06 April 2009

Parliamentary, My Dear Watson

Parliamentary, My Dear Watson
We've been discussing how the Danish press at large has completely and utterly let down the Danish national tradition of cycling by engaging in a bloodthirsty orgy of violence and danger over the past year.

That doesn't mean that cycling doesn't get mentioned in other contexts. For example, the editor of the debate section of one of our national newspapers, Politiken, used over 600 words in a rant about the new bicycle racks outside of the national parliament.

Which is cool. It shows that cycling hasn't disappeared from the public consciousness. The chap described how he was riding past the entrance of the Parliament - Christiansborg - and he was forced to stop up at the sight of the new bike racks.

He doesn't like them and he compared them to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. He was really quite irate in an amusing way.

He thinks that these concrete blocks are ridiculous and don't fit in with the architecture of the Parliament. He would prefer to see the old copper bike racks back in place. Over 600 words about bicycle racks. Oh so Copenhagen.

I hadn't passed by the Parliament for a while so I popped in to see what he was on about. I met a woman parking her bike there and I engaged in her a chat about the bike racks. She seemed to like them. The most important thing for her was that there had been parking congestion outside the Parliament and it seemed to be fixed now, with these new racks.

Many MPs ride their bicycles to work. I often overtake the leader of one of the political parties on her Christiania cargo bike in the mornings, on her way to drop her kids off at kindergarten or school.

I don't seem to think that the new bike racks are an eyesore. Mixing old architecture with new is always tricky, but many examples in Copenhagen seem to work. These bike racks are solid and trustworthy and functional, much like our democracy.

Nevermind that half the bikes were just supported on their kickstands and not even occupying a slot in the stone.