31 December 2009

Windcycle

The Wind Man
Caught this chap during the climate conference. Not quite sure what he has going on with his bicycle, but he smiled and shouted "it runs on the dynamo!"

30 December 2009

Reindeer are soooo last year


Laura here in Copenhagen spotted this Father Christmas riding a Nihola cargo bike on christmas evening. A fetching red Nihola cargo bike matching his outfit.

29 December 2009

David Miller and other Climate Conference Stuff


Photo: Ty Stange/Copenhagen X

Danish Broadcasting interviewed Toronto's mayor David Miller during the Climate Conference and broadcast it last night. The David Miller who cycled around Copenhagen recently on The Copenhagen Wheel. Here's the link:
Deadline - Interview with David Miller on Low Carbon Cities. You'll have to hop forward to 14:40 on the timeline for the start of the interview.

Thierry Geoffry is French and he lives in Copenhagen. He is known to us Copenhageners at 'Colonel'. He's mad, completely mad, but quite brilliant. He made this film about Denmark - Centre of the Universe during the climate conference. Filming himself on his bike at first and talking about cities. He blogs regularly on Copenhagen X website, the sustainable city portal.


And then there's Eugene Mirman, comedian and correspondant for Grist.org. I had to google Grist and on the search page their description reads: " ...the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism." Which makes we wonder why I've never heard of them. Anyway:

Take it or leave it. I found it amusing in a Michael Moorey kind of way, but that approach is getting passé. But hey.

28 December 2009

No Helmets for Urban Cyclists in Israel


Tel Aviv Cyclists, by Thomas Schlijper.

Last year Israel implemented an all ages helmet law for it's citizens, despite the fact that helmet laws appear to becoming less popular over the past couple of years.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation has now decided to support a bill that would modify the law to exclude adults cycling in urban areas from being forced to wear a helmet, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Israeli Coalition to support helmet-less bike riding within cities

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation threw its support on Sunday behind a bill which would remove the requirement for adults to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in the city.

The bill, sponsored by MK Sheli Yehimovich (Labor) repeals part of the Helmet Law which was passed last year. Instead of requiring a helmet for intra-city riding, Yehimovich's bill would leave that decision up to the adult rider. Children, those riding off-road or those biking between cities would still be required to wear a helmet.

"Riding a bike in communities and especially in cities significantly reduces traffic congestion, parking difficulties, air pollution and accidents. Requiring helmets drove many people away from their bikes and back to their cars because of the hassle of wearing a helmet and carrying it around," the MK said in a statement.

"In Paris and other European cities, there are wonderful programs which provide bikes for transport and no one requires a helmet there. Tel Aviv has also signed a contract to station 2,000 bikes around the city but the project has been held up because of the Helmet Law. Moreover, the law is unenforceable and the police have said they do not plan to even attempt to enforce it," she added.


The bill hasn't passed just yet. There are three votes in the Knesset to come. Nevertheless there are signs that rationality is returning to our species.

The problem that helmet laws pose for bike share programmes is not new. Australia is pondering what to do with this contradictory mix. Mike Rubbo, the documentary filmmaker, tries to get to the bottom of it at his blog. We've posted about Israel and Australia previously regarding helmets and bike share.

Spain is one of the only other countries to distinguish between city and countryside. Spain implemented an all-ages helmet law in 2004. It doesn't, however, apply in the following situations:
- cyclists riding in towns and cities
- cycling during periods of extreme heat
- cycling up steep hills
- professional cyclists

Besides that, the law is rarely enforced.Source.

Hungary has, in their recent amendments to the Highway Code included a helmet detail regarding speed limits.

If you're cycling outside of cities and want to ride 50 km/h or more, you can do so if you wear a helmet. If you don't wear it, you're only allowed to ride 40 km/h. Source: this post, in the comments.

Strangely, when viewing the Jerusalem Post article, there was an advert under the article that read:
Pedal Power: Learn the basics of biking with pro-advice, confidence-building drills, and a training plan developed by Cooking Light expert Gin Miller (Cooking Light)

Nothing to do with this post, but it's just humourous.

