08 June 2010

Danish Crown Prince in DC


Photo from Berlingske.dk

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark is on an official visit in Washington DC and today he was on a bike ride with a bunch of people. He's seen above, with a politically correct helmet, but riding relaxed in best Citizen Cyclist style next to Congressman Tom Petri, from Wisconsin, with other politicians and athletes in tow.

Danish TV channel TV2 reports that a female motorist rolled down her window and shouted at the cyclists on the bike ride, saying that they were blocking traffic. Ah... world's collide. :-)

The Crown Prince (he's even got his own website!) is a cool chap by all accounts. When I first moved to Copenhagen some 16 years ago I was a party in a flat and my friends pointed at a guy saying, "That's the Crown Prince of Denmark". I didn't believe them, of course, but the 'guy' confirmed that he was in fact the Crown Prince when I went over to ask. As you can see in the photo, the Crown Prince is no stranger to bicycles. He's Danish, for heavens sake. Nor is his brother, Prince Joachim, with whom I went for a bike ride in Mexico City.

Indeed, the Crown Prince is known for cycling his kids to daycare and school on the family cargo bike. A really down to earth chap.

If only that motorist knew that before she shouted at him and the others. He's just a Citizen Cyclist.

And if you live in DC, keep your eye out for the Cultural Attaché from the Danish Embassy, Torsten Jansen. Quite possibly the most dapper cyclist in the city on his Pedersen bicycle and the architect behind the Crown Prince's visit.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pity about the helmet - does DC have mandatory helmet laws too?

If they don't then it is a shame he opted to wear one. It could have been a powerful statement.

Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

Mark said...

Good for the Crown Prince for getting out there. What this post demonstrates is that when people choose to abuse cyclists they don't think of them as being 'ordinary' but somehow 'other' which somehow makes it acceptable to scream and shout at them. Would this driver scream at a Prince, if she knew he was a Prince? Of course not. Would she scream at a stranger in the street? Of course not, it's not acceptable. But somehow, when a driver gets in a car and a cyclist gets on their bike the rules change and it's OK to scream and shout... very sad and a sign, methinks, of 'bike culture' under stress.

Adam said...

Paul Martin, D.C. only requires helmets on children under 16.

Mark, it is always a pity when drivers yell at cyclists, but I doubt the driver cared one way or the other about one of the rider's royal status.

Rich said...

The most significant contributor to the congestion/obstruction of automobile traffic is automobiles.

Perhaps the upset driver should contemplate how her fellow motorists impede the smooth flow of pedal-powered vehicles.

Anonymous said...

What if he wanted to wear a helmet to be secure. What's wrong with that? Some people do care about security than looking good.

Adam said...

Anonymous, you're right in that there is nothing wrong with wearing a helmet if it makes you feel more secure, but the photographic evidence of this fellows riding habits indicate that he does not typically wear one. I suppose one could make the argument that perhaps he feels American streets are less safe, but the more likely scenario is that he is being gracious towards his hosts, as any good royal ought to do.

Maxwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frits B said...

Maxwell - Do you really think that any car would be allowed to come near? These people have bodyguards all over the place, with armored cars close at hand.

Mikael - I'm more worried about the helmets on his children, on a photoshoot in his own back yard for God's sake. They don't look too happy either.

pedalpusher said...

On behalf of the idiotic, autocentric, road raged driver, I sincerely apologize and hope the rest of the ride was pleasant for the Crown Prince.

RE: A styrofoam Helmet didn't help the little boy from being killed by a bus in Orlanado, FL. But being that we have such bullying, autocentric drivers, it might keep the road rash off your noggin.

Maxwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frits B said...

Maxwell - Here in Holland we have 16 million people and 18 million bikes, in a densely populated country so lots of opportunities to "meet with" other people. There are also some 8 million cars. We keep bikes as an extra pair of shoes for those distances that are too far to walk and too short to drive. Nobody but racers wear helmets, and bike accidents are in the very low percentages. Most damage is to hips and elbows. Riding a bike is safe. Just have a look at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=markenlei#g/u

By all means wear a helmet if it makes you feel safer. But don't call those who don't dumb. All those Indians, Chinese and Japanese might beg to differ ... :-)

Clyde S. Dale said...

