23 July 2010

More Bicycle Friendly Motorways

Motorway and Bike Lane
I was on a photo shoot for the Danish Cancer Society a couple of weeks ago. Cycling along the old defences of Copenhagen, taking pictures of recreational bicycle infrastructure. The Cancer Society is focusing a lot on cycling and exercise as preventative measures against cancer in this sedentary world.

The route took me over a motorway section that I'd only ever driven over in a car. Sjællands Bridge, which is the main motorway if you're heading to Sweden from Denmark. Needless to say there is a wide cycle track over the bridge. There are fewer commuters on this route during the week, compared to parallel cycle tracks along other motorways leading into the city, but the weather was nice - 35 degrees - and there were many people going for bike rides.

Soft Incline to Overpass
On either side of the bridge the bike route runs parallel but more separated by trees - it's a motorway for god's sake, who wants to ride next to it? - but above is a lovely detail. There is an overpass leading bicycles and pedestrians over the motorway. It is wonderfully designed. A long, sweeping arc that makes it an easy climb for all the different kinds of people on bicycles who use it, including children.

Brilliant, people-friendly design detail. They could have just cut it short and made it a sharper, steeper turn up to the overpass. But they didn't.

22 July 2010

Copenhagen Ferrari

Ferrari for the 21st Century
Yes, yes, yes. We all know I like my cargo bike. And that I'm happy to blog about it. Especially now that I have a new red Bullitt. I couldn't resist this shot the other day. I rode past a Ferrari and thought I'd take a photo of the 21st Century version. Urban Manpower for Liveable Cities vs Horsepower for the sake of Horsepower. I love Larry vs Harry's new foldable racing seat on which the kids sit, and the new custom side panels.

Bye Bye Bullitt
I sold my white Bullitt to Mads, who runs Ekeko.dk - a sustainable development company that imports clothes from Bolivia. So the bicycle went to a great home.

Bye Bye Bullitt Antrho
There is goes. Just a metal construction with some rubber bits, but one that has served me well. And the latest text message from Mads reveals that he loves the bike.

No Trucks
A 'No Trucks' sign with an alternative in front makes much more sense.

It really is quite cool riding around the city on this bicycle. In the course of a day I'll end up talking to 5 or 10 people about it. From teenagers to elderly ladies. At stoplights or outside shops. I've never had a bicycle that generates so much conversation.

21 July 2010

Beach Sleep Bicycles

Beach Parking 2
After a lovely day at the beach in the 30 degree weather, it was time to head home. The Mother of My Children had all the gear in her two-wheeler Christiania Bike and I had the kids on the Bullitt.

Beach Transport
It was a long, lovely day and both of the kids faded quickly once onto the bike, lulled to sleep by the gorgeous movements of the bicycle.

Usually Felix stays awake and can hold Lulu up with his arm around her, but this time he snoozed. Lulu ended up in a rather funny - and uncomfortable - position. We stopped and I rearranged them.

Beach Transport Rearranged
I used the inflatable kickboard as a pillow and Lulu was happy to lean up against it. Felix could then use a pile of towels as a pillow.

Beach Transport Lulu
Lulu couldn't get back to sleep (good thing, otherwise she'll be up all evening... :-) ) and this shot is one that warms my heart. Cycling home through Copenhagen in the evening light, staring down at my girl - her staring up at me. The beauty of the togetherness that the bicycle gives us all.

19 July 2010

Flea Market by Bicycle

Flea Market Bullitt
Once a year my boy Felix has a stand at a kid's flea market and our cargo bike is an integral part of the transport and display. A couple of weeks ago we had a stand at a regular flea market, in order to free our lives and minds of 'old and useless stuff'.

The Mother of My Children has a two-wheeled Christiania cargo bike and, together with my Bullitt, we transported everything we needed, including a table and two children, by cargo bike. It took one extra trip where I zipped home to fetch a load but it was great to do it all on two wheels.
Flea Market By bike
Here's our modest little stand. We actually got rid of most of the stuff, so the trip home was a breeze.

18 July 2010

Entertaining The Motorists

Whole Lot of Motion2
It was quite a nice sight. This chap, with his back to us, is a juggler. He was waiting at this busy intersection with his pins in the afternoon rush hour. Hundreds and hundreds of cyclists were on their way past, but he didn't bother with them.
Whole Lot of Motion
Every time the light turned red he walked out into the zebra crossing and started juggling for the motorists waiting at the light.

He probably figured it was rather boring to be sitting in a car so a little entertainment - and a few coins earned - was a nice idea. He didn't make a lot of effort to earn money - he was incredibly relaxed about it. Just content to juggle.