27 December 2009

Stopping Robbers With a Bicycle


A Chinese gentleman used his bicycle in a rather unique way to stop bad guys speeding away on a scooter. Brilliant stuff. Fortunately he was just a regular chap on a regular bike, so using it like this to stop a robbery was a reflex. Leaves us wondering what he would have done if he were a fetishist with an expensive hi-tech bicycle. Choose to protect the bicycle rather than making a "citizen's bicycle arrest"?

We will never know the truth.

Copenhagenize's Favourite Bicycle Adverts #1


In celebration of winter and snow, I thought I'd repost my favourite advert involving the bicycle. Well, one of them anyway. This one for Miller beer. Ahead of their time?

Originally posted here ages ago.

Christmas Cargo Bikes

Copenhagen Crepes
I spotted a few new cargo bike ventures this christmas season here in Copenhagen. Copenhagen Crepes, above, selling ... not surprisingly... crepes.
Coffeebike dk
Yet another coffee bike. This one from Coffeebike.dk
Xmas Angels
And this one, Xmas Angels, selling christmas decorations.

I think I've mentioned it before on the blog but the City of Copenhagen eased up on restrictions for selling goods on the street, as well as the rules for outdoor serving for cafés and restaurants.

The direct results have been a boom in the number of especially cafés that have tables outside on the sidewalk and an explosion in the variety of cargo bikes selling things.

The goal with the change of laws was to create more life on the streets and I'll say it worked. The cargo bikes in the photos up top are just a few in a long line of creative ventures involving bicycles/tricyles.

26 December 2009

Bicycle Sledding

Winter Bullitt
What with all the snowfall here the hills are alive with the sound of sledding. We didn't get the 50-60 cm that other regions of the country did, but there's more than enough snow to slide. The Bullitt did a tour of duty on the park pathways on the way to the inclines.
Sled Central
There was an armada of cargo bikes filled with kids all around the park. Here's a classic Christiania bike with owners watching the action on the steepest part under the castle. We tried it out but preferred the other hills.
Sled-o-rama Push

Home from Sledding
There are many creative ways to get to and from sledding involving bicycles.

25 December 2009

Donald Duck Bike Polo Cartoon


Huey, Dewey and Louie [Rip, Rap, Rup in Danish] get all sub-cultural on their uncle's ass and play bike polo in this classic cartoon from 1938.

Donald Duck is the Disney character that Danes took to heart more than any other, right since he was invented. Called Anders And in Danish ['and' being duck] he has simply dominated the cartoon world for decades. A monthly magazine is still published here. Donald's character just seemed to appeal to Danes and the Nordic peoples in general.

The long-time translator of the cartoons, Sonja Rindom, was a linguistic tour-de-force and she coined so many expressions in Danish through her translations that she was awarded a literary prize for her contribution to the Danish language back in 1988.

One that sticks out is Langbortistan - literally Far Away-stan - the name of a country... far away. Now this word is in the everyday language. Kind of like Timbuktoo, in English.

Donald Duck's name in the Nordic languages:
Danish: Anders And
Norwegian: Donald Duck
Swedish: Kalle Anka
Faeroe: Dunnaldur Dunna
Icelandic: Andrés Önd
Finland Finsk: Aku Ankka

24 December 2009

Cycling Embassy of Denmark

Cycling Embassy of Denmark
The focus on the cycling life of Denmark in general and Copenhagen in particular came out of nowhere when Copenhagen Cycle Chic and this blog launched a couple of years ago.

The international focus on reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, acceptable and respected transport form has increased steadily and shows no sign of diminishing. The result is that cities, towns, cycling groups and even nations are become hungry to learn about the experience of cycling friendly cities, towns and nations and how they achieved their goals.

They are knocking on the doors of Denmark and Holland and arriving on study trips. I've had the pleasure of meeting a few hundred people over the past year or so who have come to Copenhagen to see what we do. We've gone for bike rides around the city or sat in cafés and discussed.
Copenhagen Rush Hour
Based on this intense interest, it's natural that the Cycling Embassy of Denmark has gotten onboard. The embassy is comprised of various stakeholders in the cycling community and in their inaugural press release they say that:

For more than a century Denmark has been a country of cyclists. Today, Denmark is a cycling laboratory where new trends and ideas are combined with knowledge gained through years of experience.

The Cycling Embassy of Denmark gathers the best information from the private, public and non-profit sectors in an effort to be the primary source of cycling knowledge and products. The embassy comprises experts in city planning, infrastructure, cycling promotion, parking facilities, bicycle tourism, biking equipment and much more.