Frits B, I think I'd enjoy riding where you are -- and personally, I would wear a helmet, just because I tend to get a little silly from time to time on the bike!

I agree with you, though, "dumb" is out of order. Maxwell needs to realize that not every bike crash/accident/mishap involves head impact.

Nomes said...

When I visited DC I hired a bike and cycled all over the city. I found that there were quite a lot of good bike lanes and the cars were really considerate and always gave way to me. That said I am comparing it to riding in Australia!

Will said...

Pedalpusher - The kid ran into the side of the bus and got dragged under the tires. Nothing would have saved him.

Helmets usually only help in single person, bike/bike and ped/bike incidents.

To add something meaningful, a google search shows that DC doesn't require adults to wear helmets, but considering the political climate here, I'm assume it was to oblige his hosts.

pedalpusher said...

Will- Really? Strange that he would do that. Methinks the volume of air as the bus went by sucked the little rider into the bus as they (he was riding with a little girl) were riding. IMHO.

Drivers, all drivers need to slow down when Bicyclist pedestrians and especially kids are nearby.

Frits B said...

Anybody following the thread over on Henry Cutler's bakfiets-en-meer about Volvo's campaign to promote bike helmets?

lagatta à montréal said...

No Frits but I will. Is Volvo making helmets now? Maxwell, nobody I know in Netherlands wears a helmet, not even the healthcare professionals. I have only seen them on: athletes training, riding as fast as a car or motorcycle; small children on bicycle seats - still very much a minority of those and tourists, probably from helmety countries such as the US or Australia, though I didn't speak with them. I did see some hapless Mormon missionary types in their hopeless clothing and helmets rounding out the lack of appeal of that joyless missionary sect. Hope all pretty Dutch girls flash a bit of leg to put them in a dither - or pretty Dutch boys if the poor things are repressed gays in that homophobic outfit.

I've never worn a helmet. I have a master's degree and speak five languages. I'm well into my 50s and have cycled for a good 40 years at least. Any bicycle accidents I've had have involved arms and legs. I think a lot of the helmet stuff, other than creating a new market for plastic junk, came with the promotion of racing bicycles and then "mountain bikes" for urban, utilitarian cycling. Far more likely to fall on your noggin with those. On upright bicycles you fall on your side or your bum.

Anonymous said...

Helmet laws in North America make sense. Projectiles thrown by motorists tend to bounce off them.

She Rides a Bike said...

Interesting post. Too bad more American elected officials aren't seen biking to where they need to go. So good at lecturing the rest of us but often aren't modeling the behavior they say they support. (Heavy sigh!)

Anonymous said...

I’m weighing in belatedly on this thread, but I just saw this post. I live in DC and am delighted to see the photo of the Crown Prince riding a bike here!

Adults do not have to wear helmets here, but as in every other American city, the peer pressure is so great that they might as well be required. Apart from the hipster crowd, everybody wears helmets. Everybody. I never wear a helmet, and not only am I practically the only non-hipster out there without one, but I am routinely lectured about it by acquaintances and strangers.

DC is actually a good city for cycling. Yes, the drivers can be menacing, but I feel safer being among them on my bike than I do on foot (I was nearly flattened by a turning car in the middle of a crosswalk last week). And the DC government is trying to improve bike infrastructure. Unfortunately, their most aggressive and high-profile efforts tend to be misguided: a contraflow bike lane on 15th Street that stands empty most of the time, and now these gimmicky Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, which are great for (and, I think, designed for) photo ops, but put bikes and pedestrians in the same space at every intersection. I hope my government keeps trying – one day they’ll get it right.

Anonymous said...

Great Prince... Salute for you

Maxwell said...

Frits, Clyde, Lagatta. Sorry about my comments. I deleted them, because in hindsight I realize they were rude. I understand what you are saying now. Please accept my apology.