19 June 2008

Various Things on a Thursday

We have bike racks, sure, but we also have reserved parking for Invalidecykler - disabled or elderly cyclists with special bikes.

I met up with a team from Trek Bikes from the States yesterday. Three designers and product executive. From left: Joe [from the Dutch office], Erika [designer], Dan [The Man - the product executive] and Heidi [designer].

Heidi contacted me a while back and asked if we could hook up for a chat about Danish bike culture and bike-related design. They are on a research trip around Europe; Münster, Zürich, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

What a lovely group of people. We hung out for a couple of hours before they headed off to do some shopping on their last day. They had been riding all around Copenhagen visiting bike shops that sell their Trek Bikes and gear.

I usually meet up with visitors who wish to talk to me about bicyle culture and infrastructure in Copenhagen so it was cool to hang with some creatives with a different angle. It's always great when design can inspire design, across borders and oceans.

These appeared the other day at various intersections around Copenhagen. On the bike lanes to remind cyclists to "Watch out for blind spots". Right hook accidents are high profile stuff in the media, which kind of blows it out of proportion, but simple signs like this are always good.

The Traffic Safety Board had a campaign in the same vein on the City Hall Square yesterday, with the same theme.

One Way Street - Cyclists Excepted
I love these signs. 'Ensrettet' means 'One Way' and then underneath 'Cyclists Excepted'.

A quick note about the Dreams on Wheels Exhibition about Danish Bike Culture.
It's currently in Sydney, Australia. You can catch it - and my photos - until the 22 June, before it moves on. More ozzie info here. Here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald about it.

Quirky news about our Dutch friends. Teaching the Dutch how to steal bikes.


Freewheel said...

Does this mean we can expect a new model out of Trek that is stylish, functional and efficient?

Zakkaliciousness said...

no idea. :-) they spoke of a model called the Euroshopper. maybe they have a model already.

Andy B from Jersey said...

Trek has been one of the most clueless American bike companies when it comes to creating a bike that serves as functional transportation. There is really no excuse for them either since they have so many resources at their disposal. To top it off, they've done a good job perpetuating the myth here in the US that spandex and a whole host of other bicycle specific accessories are absolutely mandatory for anyone wishing to ride a bike (see their website www.1world2wheels.org ).

At least it sounds like they are starting to coming around. Still, I won't be holding my breath for them to produce a nice stylish (and properly upright) Dutch/Danish town bike with a Trek nameplate any time soon.

Mike said...

Here in Chicago I see more and more people riding older, 3- and 5-speed upright bikes (primarily Schwinns), and the single-speed racer bike craze appears to have started to fade a bit(thank god). I expect there to be a lot more in the way of stylish-yet-practical bikes in the next two years or so. Electra bikes are on to something with their 'Amsterdam' line, and Schwinn is coming out with some interesting looking bikes like the Coffee. Expect the other big brands (Trek) to try and capture some of the demand for 'European-style' bikes in the near future. It will all be crap, of course, but at least people won't have to ride around all hunched over on those silly drop bars.

manon said...

I'm wondering what is a Invalidencycler, 'cause in Montréal there are using "motorised wheelchair"???
I'm sure you've alredy posted something about that but if you can answer, I would appreciated.

naesemand said...

@manon: I guess "invalidecykler" refers especially to upright trikes ridden by elderly people and people with disabilities. These trikes have become quite popular in several places in Europe.

manon said...

Thank you naesemand for answering my question, In North america I've only seen parking for disabled people in cars. That's why I was wondering ...

Zakkaliciousness said...

manon: i have a number of photos at flickr of the different kinds of invalidecykler and other, more modern, vechicles:
A chap with downs syndrome on his trike
a one armed cyclist on his trike
an electic elderly-mobile
an electric vehicle

manon said...

Thank you zakkaliciousness,
these photos are really inspiring. I'm not an invalidencycler but I'm a type 1 diabetic, for over ten years now, and I've found these people pretty encouraging and it makes me think that I can ride my bike for a lot much time than I though!!! By the way, my boyfriend saw the "cool car" on a street in Montréal yesterday, even the police was suprised ...
The law doesn't "accept" electric vehicles until this september in the province of Québec.

David Hembrow said...

I don't know if they also sell them in Denmark, but here in the Netherlands, all the big bike brands such as Trek and Giant already do have "proper" bikes in their ranges which are indeed stylish, functional and efficient.

Here's one of the bikes that Trek sell in the Netherlands:

Giant actually have a huge factory in this country where they make bikes for the local market. It may seem odd that the world's biggest bicycle manufacturer, who make most of their bikes at their base in Taiwan, would choose to employ people here to make bikes. However, you have to remember how big cycling is here !

This is how big: The Dutch make about as many cycle journeys as all the English speaking countries put together. The consume bikes, and parts of bikes at the rate you'd expect due to such a lot of cycling. The Danish market is smaller due to the much smaller population and the lower cycling rate, but it's still probably bigger than the UK. The market in Germany is about twice the size of that in the Netherlands because while their cycling rate is only about half, the population is over four times as large.

The market in these three countries is vast and it makes good financial sense for companies to make products specifically for local tastes.

Zakkaliciousness said...

absolutely, David.
The Dutch each ride 1019 km a year per capita, the Danes are right behind with 958 km a year. Third place is Belgium at 327 km.
All the stats are here.

it's an exciting market for bike brands, although local brands dominate in the three countries you mention.

and normal bikes abound. according to the European Cyclists union 100 million Europeans ride daily, most of them on normal bikes.

with the massive export of normal bikes to North America and the UK, we'll certainly be seeing more of them on the roads.