The interest in promoting bicycling in cities around the world is greater than ever. “No other single activity can simultaneously improve general health conditions and fitness, reduce pollution and CO2 emissions and help tackle congestion. That is why countries around the world now want to re-introduce the bicycle as a means of daily transportation” says Lise Bjørg Pedersen, Secretary of the Embassy.


They certainly made my life easier during the climate conference by arranging many, many bicycle tours for the armies of journalists and politicians, showing off our infrastructure and facilities.

Indeed, the recent Climate Conference was a fantastic springboard for the Cycling Embassy what with the massive amount of visitors to the city. Among other things they awarded Mayor Bloomberg a diploma for his efforts towards establishing New York as a cycling city and they harvested a fantastic amount of contacts and press exposure.

All good for promoting cycling and spreading best practice and experience around the world.

The Cycling Embassy of Denmark


It is worth noting that the Dutch Fietsberaad [Cycling Council] has a Knowledge Bank on their website for exchanging information and ideas. Definately worth a look.

Disposable Recylable Bicycles

Corpse
I've been watching this bicycle for over three months. It's right across the street from my flat, on a stretch of bike lane outside a hospital. In other words, not a residental stretch.

It appeared there, leaning against the steel post over three months ago. The back tire was flat and it was locked with the wheel lock. I'm assuming someone got a flat and parked it, maybe hopping on on a bus or the metro to continue their journey.

It remained unmoved for several days. Then it started shuffling about. People were obviously having a look at it. Checking it out. Nothing happened to the bike, but it was being shuffled about. Suddenly leaning up against the wall one day, then back against the post.

Anonymous hands moving it about.

After about a month, the front wheel was removed, but it wasn't taken. It was left leaning up against the bike. A week or two later, the tire was taken off the wheel and spirited away.

The bike was still constantly in movement within this little area. Almost every day or two it was in a different position. I never saw anyone moving it and only saw one regular looking man stop up to check it out.

Actually, I did see a city employee sweeping leaves move it out of the way, but that's it.

About three weeks ago, the front tire was gone. Then the seat. The bike is still there as I write this.

The attitude towards bicycles really is that they are, in many ways, public domain. The bike was not cannibalised for quite a long period. Then perhaps as the same people started walking past and seeing it still there, bits and pieces started to disappear. A kind of biodegradable process, like bugs and birds picking slowly away at a corpse.

The bicycle is just a tool. A thing. An amazing thing, but just a thing. If you have a nice thing, you take care of it. If you have a regular thing, you're more flexible about it.

I've discovered that this disposable attitude to bicycles is hard for many people in Emerging Bicycle Cultures to understand but it's important to consider when bicycling becomes mainstream.

Fallen Chain
In contrast, the chain fell off this bicycle a few days ago, outside my flat. It was locked by the bush for a couple of days and then was gone. Picked up by the owner is my assumption. Elsewhere the assumption would be that it was nicked.

But I've always said that one of the surest signs that you have a healthy and thriving and mainstream bicycle culture is that you have abandoned bikes around. Like in lakes or canals or harbours:
Frozen Bicicle

Or just left lying around like this:
Rest Assured Back to Nature

Bush Eats Bike

The very excellent Canadian film Monkey Warfare, which takes place in Toronto, tackles this disposable bicyclism in much the same way. An abandoned bike is left alone until the characters are sure that it is, in fact, abandoned.


Stills from Monkey Warfare.

23 December 2009

After The World Left Copenhagen

Christmas Tree Batteries
The national christmas tree on Copenhagen's city hall square was lit by stationary bicycles up to and during the climate conference.

Now the square is almost back to normal now that the world has left, with the whole Hopenhagen town setup removed.

The christmas tree is now plugged in and running on electricity and the bicycles have been removed.

Symbolism?

Two Triangles

22 December 2009

Mayor of Toronto Cycles Copenhagen


The Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, out cycling in Copenhagen during the recent Climate Conference, like lots of other mayors.

He was test driving the new Copenhagen Wheel in the most dapper fashion.

Hang the Cyclists in Budapest



On the 13rd of december 2009, at the same time of the climate conference in Copenhagen, 16 motorists demonstrated against a new bike lane, built on one of the main roads of the city.