He didn't perform for the cyclists and all the two-wheeled Copenhageners were rather unimpressed with his juggling, if they noticed him at all.

Nevertheless, a lovely little slice of streetlife.

17 July 2010

Disruptive Jan Gehl

If one didn't know better, one might think this was satire. A letter to the editor from Tasmania, Australia as posted on Healthy Transport Hobart.

Jan Gehl, respected urban planner and architect, apparently "swans around the world disrupting the fabric of unique socities with a cookie-cutter approach and wants to make them all look like Copenhagen and Amsterdam".

Now I appreciate good satire and even, rumour has it, enjoy producing it. So often, however, the best satire can be mined from real situations.

A new building is pictured and the title suggests that it is the latest example of a pile of poo to which flocks of "sweaty, lycra-clad cyclists" will swarm.

I'm quite used to getting dissed round about the internet but dissing Jan Gehl is downright silly.

Healthy Transport Hobart has a good post about it on their blog.

Thanks to Liam Healthy Transport Hobart for the link. Liam and a colleague from Hobart will be at my talk at the State of Design Festival in Melbourne next week. Looking forward!

15 July 2010

North American Eyes on Copenhagen

Not much to say about this. Brilliant work from Clarence at StreetFilms.org.

Let his film inspire.

North American traffic planners and bicycle advocates talk about their impressions of the world's cycling capital: Copenhagen.

Finding Parking at the Beach

Beach Parking
This is universal. Who hasn't spent time crawling along, looking for parking at the beach on hot summer days? Temperatures hovering at 35 degrees and all you want is to hit the water, but first... where to park?

Here's a post from last summer about the amazing amount of bicycles at one of the main beaches in Copenhagen. And an earlier post about bicycle parking at the beach.

North Korean Anti-Bicycle Campaign

Copenhagenize has recieved a leaked public service film from behind the fortified borders of North Korea that provides insight into the classic manipulative nature of a well-oiled propaganda machine.

Above is a classic Communist propaganda film from North Korea showing the typical use of children in emotional propaganda praising the State and The Great Leader, yada yada. Using children is a classic - and quite regrettable - tactic in such countries. The Soviets were also well versed in using children to promote their ideology, as were most Communist states.

Here is the leaked video that Copenhagenize recieved. It hails from the northern province of Northern Yoo Lan, far from the capital. An agricultural area with an adbundance of tractors and a tradition for using vehicles more than in the populated cities.

Their dialect is difficult to interpret but we've learned that the propaganda film is the intiative of the People's Committee for Glorious Promotion of Farm Vehicles and Safety, started by the Communal Fathers Committee of the capital of Northern Yoo Lan, Aal Bor.

The Communal Fathers view the bicycle as a threat to the glorious progress of their vehicle culture and are trying to restrict the usage of the machine through this constructed fear campaign. Encouraging people to instead stimulate the struggling economy by using vehicles to get around. To get to their communal workplaces or even to transport themselves to their People's Center for Glorious Secular Societal Togetherness - Yoosk Seng Atoys Laya, as it is called in their dialect.

Using children to promote ideology is something that we here in the West find somewhat disgusting. Children as weapons in a self-serving emotional propaganda campaign should not be tolerated and Copenhagenize hopes that an offical letter of complaint is sent to the Communal Fathers Committee. As per usual with such propaganda, there is very little science involved. That would just clutter up the Glorious Message with common sense and rationality. Two societal qualities not tolerated in such societies.

Here is a previous propaganda film from the Communal Fathers of Aal Bor, in Norther Yoo Lan. Like most of their campaigns, they have the blessing of the National Bureau for Traffic Manipulation and Fearspeak - Fa Ken Wang Kaas and the People's Committee for Elderly Persons in Wooly Socks and Sandals, Soo Kal Yelm.

Despite the secretive nature of North Korea, the Communal Fathers have, through third party contacts, negotiated a rare trade agreement with a Western company in the interest of further developing their Glorious Farm Vehicle & Safety Five Year Plan. According to observers, the People's Commune of Aal Bor will send all the now unused bicycles to Great Britian. In exchange for a massive shipment of these Safety Devices to be placed on the heads of the children of Aal Bor at all times. Adorned with the appropriate slogans and graphics that accompany such projects.

A shocking and frightening peek into the inner workings of North Korean society. Thank Odin I live in a region with strong Social-Democratic traditions and a cultural history involving rational thought.

12 July 2010

Walk the Walk

Walk your bicycle on the platform
I've seen this sticker up at train stations. It reads, quite simply and to the point, "Walk your bicycle on the platform"

They could have added a 'please' or a 'would you mind terribly...' but the graphic design helps soften the tone. A bit of Cycle Chic feel to it, but she must be holding that male city bike for her boyfriend who had to pop into the bathroom before the train came.

