27 August 2008

Holger's Cycle Roofs

Cykel Logisk Institut
This chap is quite a character in Copenhagen. He's a passionate cyclist and Copenhagener and through his Cykel logisk Institut [Cycle-logical Institute] he has been campaigning for years for better cycling conditions for cyclists. Holger Rene Jørgensen is the name.

His primary focus is on the development of traffic roofs - covering the main thoroughfares with glass roofs to create 'year-round' cycle and pedestrian streets. A simple idea, really. And so often the simple, obvious ideas never get off the ground. Such a shame.

This is a typical street in Copenhagen. It's not hard to imagine a glass roof covering this stretch - just as an example of what Holger is aiming for. He has proposed covering the main stretches of city streets that have a heavy bike traffic and creating a covered network between prime locations such as the city centre and the university, as well as the neighbourhoods surrounding the centre. Not only would the roofs create fine cycling conditions in the winter, they would serve to create more liveable spaces for pedestrians and the locals.

I asked him for a photo and we ended up chatting in the middle of the rainy street. He mentioned his traffic roofs, of course, and he mentioned something we've blogged about previously - namely a proposed cycle tunnel in Bodø, Northern Norway.

Qatar Cycle Tunnel
He also told me about the Emir of Qatar's plans for a 30 km long cycle tunnel aimed at encouraging Qatarians to ride and reduce obesity. We found this article about it. Tinted glass against the sun and cooled by water running through pipes below.

Cycle tunnel in Holland
Cycle tunnels are nothing new. This photo from Holger's website shows an old Dutch plan for covered bike lanes.

Methinks there is a whole unexplored world of cycling goodness in this simple, wonderful idea.


Anonymous said...

two words: bird poop.

Zakkaliciousness said...

haha... although glass technology has advanced so much over the past 15 years that there are glass panes that clean themselves, so bird poop ain't no problem no more.

Ned C said...

And the glass panels could be combined with solar photovoltaics and hooked into the power grid.

Anonymous said...

I hope they use modern bird-safe glass when they build such tunnels. Riding bikes is good. Birds getting killed by windows isn't.

Christie said...

Then you don't get to go outside. It would be like going powerwalking in the mall. What's the point. I like the elements. :-)

Although the solar panels would be a pretty sweet idea. Maybe they could make the roads ferry the energy they are absorbing to some sort of generator. Then it could be stored and used to power the city.

Son of Shaft said...


Do you mean something like http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/dutch_company_asphalt_heat.php

Yokota Fritz said...

It seems like a good idea, though I don't think I'd call it "simple" -- implementation would be probably in the tens of millions of dollars per mile (or millions of Krones per kilometer, if you prefer).

THis reminds me of a proposal I saw somewhere, I think in Boulder, Colorado -- wind assisted bike commute tunnels. Cyclists would enter bike tunnels that have large fans to push cyclists forward and give them a modest boost. I can't find this info now but it seems like this might have been in the 2003 or 2004 time frame.

Zakkaliciousness said...

money well spent if it gets more people to cycle what with all the health care costs we'd save.

wind tunnel idea... yes, we had a similar proposal when the Great Belt bridge was being built. it's massive - one of the largest in the world - and the idea was to slap cycle tunnels on the sides with vents that rotated automatically to catch the wind and send it into the tunnel so that there was always a tailwind.

alas. didn't happen.

Yokota Fritz said...

You've seen the Dutch study showing that healthier adults actually costs the public more? Obese people die early, while healthy cyclists linger and cost more to care for in their old age. Ironic, huh?

That Great Belt Bridge wind capture idea -- that would have been excellent indeed!

dunc said...

This is interesting, now graduated but in my third year at uni i came up with something called the cycle sub, a under and over ground subway for cyclists to commute around a city. Have a look at

http://www.duncanledingham.co.uk/ and click on design. Il try get some bigger pictures up. I also came up with the idea of having a natural backwind using a system similar to the chimney effect/state effect. Increase people to cycle taking the worries of effort and traffic away from them.

Anonymous said...

I think using Solar Panels on top is a good Idea, it will help Justify it to the Politicos. Our Government do not like spending Money on anything if they can Help it and like getting stuff for nothing and then getting the Credit for it as if they did all the Work. When all this free Electricity goes into the national Grid they get Excited. Dublin Ireland.

Bethany said...

This makes me glad I don't live in a city.

One of the things I love about getting on my bike is that I am outside, with only the sky above me.

I don't think we have to molly-coddle people to get them on bicycles. The point is to make our lives better, not easier.

Most cities I've been to have more pressing problems they should be spending money on, than glass roofs to keep the cyclists dry.

Gorka said...

Glass roofs? And what about the pleasure of feeling the wind on our faces and being in touch with everyday street life? Isn't that why we love cycling to begin with?

m e l i g r o s a said...

its great to see the old sketches. here in california we dont really have snow or winter, but seeing that over in lovely cph<3 just takes it to another level. so cool!

Anonymous said...

I'm with the people who prefer the elements. Glass roofed streets are a mall. Or a terrarium. The wind-assist tunnel, idea, though, is great, especially for people in cities with large hills. Seattle, San Francisco, and even Portland (OR) in the US come to mind.

Nick said...

I wouldn't want a glass roof over my head on the street, even if it were hailing.

Also, I think it would trap foul odors.

Anonymous said...

Dear Freinds,
We are not talking about tunnels or mall's, but CycleMetro, a 100 kms complete network, will cost the same as 1 kms metro, for every dollar invested, min. 10 dollar comes back, there will be sunshine, and fresh air, it will be more like garden, no noise, and many older and wheelchair-users
are free to move at any time.

Anonymous said...

At the moment CPH invests 1½ billion D.kr in car-P for 4.000 cars, for the same price it is possible to make a complete 100 Kms CycleMetro,
15 Kms more Metro is planned, price 15 billion D.Kr
in 1997 Vlits-project Holland.
12 Kms route sligthly waccumed,
price 4 million D.Kr per Kms. Norway 2008. 12 million per Kms

Anonymous said...

With or without cycle I'd visited most big cities on earth, 80countries,75 capitols, they all need CycleMetro, in temperated areas they are going to have transperant, and in tropical areas they need shaded roofs, clima-fitted cycle-streets,
I'm Holger, held an exhibition at the townhall in 2004. 'The Modern Traffic-structure'

Mikael said...

hi holger.
thanks for your comments!