The organisation EMPAMO (Movement for Human Parking) started an offensive against the cyclist movement, calling them fascist (http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/10/0 3/hungary-cycling-is-chic-but-fascist/ target="blank"). This group has 13 members, and the video shows, how constructive they face the problems of urban traffic.
FYI there's a very old motorist club in Hungary, called Autóklub, with more than 300k members. They have no connection with this group.

By the wave of the Critical Mass, the sum of cyclists doubles every year in BP. In 2009 some smaller but important changes happened to help this kind of transportation. One of them was this bike lane. On the smaller boulevard about 70 parking lots were deleted, to give back the space for pedestrians and cyclists. The route also has a strong public transport use, and every- day traffic jams. Parking lots for delivery were constructed.

The Critical Mass Budapest is organised on the closest sunday to Earth Day in april and on the Car Free Day, in sept. The worlds biggest CM is abiding the law, has a good relationship with the local police.


Thanks to Aron at Cyclechic.hu for the link.

Copenhagen Conference Bike

Conference Bike Kids
I spotted these Conference Bikes in Copenhagen during the Climate Conference. They were taking kids for a ride around the city centre.
Conference Bike Kids3
Needless to say, the kids were having a ball.

21 December 2009

Bike Shops Selling Fireworks

Bicycle Fireworks
Here's a quirky thing in our bicycle culture here in Denmark. It's no surprise that January and February are the slowest months for the business of selling bicycles.

What many - and I mean many - bike shops do is transform themselves into fireworks shops.

In Denmark you're only allowed to sell fireworks between December 1 - 31 each year, in the run up to New Year's Eve. Bike shops are major sellers of the gear, like this one in the photo.

Not only are January and Feburary slow months, there is also tough competition. A couple of years ago I counted 27 bike shops in my neighbourhood - with a 7 minute bike ride from my flat. That number is now 40+, as I've discovered more and more.

Most bike shops are small and earn their wage repairing bicycles, more than selling them. In January and February, even though 80% of Copenhageners cycle all winter, there are fewer people needing repairs.

An innovative, unique way to muscle up the sales figures before the January drought.

By all accounts, it's a similar story in the Netherlands and Belgium at this time of year. With all that said, me and the kids buy our fireworks at a local paint shop, who also morph themselves into a fireworks shop for the season.

Electric Cars in Amsterdam and Elsewhere

Rides
Amsterdam Traffic

This article from the NY Times about the emergence of electric cars highlights the problems and frustrations of electric cars being percieved as 'green' and of politicians who are keen to promote them.


A Pro-Bicycle City Faces Trouble Promoting Electric Cars


The article is interesting because we are on the cusp of the same issue here in Denmark, one of two countries along with Israel that is a testing ground for new electric cars and technology. I read the article with Copenhagen in mind.

"...now officials are trying to switch gears and mount an aggressive effort to encourage people to buy new electric cars. That jibes with this country's fight against global warming, but it is also warming the tempers among cyclists. They worry that their traditional right-of-way over cars will be sideswiped by more cars and more parking ramps.

The city council is giving free power to new electric car owners for the next two years and has agreed to pay half of the extra cost of purchasing plug-in vehicles, as compared to cheaper gasoline-powered models. The city might even carve out a reserved parking space with fuel access and front-door approach for new owners. That's a jackpot in this space-squeezed city."


Is this the beginning of the transport battle for Amsterdam? And other cities like Copenhagen? Will this be the greatest challenge bicycle planning has faced in established bicycle cultures for the past four decades?

I recall Adrienne from Change Your Life, Ride a Bike telling me about how her lobbying for bicycle lanes in her neighbourhood is not completely understood by her neighbours who offer up pearls like this: "Why do you want bike lanes?! We'll all have electric cars soon!"

Full article:

A Pro-Bicycle City Faces Trouble Promoting Electric Cars

19 December 2009

Copenhagen, Jan Gehl and Contested Streets


Here's a clip from Transportation Alternatives' documentary Contested Streets wherein Copenhagen is profiled and architect and urban planner Jan Gehl is interviewed and guides us through the last four decades of Copenhagen's transformation to one of the world's most liveable cities.

As Gehl says in the documentary:
"It's really wonderful to live in a city where every day when you wake up in the morning you realise that the city is a little bit better than yesterday. I've had this feeling now for over forty years."

