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.


Clever said...

and when you come to portland, you know clever cycles has the right stuff for you, right?

Karl McCracken (twitter: @karlonsea) said...

I'm not sure you're taking your slowness properly seriously - on the second turn, you were getting a good couple of feet up the bank in the velodrome!

Josef said...

Hi Mikael,

It's great that you tracked down one of Danish bikes in New York, but next time you really have to try out a New York-made model. Check out Peter Reich's bike: http://swiftfolders.com/story.html.

I saw you when you came to Columbia and really enjoyed your presentation. Is there anyway you can send a copy? I am a student at Columbia and we only want to use it for academic purposes.

You can contact me here: jszende[at]gmail.com.

Thanks again, great presentation!

LGV said...

so finaly wich bike do you think is the best for town ?

Michael said...

Looks like the Velibs etc. were very useful on the trip, Mikael.

I can see it's going to get more and more frustrating if we are denied bike share in Australia because of our helmet laws.

A contract has been signed for Bixies, 600 of them, to come to Melbourne next year.

But when a company rep, Alison Cohen, tried to explain to me on camera how they planned to supply the require helmet, through 7/11's and McDonalds, it sounded undo-able.

See what you think.


Mike Rubbo