28 October 2009

Bike Racks With No Racks in Copenhagen

Parking Zone in Action
The City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office is currently testing a new bicycle parking idea at four locations in the city.
Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
Bike rack-less bike parking.

In the hopes of getting people to, at the very least, stick their bicycles in one place, these bike parking zones have been painted on the ground.

Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
In Danish the text reads "Place your bicycle here". It's an unorthodox way to do things, but the City is keen to run some tests to see if it works. Students are monitoring the parking zones and, if they are successful in their function, they'll be implemented in other locations around the city.

Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
The all-important bicycle logo for the Bicycle Office - I bike Copenhagen (CPH) - is ever-present. Visual branding is paramount.

Here is a later article about a Flex-parking solution on another Copenhagen street.

The City of Amsterdam has tried out these parking zones and they were a big sucess. By all accounts it'll work here, too.

26 October 2009

The Car Empire Strikes Back


This advert from Audi is a signal from the auto industry that they are under pressure AND that they are willing to fight back.

In the lecture I'm travelling about with at the moment [I'll be publishing it on the blog eventually] I highlight how the auto industry learned all the tricks of postive marketing from the bicycle industry a century ago. This is how we USED to sell bicycles and bicycle culture. They have fine-tuned the art form and they rarely make mistakes. They know exactly how to highlight the positives of their products. On the other hand, we have forgotten how to highlight the positives of urban cycling and we bizarrely ignore the overwhelming Good News in our efforts to sell the percieved negative sides of riding a bicycle. It's hardly surprising that the auto industry are among the more fervent advocates for helmet laws. They know competition when they see it and they go for the throat in branding cycling as dangerous. It sells, quite simply, cars.

From a marketing perspective the advert above is pure brilliance. It capitalizes on the general perception in western societies that 'environmentalists' are kooky, nerdy hippie types who eat raw organic beet root for breakfast.

The environmental lobby has had 40 years to brand themselves well and have failed horribly. While people are perhaps aware of the issues, very few people are actually doing anything about it. That's why this type of advert is so easy to invent. 30 seconds of pushing all the right buttons on their opponents and all the right buttons on the general population.

Amazingly, the Audi overtakes the hippie-mobile Volvo on a curve. Not exactly traffic safety conscious, are they?

Here's an ad for BMW that gently caresses all the emotional heartstrings. Just listen to the speaker's manuscript:

"Joy is efficent, dynamic and... unstoppable." [meaning... we're not going anywhere, so don't get any funny ideas...]

"We realised a long time ago that what you make people feel is just as important as what you make."

"At BMW we don't just make cars... we make joy."

And on their website:
On the back of this three-letter word, we built a company. We don’t just build cars. We are the creators of emotion. We are the guardians of ecstasy, the thrills and chills, and all the words that can’t be found in a dictionary. We are the Joy of Driving. No car company can rival our history, replicate our passion, our vision. Innovation is our backbone but joy is our heart. We will not stray from our three-letter purpose. This is the story of BMW. This is the story of joy.

Not a single motoring helmet in sight in that advert. How odd.

If only cities and towns working towards increasing modal share for bicycles could learn from these basic marketing techniques that the auto industry have perfected. Hire a decent company to develop campaigns. Far too many municipal brochures/campaigns are too geeky to attract the attention and interest of the broader population.

If we're going to sell this urban cycling thing, we need to change our direction.

Thanks to a reader for the first advert and Walkit.com for the latter.

Zone 30 in Barcelona


Photo courtesy of Barcelona Cycle Chic.

I published my christmas list a while back - 30 km/h zones all over Copenhagen. The Dutch responded quickly, slapping a bold proposal on the table in Amsterdam for a 30 km/h in their city and now, feliz navidad from Barcelona:

From the City of Barcelona's website we can see that one of the most important 'Zones 30' in the city is now being carried out.

'The city embarks on one of the largest "Zones 30" campaigns to be carried out to date. Work began on Monday 25th in the La Ribera district. It will last six months and cover 14 neighbourhoods in 7 of the city's districts.'

