... most of the newer stuff is poly... so please use the technical term - technical apparel...

Seriously though I ride 15 km each way in Calgary with a 210 metre elevation difference between home and work.

I'd just like a wider curb lane thanks.

Wes Cob has a point... I can't stand red neck drivers either.

smgsbr said...

I live in a bike unfriendly and unsafe area and find the blind hatred of cyclists amazing. Bike lanes are rare but slowly becoming more common however they are always littered with sand, gravel, glass, nails, and other debris. The city cleans streets by sweeping the trash into the bike lanes which double as drainage ditches. After being hit by a car and the responding cop stating it was the drivers fault, he did not give her a ticket and tried to get a date with her daughter. This is unfortunately typical of the area.

Philippine Real Estate said...

I collect bikes, it has been a hobby of mine since I was a teenager. I even had a bike just like this one which was given to me when I was in the 8th grade of school.

Online Store said...

I don't know about the others but I like riding bicycles been that way for a long time now.

durtyMD said...

this is rediculous, but bikesnobnyc rules.

bs08 said...

Very nice especially

9. The odd-person out in your circle of friends is the one who has never fallen off their bike while riding home drunk. You mock him/her regularly.

Though here in Switzerland that will get you fined by the police and potentially banned from using your bike for 3 months.

I found this and the fact cyclists have to have third party insurance (a sticker on the bike that costs roughly 3.5 Euro per year) quite strange to begin with. However, this equality with other road users really does normalize cycling as a legitimate form of transport.

This compulsory third party insurance may be something to consider campaigning for as it is a quick/easy way to negate all the sniping from car drivers about using 'their' roads. It should be cheap as accidents involving damage to other people and property involving bikes are infrequent and the potentially the insurance could include a small levy to fund cycling infrastructure. The impact on people new to cycling is minimal as the sticker is included with all new bikes.

Finally while I enjoy your blog and think it raises some interesting points I do find your antipathy for lycra wearers a bit grating - you wouldn't wear jeans and a t-shirt while swimming lengths or playing tennis so why sneer at people enjoying their sport?

KC of Bathroom Countertops said...

Since I was a teeneager, I have been a collector of bikes. I even have 1 specific bike that look like this.. In our hometown, bikers in some places are prohibited, no bike lanes are provided making cycling limited to certain areas

El Gibe said...

Dear Copenhagenize,
thanks for your blog. Best I 've seen so far. I am based in Geneva, and we're just half way to the perfect cycling city ... lots of fixies (amongst which mine), very few cargo bikes, and too many electric bikes (it still puzzles me why we call them bicycles and not motorbikes). Now they're passing a law to make it compulsory for electric bike riders and bicyclist under 14 to wear a helmet ... Grrrr

Mark Bracey said...

Reading this reminds what it's all about. Cycling is a normal everyday thing. Thanks:)

Cphfastlanebiker said...

What can I say except for that I love Copenhagen and Biking. All luck to everybody else promoting youre biking cultures in your cities. This could create such better living environments everywhere

banyo dekorasyon said...

I even have 1 specific bike that look like this

banyo dekorasyon said...

I have to admit to wearing a helmet and rolling my trouser leg up.

Byron Kidd said...

Number 9, and more times than I care to admit!

BlueBicycleGirl said...

Good article ! No bicycle culture here tho. And no bike lanes at all. Never seen another woman riding a bike here in Crook, co. Durham. And the few men that cycle are Lycra-clad road warriors.

dekorasyon said...

Very useful information. I was very pleased. Thanks

tadilat said...

very very nice site super...

tadilat said...

Easy on the lycra/spandex comments... most of the newer stuff is poly... so please use the technical term - technical apparel...

Seriously though I ride 15 km each way in Calgary with a 210 metre elevation difference between home and work.

I'd just like a wider curb lane thanks.

Wes Cob has a point... I can't stand red neck drivers either.

Anonymous said...

So envious from the "Number one cycling city" in the US, Minneapolis, MN (I think it's back to Portland Again, but Mpls was considered so for one year). I think maybe 2 of these are true of my experience