In three and half years of documenting this bicycle culture lark I've only ever seen one person riding on a train platform so I really can't imagine that it's a problem. The one I saw is right here:
Copenhagen Train Station Bike Riding *
And that makes the act of platform riding look lovely.

10 July 2010

Lyngby Cycle Track Design

Lyngby Bicycle Lanes
I visited the town of Lyngby, just north of Copenhagen, a couple of weeks back. It's actually called The King's Lyngby - Kongens Lyngby - but this ain't no history blog, now is it. The main street through the town centre is a lively, people-friendly stretch with loads of small shops. The city has laid out rough cobblestones on the street as a kind of traffic calming measure, mixed with old school aesthetics.

The cycle track is also unique in it's design, small paving stones to create a smoother surface. At this intersection, the stop line for cars is a good stretch back whilst cyclists can continue up to the pedestrian crossing, from where I took this photo.

We're seeing a marked increase of stop lines for cars pulled back from the intersection, not least in Copenhagen, as reported a while back.

Lyngby Bicycle Lane
The pictograms are also quite unique on the cycle tracks, which adds to the general 'look and feel' of the urban design. I ain't no stone mason but the wheels tell us that cutting circles isn't the easiest task.

09 July 2010

Moving House by Bicycle in Barcelona

When I was at the 3rd Bicycle Congress in Lleida, Catalonia a couple of months back, my friend Jordi told me about how he moved flats in Barcelona using bicycles - and a group of friends. He's now sent me the film about the experience and it's quite cool.

They went back and forth across half of Barcelona and were quite knackered but they had a great day. Super inspiration for using pedal-power in urban centres.

Bicicletas de carga

Direction: Luisa Ojeda
Editor: Cristina Carrasco
Producers: Jordi Manuel Galí / Maria Luisa Ojeda / Luisa Ojeda

Take a Load Off

Lean on Your City
This photo was taken by Clarence, from Streetfilms.org, whilst he was in town for the Velo-City conference.

I ride past this cyclist railing/footrest almost every day and there is always a Copenhagener or two holding onto the railing or resting with their foot on the footrest. Riding around on bicycle tours of the city, this is stop on the route where I also talk about the intersection and infrastructural improvements for cyclists. It never fails that a Copenhagener rolls up and uses the railing/footrest while I'm standing there with guests.

We try not to cheer and clap when it happens. :-)

07 July 2010

Bicycle Support

Bicycle Cane
I see this lovely, elderly lady quite often in my neighbourhood. She is always walking her bicycle. More often than not with bags in the two baskets. She walks slowly and steadily along.

I've never seen her ride it - she just might - but I thought that she was perhaps like many proud elderly people in Copenhagen. When their agility fades they walk their bicycles on their daily rounds, using it as support. A kind of crutch or two-wheeled walker.

Nothing wrong with walkers, of course. Design and technology have offered up all manner of funky walking aids, but I like that the bicycle keeps on giving, even when you no longer can ride it.

06 July 2010

Health Warning on Cars! The Ball is Rolling!

Finally. Almost a year after the Copenhagenize Think Tank developed the rational idea that automobiles should be forced to display health warning stickers identical to those on cigarettes packs, a car was spotted in Copenhagen sending the right message.

Right there, in bold letters, an indisputable truth about the nature of the machine in urban settings.

Okay, okay. It's actually the company name for a tattoo parlour here in Copenhagen - Toxic Ink. But don't tell anyone that. By the way the chap from the parlour is charming and enjoys posing for photographs.

Health warnings for cars are available as small stickers in the Copenhagenize/Cycle Chic shop. Slap one on your neighbour's car. Giggle.

The Hardest Working Man in Bicycle Show Business

Bike Parade - Clarence
Clarence from Streetfilms.org. Never a moment without a camera. Constantly on the move looking for something to shoot. Always jovial and quick to laugh. Tireless in his pursuit of material.
Bike Parade - Clarence2
Ladies and Gentlemen...
Clarence Eckerson Jr
The Hardest Working Man in Bicycle Show Business.
Bike Parade - Graveyard Clarence

05 July 2010

Americans in Copenhagen

For Copenhagenize the Velo-City conference in Copenhagen was a whirlwhind of meeting wonderful people/colleagues from all over the planet. 'Networking' is far too dull a word for it and doesn't do it justice. The League of American Bicyclists collaborated with Copenhagenize Consulting on a series of bicycle tours before and during the conference. Bike rides around the city to see the infrastructure highlights in the Danish capital.

