04 January 2010

Svajer Duo

Modern Svajere in Copenhagen
I met these two young chaps outside of Larry vs Harry's shop before christmas. They have invested in two Bullitt cargo bikes and started a fine entrepreneurial outfit. They call themselves Svajer Duo'en. The Svajer Duo.

Completely in the spirit of the old 'svajere', which is the word for the original Copenhagen bike messengers in the first half of the 20th century. 'Svajere' means 'swayers' and the name came from the swaying motion of the big front loaded cargo bikes when you are really pedalling.
Modern Svajere in Copenhagen
These modern 'svajere' chaps cycle about Copenhagen performing all manner of jobs, with a focus on washing windows.
Modern Svajere in Copenhagen
As you can read here;
"We do all forms of: Cleaning, Window Washing, Delivery, Painting, Mechanical Repairs." This is what we need more of. Energetic, bicycle-riding young men who just take to the streets with greased elbows. They remind me of the hard working delivery men in New York, cycling around with deliveries be it goods or food/groceries. No white middle-class bicycle fetishism, just bicycling working-class heroes for the new millenium.
Modern Svajere in Copenhagen
If you're in Copenhagen and need anything the Svajer Duo can help you with, the telephone numbers are on the ladder in the second photo.


tensaimon said...

hoorah for those guys! this is what the world needs more of. Best of luck to them.

Sean said...

I think you're being a little overly nostalgic about the food delivery men in New York. They may be hard working, but they aren't really considered working class heroes around here. And, if these guys are the new millennium, we're really in trouble. They're basically like really bad drivers except with (thankfully) a bicycle instead of a several ton car.

One way streets? No way! Crowded sidewalks? Just another place to ride! With traffic, against traffic? What's the difference! Stop lights, stop signs? Who needs those! Lights? You're kidding, right!

It's too bad because, in addition to the dangerous situations they create, they help give everyone on two wheels a bad name.

The token grammar nazi ;-) said...

Just too bad they can't spell. It should rightly be Svajerduoen. One word. No apostrophe.
But a fine venture indeed.

Mark said...

@Sean I disagree - when couriers do behave badly it's usually because they are paid by delivery rather than by the hour like us mere mortals. As such, this model encourages couriers to behave in a fashion that might be perceived as dangerous by more ordinary road users. This being the case I'd rather these guys are spurned on by the scent of money by bicycle rather than in a two tonne Transit van any day...

And, more kudos to the guys in CPH for setting up their own business - we need more innovators in today's world, not less.

BikeBike said...

Here in Calgary we have a fella who is delivering bread by bike - http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/Biking+Baker/2319706/story.html and i have heard that a local soup delivery company may start delivering their yummy soups by bike too this spring - hooray!

Knowing that these companies are succeeding in one of the worlds self-professed "oil cities" warms my heart and gives me hope that things are changing for the better.

kfg said...

Mark: It should be noted that the traditional bread and butter of the bike messenger is legal documents which are highly time sensitive. That's why they go by bike, because it is faster than a motor vehicle through the urban center.

So their behavior isn't JUST because they are paid by the piece.

And those who try it and STAY in the business usually do so because they like being paid that way. The downside being the lack of any sort of insurance or "safety net."

They give up security for independence, while still being able to make something of a living; one of the main reasons it attracts the "artsy" types whose value systems aren't centered on money.

What they need is a messenger's "Friendship Society," an idea they were finally coming to grips with; just as the messenger business began to lose its raison d'être because of the internet.

Bicycle DELIVERY people, on the other hand, are not MESSENGERS; they are employees of a single business and have to do what they are told when they are told to earn their hourly wage.

Which some people like; and others find intolerable.

Lisbonize.com said...

yep! Great stuff.. we will promote these type of service based on cargo bike use in Portugal with Bullitt and Winther bikes. Get you soon more input! (We don´t care about use of bicycle lane in the wrong direction - we do not have any serious bicycle lanes...) not yet.. ;-)