June 2006 saw the first pilot "Zone 30" designated in the Sant Andreu district. Accident rates in this region were subsequently found to have dropped by up to 27 %. Numbers like these are what we are seeing in cities and towns that are reducing their speed levels.

It is a simple, inexpensive tool to promote traffic calming and to reduce accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists as well as to reduce the number of serious accidents.

The creation of these 30 km/h zones [even lower in school zones] is one of the primary tools that is most effective at fighting the societal scourage of traffic accidents and to encourage cycling. Not to mention just making a city a nicer place to live.

Barcelona will have 215 km of 30 km/h zones by the end of the year. At the moment there are 50 km.

Thanks to Txell from Barcelona Cycle Chic for the tip.

24 October 2009

Protest Against BMW / The Sacred Bull


At the Berlinale Film Festival last February there was a gala event sponsored by BMW called Cinema for Peace. A couple of protesters decided to protest against BMW and other carmakers. "Cars cause war. BMW should stop making cars before throwing peace galas".

My favourite sub-title is:
"You must move away from here. You cannot sit here like this."

"But if we move we cannot protest. So we can't move."

Now THAT'S logic. ;-)

Thanks to Morten for the link.

Magpie Attacks and How to Avoid Them


In Australia there is a problem with magpies diving at cyclists. There are many ideas flying around as to how you can avoid this irritation by putting various adornments on your bike helmet if you wear one.

A group of friends in Canberra did a [not very] scientific study to determine the best solution for stopping the menace, including some of the various ideas of what to put on your helmet.

One might conclude that covering the helmet with something less shiny or even a wig might be a good solution. However, helmets have two primary features that are important. One is absorbing impact and the other is being very slippery. That's why they're designed the way they are, with a slippery, thin outer shell.

If the odds are against you and you go down and the odds are further against you and your head makes contact with the asphalt, you really want that helmet to be slippery so your head slides.

Covering your helmet with fabric or what not will increase the risk of your helmet snagging on the asphalt and this will increase the risk of neck injury or worse.

I'll be doing a post about how it isn't wise to cover helmets with fabric in the near future.

'Tis The Season to Be Scary

It's autumn and that usually means that various organisations who pride themselves on ignoring the sacred bull are probably gearing up for campaigns that serve to scare people off of bicycles here in Denmark.

Let's see what our favourite car salesmen and women - The Danish Road Safety Council - Rådet for Større Færdselssikkerhed has up their sleeves this year, as well as their partner in fear, Trygfonden [an insurance company] and let's see if the Danish Cyclists' Federation once again just shrug and go along with it.

A classic example is previous campaigns for bike lights. While we're waiting for this year's crop of negative bicycle promotion, in this blog post from last year you can compare the Dutch approach with the Danish: Promoting Bike Lights Positively.

I spoke last Friday at a conference in Copenhagen hosted by The International Sport and Culture Association called Move2009. The European Cyclists' Federation was present, with Dr. Randy Rzewnicki and the ECF's Secretary General Dr. Bernhard Ensink speaking wonderfully about promoting cycling positively, backed up with a wealth of science by Dr Lars Bo Andersen from the University of Southern Denmark who has put firm and astounding numbers on just how healthy urban cycling is for society. I also had a quick but inspiring chat with Gil Penalosa from Walk and Bike for Life.

It was refreshing to be a part of this panel of positivists given the current climate of fear gripping Denmark.

Garbage Disposal for Cyclists in Copenhagen


My friend Marie and I were inspired to write a letter a couple of years ago to the City of Copenhagen with a long list of good ideas that Copenhagen should consider in order to cater more to cyclists and brand cycling better.

As fate would have it, Marie is now working at the City's Bicycle Office and I'm a senior consultant but one of those ideas was inspired by a photo sent to me by David Hembrow in Holland. David writes the A View from the Cycle Path blog - a must read.

Anyway, garbage bins for cyclists. I blogged about it a year and a half ago. Raised up and tilted towards the cyclists, offering them a better hit ratio.