The bicycle features prominently in the segment. Gehl says about Copenhagen:
"...one third go by bicycle, one third go by public transportation and one third in private cars. That is why we are the city in the western world that has least traffic - in any big million city [metropolis] - because the bicycle is carrying such a great weight in the total traffic picture."

Brilliant clip and interview with Jan Gehl highlighting Copenhagen's journey.

Copenhagenize Mix

Mix
Another Copenhagenize Mix of links:

Bike Snob NYC reports on a brilliant example of Ignoring The Bull, involving a celebrity.

Older post from BikePortland about what The Netherlands [and Denmark] can learn from Portland and Vancouver, what with falling cycling rates in both countries.

Risky cycling rarely to blame for bike accidents, study finds
Cyclists disobeying stop signal or wearing dark clothing at night rarely cited in collisions causing serious injury, The Guardian reports.
Link from Christopher and Elspeth.

NPR reports on cargo bikes [as though they're a new fangled thing] and how practical they are
.
Link from Taras.

Scottish firefighters take to bicycles to spread awareness
Link from Kim.

Cartoon highlighting the importance of helmet-wearing.
Link from Rob.

Old School Culture of Fear cartoon from the New Yorker. It's the second cartoon in the slide show.

Two bike lanes welcomed in Philadelphia.
Link from Christopher.

Warning! Bicycles are not just for Christmas.
Bristol Traffic does it again.

The fantastically overcomplicated world of bicycle laws in New South Wales, Australia. Opens as .pdf.
Link from Martin.

And a quote:
"Health and safety may seem to be moral absolutes of our time, as religious dogma used to be, for naturally bossy people to throw their weight around."
Auberon Waugh

18 December 2009

Let it Snow in Copenhagen

Not Right Now
During the Climate Conference there were a number of activists using lack of snow as a symbol for climate change issues. Ironically, and irritatingly for some, it started snowing a couple of days ago here in Copenhagen, as the photo of Lulu-Sophia's tricycle attests.
Let it Snow
I had actually been hoping that it would snow simply because in all the countless interviews I've given this past ten days, in temperatures hovering around freezing, everyone was asking how on earth we have gotten people to ride bicycles in 'this weather'.
Snowpenhagen Class
With the snowfall - only about 10 cm in Copenhagen but other regions of Denmark have recieved 35 cm alone today and 50 cm in all - journalists have been out filming and photographing the masses of cyclists squinting into driving snow in temperatures down to -20 with the wind chill. Wearing regular winter clothes, of course, and in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

It really does wonders for selling the very simple idea of urban cycling. You can't pay for this kind of advertising of cycling as a feasible, acceptable and normal form of transport.

Push
So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Not least because we can go sledding tomorrow, me and the kids.
Long John Tobogganing
On the Bullitt, of course.

Here's a slideshow from my Cycling in Winter Flickr set.

Danish Pavillion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai

Danish Pavillion Shanghai Expo 2010
Expo 2010 takes place in Shanghai next year, from May 1 to October 31, with 70 million expected visitors. The Danish Pavillion is currently under construction in the city and it is designed by one of our most prolific and visionary architects, Bjarke Ingels from BIG. The theme of the Expo is 'better city, better life' and sustainability.


Here's a visualisation of the pavillion and the inspiration behind it. The concept for the exhibition in the pavillion is Welfairytales. The Danish word 'velfærd' means "well-being" and is best known in English as welfare. So for some welfare is free handouts from the government. For us it's a more specific and positive word.

Needless to say, bicycles and Danish bicycle culture are a main feature in the Danish Pavillion. The trademark Copenhagen Blue from our bike lanes is present on a bike lane that swirls gently up to the roof and 1000 city bikes are available for people to ride.

Danish Pavillion Shanghai Expo 2010
The iconic statue of The Little Mermaid will be uprooted from the harbour and transported to Shanghai. The Chinese have always loved the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. Back in 2005, the bicentenary of Andersen's birth, I was the producer of a comprehensive website celebrating the writer for Danish Broadcasting. Having the site translated into Chinese was something I insisted upon. Danes grow up with Andersen's stories, but the Chinese are much more passionate about them.

To highlight the fact that the harbour in Copenhagen is now clean enough to swim in, The Little Mermaid will be placed in water actually transported from Copenhagen harbour.