I recieved this photo from the Bicycle Office the other day. There are right now a handful of prototypes of a tilted garbage bin along some routes aimed at cyclists who have problems aiming.

Brilliant stuff although to be honest, I think this prototype design needs some improvements. It could be mistaken for a garbage bin that was bumped by a car and bent. It should be higher as well.

Like in many cities there is a design manual for all City inventory on the urban landscape and this bin is a variation on the theme. In order to really hammer the point home that this is for cyclists I think the city should consider making these bins different than all the other regular bins. Brand them for cyclists. Different colour, bigger, higher and a wider opening and with the City's 'I Bike CPH' logo all over it. The City is open to ideas that there could be a target design on them to show that you're meant to aim, among other ideas.

At the moment they're testing them to see if people are better at aiming with their coffee cups or apple cores or whatever they're throwing out from their bicycles. They'll see the results in a couple of months.

Cyclists Counting Themselves

Cyclist 3089
The cyclist counter on Nørrebrogade - the busiest bicycle street in the Western world.

I was out on a little photo shoot the other day, taking photos of two of our cyclist counters in Copenhagen for the cover of the Dutch Cycling Federation's [Fietsersbond] membership magazine De Vogelvrije Fietser. They were in Copenhagen recently to do a series of articles about the World's Cycling Capital.

I've taken photos of the counters before, of course, but standing in both locations for a longer period of time it was really interesting to see how many cyclists actually look at the counter to see it register their passing. Even in the middle of a telephone conversation, at left above.
Cyclist 1258878
Hans Christian Andersen Blvd. Cyclist 1,258,878 since May 1, 2009 on this side of the street.

Now they serve a practical purpose, sending data to the Bicycle Office so they can track patterns in ridership at various times of day, in various kinds of weather, etc etc.

But the counters are also meant to instill a kind of civic pride. Copenhagneners don't realise that what they do is exceptional and world-leading. They just get around town on their efficient transport tools. By displaying the extraordinary numbers for all to see, it is the hope that people will be encouraged to continue cycling and that others will join them.

I've seen many pedestrians stop up and look at the numbers - locals who live in the neighbourhood and tourists alike - and express amazement at the stats. Civic pride is often a good thing and these counters are serving that purpose well.
Cyclist 3074a
Cyclists 1,588,839 / 40 / 41 et al on Nørrebrogade since June 15, 2009 on this side of the street.

They'll look at the sign unless, of course, they're distracted by some schmuck taking photographs...

Amsterdam


Groovy video from that other cycling city... :-)
Sent in by Konaworld.

23 October 2009

Bicycle Riding Prohibited


Here's a sign from Milwaukee, USA from one our readers in... not surprisingly... Milwaukee.

As he says: "Unfortunately, a school's playground in Milwaukee seems very non-Copenhagenize-y. Notice they allow cars on the playground, though, because THAT'S safe. Gotta get 'em hooked on autos while they're young!"

I'm counting five bulls in that china shop, at least. Nice. Not.

But here's a sign that is a little more logical. This time from Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA.


Thanks to both readers for the photos!

Volvo Tries to Brake for Pedestrians



Volvo is wrapping up testing their new - and clumsily named - Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection to be included as extra gear in their new S60 model.

What that means is that the car is designed to detect pedestrians and a prototype has been driving around Copenhagen to 'train' the system.

It is meant to spot all pedestrians in front of the car as well as off to the sides in a 60 degree angle. It will warn the driver with a red flashing light on the windshield if the car is on a collision course with a pedestrian.

If the driver doesn't react quick enough it will brake automatically up to 25 km/h and stop by itself if the car is travelling under 25 km/h.

Copenhagen was chosen as a test city because we have a lot of pedestrians. The test car's screen shows pedestrians popping up. Sometimes cyclists show up but urban inventory like trees and posts don't register.

The Danish daily newspaper Politiken took a test drive and they asked why cyclists weren't included. Volvo replied that they are taking it one step at a time. "Cyclists will perhaps be next on the list, and then animals. It is very complicated to teach the system to read pedestrians' form and structure and separate them from other objects. Because it's just as important to not send false warnings as it is to register pedestrians. If the system beeps, warns and brakes too often, the driver will tire of it and shut it down", said Martin Magnusson from Volvo.

Therefore the system developers have been all around the world for months in order to teach the system to recognize all the different kinds of pedestrians and to learn different weather and light conditions. The system doesn't work at night.

The development of this system has taken 10 years. Pedestrians were chosen first because 16% of all traffic related deaths in Sweden are pedestrians and 11% of all serious injuries in accidents are pedestrians. They are the high risk group. The speed is under 25 km/h in half of these accidents which is why a total automatic stop will have an enormous effect. And a reduction of speed from 50 to 25 km/h will reduce the risk of death by 85%.

"A completely concentrated and sharp driver is always the best option, and better than this system. But research into a long list of collisions show that the driver was occupied with something else other than driving in 93% of the accidents. And half - 47% - didn't even have time to react because of the distration. This is where our safety system comes into play", said Jonas Tisell, who heads the project for Volvo.

--

So this sounds like somebody who is not actually ignoring the Bull in Society's China Shop. The idea sounds interesting. Not unlike the Dutch project to place airbags on the outside of cars [which is so far developed that crash test dummy tests are scheduled for later this year].

There is the chance that drivers will be lulled into yet another false sense of security by this system. John Adams, Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London has an excellent blog called Risk in a Hypermobile World where he, among other things, questions the hype about the effectiveness of seat belts.

What say you all? Good idea this Volvo thing? Or not?

Alternative Post

Paris Alternative Post
William and Gerry both sent us a link to a story on the BBC about a bicycle messenger who is becoming an alternative to the Royal Mail. Great stuff. He's not just competing against the might of the Royal Mail, he's competing against their fleet of 33,000 bicycles. Which sounds even cooler.

The related photo, above, was taken in Paris a couple of weeks ago. The name says it all. Alternative Post.

So now we have a theme and now I have a reason to chuck a load of photos of postal workers into the theme.
Cycle Chic: The Royal Danish Post
The Royal Danish Post.

King Bikes Budapest United States Postal Service
Hungarian postal bike and a US postal service box on a bike.

Postal Posten
And here's a slough of Danish postal shots featuring the bicycle. The Royal Danish Post designs their own bikes. They have new ones now and all the old ones went to Estonia. I used to deliver the post on Saturdays and the bikes are sturdy and reliable. The cargo bikes are pretty decent, too.
Postal Carriers Royal Danish Post

Harbour Postman Postie

Stylish Postal Postal Worker

Postal Service Sleetstorm

Royal Post Royal Danish Post

There. Got all that out of my system.

22 October 2009

Bike Lanes Create Jobs

Provincial Bike Lanes
According to the Danish daily Politiken cyclists can look forward to more money for cycling projects across the nation.

The political parties behind the traffic plan earlier this year are ready to push 100 million kroner [$20 million] forward in order to start cycling projects earlier. Projects scheduled for much later can be completed this year.

The main reason is to give the building industry a boost and create jobs as well as to be able to purchase materials that are cheaper because of the financial crisis.

Basically... bike lanes being built to help the economy in this time of financial instability.

The photo, above, is a part of the national cycle route formed in the early 90's. It is standard in the countryside that there are bike lanes between towns. This is is between a town of 7000 people and another of about 10,000. The paths are set away from the road in rural areas, but still run parallel.

Latest Bike Culture Buzzwords

Infrastructure Paris Bike Lane
On my recent travels to a host of countries I've noticed a couple of buzzwords - buzzphrases, really - that are popping up around the shop. I'm only mentioning them because they really something that a lot of people are talking about.

The first is:

"Necessary Infrastructure"

One of the main hurdles to increasing the number of people cycling in the city is the problems with building the necessary infrastructure in the form of bike lanes, cycle tracks and other facilities.