Danish Pavillion Shanghai Expo 2010
If it was up to me, they could keep the lame little statue. We have a much more brilliant monument.


For those interested in design and architecture, Bjarke Ingels appeared on TED where he speaks about his work ethics and process. Fascinating stuff. He explains also the inspiration for the Danish Pavillion, including reintroducing the bicycle to China.

17 December 2009

The Copenhagen Steal

Push and Shove
My friend Ralph, from Campaign to Protect Rural England, and I went for a bike ride and happend upon a demonstration.

If you look past all the climate conference hype in this city and look at the everyday life, it's really bizarre to be a Copenhagener.

All the main hotels are surrounded by concrete barriers, the police prescence is absolutely massive and traffic is disrupted in a seemingly random manner in the course of day. It's not random, of course, but it seems like it. Worth mentioning that whenever streets are cordoned off, bicycles are, as a rule, allowed to pass. 1-0 for human powered machines.

And when entire streets are blocked because a demonstration is on the way, you get to ride out in the middle of the street and experience a reclaim the streets feeling. 2-0.
Cops and Cargo
For me, personally, it's the police prescence that feels rather disturbing. This calm, cool Nordic capital has been transformed into something so far removed from reality. The Danish police don't have enough vans and trucks for this job so we're seeing yellow and blue Swedish police vans and green German vans all over the city. In the case of the latter, 'polizei' is stickered over with 'politi'. It's unnerving in some strange way to see police equipment in the wrong colours. I get a strange sense of occupation.

Last Tuesday was most bizarre for me. I was heading into the city to give some interviews - three a day for the past 10 days - when I saw policemen and vans on a main street leading to the centre. It was a kind of checkpoint.

Then I saw, over at Queen Louise's Bridge the same checkpoint system and the police were pulling over vans and even cyclists to conduct searches.

Along The Lakes was a sight that I haven't been able to shake off. A checkpoint administered by police carrying machine guns. THAT is so completely un-Danish. I wasn't in Copenhagen, I was in some faraway place.

I later learned from a friend - a former policeman - that a major terrorist threat had been picked up. Not activists with bicycles and balaclavas but the hard-core religious fundamentalists. No, not the christian ones, the islamic variety.

Which explains the checkpoints, but it still leaves me rather shaken. I'll be sad to see the world leave our city, but I won't mind seeing the back of the police prescence.

During the massive climate conference demonstration last Saturday, a whole bunch of people were arrested at the tail-end. The way they were treated was appalling and shocking. I did, however, like the headline on one newspaper the next day: "Climate Party - 99,100 people didn't get arrested!"

The police state attitude of the police is something that I'm not proud off. It's madness drawing truncheons and pepper spray on unarmed protesters, as the world - fortunately - saw yesterday.

Which brings us to this video. I blogged previously about how the police confiscated what they called 'war bikes' from The Candy Factory where The Bike Bloc was building them.

This video was filmed inside the building when the police arrived. Have a look at see what doesn't make me a bit proud. The Danish police exercising their new powers under the so-called Lømmelpakken, which are the laws pushed through parliament for this climate conference.

The Copenhagen Wheel

Addendum: 14 June 2010: Read this interesting criticism of the Copenhagen Wheel from Steven, Architectural Historian and cyclist: Two thumbs down for The Copenhagen Wheel. The City of Copenhagen and MIT have been working on a project for a while and it was finally revealed here in Copenhagen this week. The Copenhagen Wheel. An electric assist device on a back wheel that is also filled with a host of functions. Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time. The Copenhagen Wheel with Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard in the background.

Now I certainly didn't write that, above. They did. Of course they did. The most interesting aspect of the gadget, in my opinion, is that it can be retrofitted onto existing bikes. That's geekspeak for "take off the wheel you have now and put this new one on". It might also be an interesting idea in that it eliminates the need for many electric bikes and all the large, cumbersome batteries that are so difficult to dispose of. Simple, elegant and symbolic. I just hope you can get versions of the wheel in different colours to match your existing bike. In Copenhagen rust-coloured wheel hubs would be a big hit. Oh, except it weighs 15 kg. Nevermind.

We also have to question the wisdom of e-bikes in cities. Are we supposed to send fast moving, silent machines into mainstream bicycle cities like Copenhagen where the average speed for Citizen Cyclists is 16 km/h? We have enough problems with scooters. Do we need SILENT scooters flying past?