In many cities and towns the municipality doesn't really have to ask anyone if they should fix a road or build a new one. The same applies to sidewalks. These are givens. When it comes to bike infrastructure, all of a sudden you have to ask every man and his dog and often the bike lane gets voted down. Either by citizen groups or business associations.

'Necessary infrastructure' is taking bicycle infrastructure out of the wet, stinky cardboard box it is kept in and placing it on the same shelf as the other infrastructure.

So when somebody says, "Hey, we don't want any bike lanes here!" the city can just shrug and say, "It's necessary infrastructure... now please get out of the way of the jackhammer/painting machine."

This is an exciting development.

Fixie Counter
The other bicycle culture buzzword/phrase I've been hearing is:

"Vintage Racing Bicycles"

If you look at the first movers in London and Berlin, they're ditching their fixies. We all knew it was a fad anyway, but now we're seeing signs that we're moving on to The Next Big Thing.

A vintage racer from the 1940's, 50's, 60's. All original components. Preferbly a bike that Eddie Mercyx rode when winning a stage in Le Tour. Or something like that.

Bummer if you just bought a new fixie. Bummer that loads of large bicycle companies showed off new fixies at Interbike - two years too late. We're going vintage. Great for people like Rob Sargent.

But bummer that someone used so much time and effort on adding some spice to the Copenhagen bicycle counter in the photo above. It's quite brilliant, though, how they added text and a fake digital sign that reads "You are fixie number: 6969 today". It really is well made. Even though the number is fantastically optimistic.

I don't think I've used the word 'bummer' that much since the early 1990's. Maybe that's a buzzword, too. Bummer if it is.

By the way, the rest of the sign, from top, says:
"You are cyclist number 4344 today"
"Out of a total of 1,396,950 since June 15, 2009"

That's just on this side of the street. Double it for the total on the stretch.

Oprah in Copenhagen


Oprah was in town to try and help Chicago win the 2016 Olympics. Didn't go so well, but she had a programme last night about The World's Happiest People. There are bicycles in it, but it's an interesting portrait of the Copenhageners.

"Less space, less things, more life" is what Oprah took away from her visit. Also it should be 'fewer things', but hey. Our relationship to the bicycle is not mentioned, but it applies. Simplicity. Ease of use. Practical. Efficient. The bicycle appeals to the Danish mentality for all these reasons. We like good design that is also functional.

The bit about Copenhagen starts at 2:00 into the clip. The Youtube clip may die at some point, so you can also see the full clips on Oprah.com


Here's part 2.

21 October 2009

Bloody Pedestrians Obstructing the Flow of Traffic


A video from the always interesting Streetfilms about motorist behaviour in New York. I'm extremely pleased to see that somebody has actually turned around and looked at the bull.

This really highlights the folly of behavioural campaigns aimed at getting cyclists - and only cyclists - to 'behave' when in fact the issue is bigger than all that.

Medicate the damn bull. With that said, New York really is the greatest Shared Space experiment in the western world. Pedestrians rarely look at the walk signal, they often merely look left or right and walk when the coast is clear. Imagine the money you could say on electricity if all those unused walk signals were removed.

Although we could channel the voltage into initiatives that slow the automotive traffic instead.

Via Tom Vanderbilt's How We Drive blog and Streetfilms.org.

20 October 2009

Dutch Christmas Presents for Me!

Suitably Dressed for Cycling
I make a wish for christmas in Copenhagen and it looks like I may get it from the Dutch.

My recent christmas wish list is for a 30 kmh zone in the city of Copenhagen. Last Saturday, a proposal was announced in Amsterdam for... a 30 kmh zone in the entire inner city.

Here's a news clip from Amsterdam. They're either speaking Dutch or they all have something in their throat.

[i shouldn't joke. Danish is a horrible-sounding language, too. :-)]

Thanks to Marc
for the present. We just want to move it north a bit.

Birth of the Bicycle


Satire from UCB Comedy. Shame the baby was handicapped... :-)

How Not to Promote Cycling in London


You really get the sense that the writer of this article in The Daily Mail hates cyclists and gleefully claps hands at a mind-bogglingly silly initiative like this one in Islington.

Oh goodness me.

Thanks to William for the link.

The Bike Church in Asbury Park


A couple of fine videos about a Bike Church and the woman - Kerri Martin - who works so hard in Asbury Park, New Jersey to bring bicycles to the kids.


Thanks to Andy in Jersey for the link to WalkBikeJersey.

Copenhagenize in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco

Departure for the West Coast of the US is imminent.
If you're in any of these neighbourhoods, please drop by.

Seattle - 28 October 2009
Marketing Bicycle Culture Lecture at 7 PM.
Venue: Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St
Sponsored by International Sustainability Institute & Cascade Bicycle Club.

Portland - 29 October 2009
Marketing Bicycle Culture Lecture at 7 PM.
Venue: Hoyt: 539 NW 10th / Dreams on Wheels Exhibition
Arranged by Oregon Manifest.
An Evening honoring the Danish Embassy and the City of Portland.
Danish photographer of the “Dreams on Wheels” exhibit and film maker, Mikael Colville-Andersen, will be joined by Portland City Mayor Sam Adams and Jeff Mapes (author of Pedaling Revolution and Senior political reporter for the Oregonian) for a panel discussion on progressing the bicycle movement.


San Francisco - 30 October 2009
Marketing Bicycle Culture Lecture at 12:30
Venue: SPUR Urban Center, San Francisco, 654 Mission St (between New Montgomery and 3rd Sts)

19 October 2009

New York Bicycle Infrastructure


A fine little film from the good people at Streetfilms.org about some of the new infrastruture in New York City, complete with explanations by Department of Transport people.

Eco People Counter

Eco-compteur
While in La Rochelle last week, I had a chance to wander around the fair at the conference and ended up having a chat with the people at the EcoCompteur stand. Compteur is the French for 'counter'. It's a company that produces counters for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as other vehicles.

It was interesting to hear how their technology works. It was all so exotic hearing phrase like pyroelectric lens, ZELT inductive loops, acoustic slabs and selective pneumatic.

They do counters like the one in the photo above but I liked these ideas:

On a rural road in New Zealand there used to be only the sign in the foreground to warn motorists of a bicycle on the bridge. A static, overlooked sign.

In the background there is a modern warning sign that flashes.

Now, when a cyclist triggers the sensor, the sign starts flashing for a certain period of time to warn motorists. Enough to let the cyclist get to the other end of the bridge. Increased safety.

I suppose any size of sign is possible. Me... I'd prefer a massive sign that flashes "DO NOT KILL THE CYCLIST ON THE BRIDGE! HE/SHE HAS A FAMILY!", based on the Sacred Bull in Society's China Shop School of Traffic Safety.


The company has also produced a similar sign and sensor in a tunnel near Valence, France, warning motorists of the prescence of one or more cyclists in the tunnel.

There are different solutions to counting. Heat sensors and sensors under the asphalt. Perfect for data-collection.

They have a little film about their products here.

www.eco-compteur.com/

18 October 2009

Positive Bicycle Advertising

Bicycles in Adverts
On my recent visit to France I noticed the bicycle on many different adverts and brochures. It's no secret that the bicycle has become high profile in advertising over the past year or so, but there were many positive images. Like this advert for Promod, an online fashion shop.
Bicycles in Adverts
Even on the cardboard sleeve that my room key came in at the hotel in Paris there was a happy cycling couple.
Bicycles in Adverts
At Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, an advert for HSBC bank featured Asian urban cyclists.
Bicycles in Adverts
A brochure for the city of La Rochelle.

And from elsewhere, these adverts featuring the bicycle:
Killah Advert
Advert for the clothing company Killah.
Bike Trip
Tourism brochure for the Swedish province of Skåne [Scania].
Vodafone Advert
Advert for Vodaphone in Prague.
House of Fraser
Advert for The House of Fraser clothing store in London.

All this symbolism is, of course, good. Cementing the bicycle as a normal part of life and not merely reserved for 'enthusiasts'.