If you think about it, everything we need for cycling in a city has already been invented. Over a century ago.

Read more blah blah blah about The Copenhagen Wheel on MIT's website about The Copenhagen Wheel.

Mayors Mayors Mayors

Climate Summit for Mayors Poster
What a cracking poster for one of the most interesting events here in Copenhagen during the Climate Conference. The Climate Summit for Mayors. Classic Cycle Chic in play in the logo.

From what I gather from journalist friends and the media is that the Climate Summit for Mayors is a conference that seems to contain real words of action and real visions for transforming cities. In contrast to the national leaders out at Bella Center.

A whole slough of mayors are in town. NY's Bloomberg is here and he recieved an award from the cycling embassy for his efforts towards making NY more bicycle friendly.

Mayor Bloomberg and Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard.

"We're just copying Copenhagen so it's really us who should be giving the Danes an award and not the other way around", said Michael Bloomberg when recieving the award.

London's Boris is here and even the Guvernator, Arnold. No, he's not a mayor. No, I don't know why he's here either. But he's here.

Mexicans in Copenhagen2
The mayor of Mexico City [dapper chap in suit] is here, as is the Mexican environment minister [charming lady at right]. I went for a bike ride with them around the city. Biomega provided the bikes. Okay, it wasn't just me.

Mexicans in Copenhagen3
There was a huge group cycling around to see the highlights, including half of the Mexican press, as well as Gehl Architects, who are working on a Master Plan for Mexico City and who acted as hosts.

We ended up at Gehl's offices afterwards for some refreshments. Brilliant people.


Photo: Troels Heien.

Ah, life's ironies. The Danish Cyclists' Federation wanted helmets available on the ride and they ended up unused and, well, somebody had to carry them and, well, I had a cargo bike [with Bike Helmet Free Zone stickers on it]. You can bet that we all had a laugh about that irony. Which is nice that we can laugh about it, despite our differences.

Better World


by Joel Pett.

Good point.

Spotted by Hamish over at PoliticalIrony.com

16 December 2009

Cycling is Part of the Solution

Friday Night Crowd
Friday night bicycle traffic in Copenhagen.

The European Cyclists Federation [ECF], present here in Copenhagen for the conference, sent a letter to all the members of European Parliament's delegation to the Climate Conference. It is short and sweet and to the point.

Dear Member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to Copenhagen Summit,

Urban traffic is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions.

Transport is part of the problem.

Cycling is part of the solution.

A tripling of cycling (*) in Europe at the expense of individual motorized trips,
would save 49.1 million tons of CO2 or 5% of CO2 transport emissions.

[*] See The Charter of Brussels.


You can read the letter to the MEPs here, as a pdf.
Brilliant. The European Cyclists’ Federation was founded in 1983 by 12 bicycle user associations. It has now 60 member organizations in 37 countries.

In another recent newsletter email from the ECF they announced the work of the ECF's Helmet Working Group.

The ECF Helmet Working Group is building this page to help ECF member organisations stop the dangerisation of cycling through helmet promotions and the threat of mandatory cycle helmet laws. Shock-horror helmet promotions are countering the good work of ECF members to promote cycling as a healthy and safe way to travel.


They're still building their webpage, which can be found here.

In addition, the ECF has started a Scientists for Cycling network
As cycling has many different aspects it should be an issue for many different sciences. In any case scientists who cycle themselves, who believe that people should cycle and who want to contribute to the promotion of cycling and to the improvement of cycling policy and the bicycle as a vehicle should be interested in the exchange of ideas, articles, research projects, reports etc. via a network of scientists for cycling.

Police Confiscate Activists Bikes


Photo: Finn Frandsen/Politiken
The police confiscated a number of so-called 'war bikes' last night, on the eve of one of the main demonstrations during the climate conference.

They raided The Candy Factory, where the bikes were being prepared for the demonstration and... well... took them away. I blogged about The Bike Bloc a couple of weeks ago and it's a shame that the bikes were taken.

The police say that they are illegal bikes and may be used illegally at the demonstration.

The police spokesman, when pressed, couldn't answer in any detail what he thought the bikes could or would be used for.

Via Politiken [in Danish] - and this article They're Taking Our Bikes!