Are we approaching that all important tipping point in some regions? It seems so. Let's hope it is the case.

Message to brain after viewing them: Cycling is enjoyable, fun, social and acceptable.

17 October 2009

Velo-City Global 2010 in Copenhagen


Copenhagen is hosting the Velo-City Glboal 2010 conference next year, in June 2010.

Over 1000 participants from all continents are expected here in the city to dicuss bicycle planning, culture and mobility. It is hosted by the City of Copenhagen and the European Cyclists Federation.

We're getting ready to welcome you. Registration starts online in January.

[Advert produced by Copenhagenize Consulting for the City of Copenhagen and Velo-City Global 2010. And features my son, Felix. :-)]

16 October 2009

Borrowed Bikes Whilst Travelling

NYC Bullitt over Brooklyn
With all the travelling I've been doing lately comes the fact that I have borrowed a number of different bikes. I often consider taking my Mobiky folding bike with me, but since I invariably meet up with readers or like-minded people, there always seem to be bikes nearby.

On my recent visit to New York, Johnathan was amazingly kind enough to let me borrow his Bullitt TNT cargo bike from Larry vs Harry. Johnathan flew to Copenhagen earlier this year just to buy one and ship it home. He provided me with not only the bike but two locks, a pump, a map of the city and a tool kit. Totally brilliant.

He cycles in cycling shoes so the only hitch was that I had to adjust to pedalling on clipless pedals in my regular shoes, but that was no big deal. It was amazing how many conversations I struck up with people when I rode around on the bike. I'm on the Manhattan Bridge, stopped to take some photos, and a couple of workers on the railway shouted at me to come over. They wanted to know all about the bike.

I'm stopped at a red light on 3rd Ave later that day [SOMEBODY has to do it] and I happen to glance over at a middle-aged latina lady in an SUV. She is staring at me and the bike and, to my surprise, she gives me a nod as if to say 'respect'. Half of it was the red light stopping, half was the bike.

Thanks to Johnathan for the ride.
Mikael DC
In DC my friend Jeff from the League of American Bicyclists used his subscription for the city's bike share programme Smartbike DC to hook me up with one of the bicycles. It was a good bicycle to ride and it was in great condition. But that's probably because nobody else uses them in the city. I only saw one other person on one. There's only 120 bikes at six stations, so it's not exactly convenient at the moment. But more bikes and stations are on the way so here's hoping more people use them.
Paris Cool
In Paris I used a Vélib, or rather a half dozen different ones.

Nuff said.
La Rochelle: Yélo Chainless
In La Rochelle, the first city in the world to start a permanent bike share programme back in 1975, they are just now switching to a new bike share system. For more than 30 years they've had regular yellow bicycles available to the citizens and tourists. Now they have just launched the Yélo programme in the same vein as Vélib, Bicing and all the rest and with many stations around the city that look like this. The bikes are chainless, which may be interesting. Just not to me.


In Budapest, Kristof loaned me an upright bike that the German communications company T-Mobile had sponsored and painted in their corporate colour... which is why it's pink. I rode it in the critical mass and around the city. And on the velodrome, of course, on a demonstratively slow circuit in the spirit of the Slow Bicycle Movement.

Bullitt Tokyo Intersection Hollywood Ranch Market
In Japan I was on a bunch of bikes, including a Bullitt and a Velorbis Scrap Deluxe - both which made me feel incredibly at home since these are the bikes I ride here in Copenhagen.
Mikael, Brompton in Anjo
I also rode a Brompton on one of the days of the Danish Embassy's Cycling Tour of Japan. On my last day I rode around on a crappy orange bike the embassy had lying around. Which also made me feel at home.
Moscow Cycle Chic Party
In Moscow, it was mostly business but there were bikes to be borrowed and used. There was also time for fun. There always is.
Retro Me Eurofixie
In Amsterdam, Henry from WorkCycles loaned me a bike [thanks!] which I don't have any photos of and in at VeloCity in Brussels [the two photos above]there were loads of bikes to play around with.