We, in turn, enlisted the help of Biomega and Baisikeli to provide the bikes. One of the tours was with New York's Dept of Tranport Commissioner Janette Sadikh-Khan and her crew. I was impressed to hear that the New Yorkers all took time out of their annual holiday leave to come to Copenhagen for the conference. What commitment.

VIP Bike Tour
Another tour with the League and Copenhagenize was a ride to show John Burke, the president of American bike company Trek, around the city, along with some other Americans. Andrew, City Councillor from Dublin and Ciaran, Dublin's Cycling Officer came along as well, as an extension of our conversations in Dublin the week before.

As it was explained to me, John Burke is one of the most important bicycle advocates in the States. He's also a lovely, down to earth guy.
Bo and Chaka Khan
After their keynote speeches, the mayor in charge of the Technical & Environmental Adminstration, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, posed for a photo op with Janette Sadikh-Khan outside the Velo-City venue.

The Danes, when speaking amongst themselves, affectionately referred to her as Chaka Khan. I suppose the name was tricky to remember, but she also rocked the stage in her keynote speech. If it was Sadikhansen, perhaps it would be eaiser to remember. Here they are on the mayor's offical bicycle, complete with his name, from Biomega and Chaka Khan on my shiny, new and very red Bullitt cargo bike.

AmerCanadian Delegation League Ride
On the morning before the conference started, The League and I took a large group of American delegates on a two-hour tour of the city. We met up on the City Hall Square bright and early.
Espresso man Ole served up coffee from his coffee bike for the jetlagged before departure. I was fearing a logistical nightmare of riding through the city in the rush-hour with 40 guests in tow but to my amazement it went smoothly and we arrived at the conference on time.
Niels Hoé Mr Parking
I enlisted the help of Niels, from the city's Bicycle Office, to help out with answering questions and highlighting the Bicycle Office's work.
American Ambassador to Denmark
We all stopped at the American Embassy to meet the American Ambassador, Laurie S. Fulton, who came out to greet her countrymen and women and to wish them luck with their advocacy work.

What a brilliant

03 July 2010

Flea Market Cargo Bikes

Flea Market Felixs Shop
Time for the annual kids flea market in our neighbourhood. Once again, cargo bikes feature prominently in transporting Felix's Stuff To Sell to the square, as well as in using the bikes as part of the stand. Felix ran the show, with some help from us, and decided how the stand should look. He loves it and makes some good money selling his toys.

Here are some shots from the 2009 flea market and here are some from 2008.
Flea Market Bullit
Getting there is half the fun.
Flea Market Bullitt and Christiania Bike
It helps that the Mother of My Children has her own two-wheeler cargo bike - from Christiania Bikes - to assist with the logistics.
Flea Market Bullitt Loaded
On the road heading to the square.
Flea Market Bike Rack
There were, as always, many cargo bikes present. As racks for displaying the goods for sale.
Flea Market Arrival
But also transporting to and fro.

02 July 2010

Copenhagenize Goes to Melbourne

Great Keppel Island 1989
Me in Australia, 1989. Arriving on Great Keppel Island. Which is no where near Melbourne, but hey... I could have added this Byron Bay photo instead... but the sailboat has a more of a 'travel/arrival' feel

The date is fast approaching when I embark on an epic journey to the other side of the planet. I've been invited to speak at the State of Design Festival in Melbourne and I'm well pleased about receiving the invite.

I lived and worked in Melbourne back in 1990, and again for a shorter period in 1993, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the city looks like after all these years. When I spoke in Brno, Czech Republic, a couple of months back, Lars Gemzøe from Gehl Architects was my partner in lecture crime and he spoke about his firm's work in the city. It's going to be great to see the transformation. I lived in St. Kilda back in the day and quite often rode a bicycle into the city centre and around the neighbourhood. I remember the downtown as being a wasteland after 17:00. By all accounts it's a more lively, liveable place to be these days.

But what a trip. Fly to Brussels, wait three hours. Seven hours to Abu Dhabi, wait two hours. Then 14 hours to Melbourne. Fortunately the presentation is on the tail end - Saturday 24 July, 2010 - so here's hoping the jet lag has faded a bit before I present Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling.

Due to summer holiday family logistics I'll be bringing the Boy Wonder, Felix, with me on the trip. It's going to be great to show him the other side of the planet. On the way home the boys will stop for a beach holiday in Abu Dhabi. Matt from US planning & design firm - Alta Planning - is working in the emirate so we'll hook up for a chat. Sheesh... you just can't seem to get away from bicycle people... :-) That's a good sign, of course. A very good sign.

We'll miss the opening of Ferrari World amusment park by a few months. I think we'll survive. Although the roller coaster would have been cool...

Dublin Rolls From Past to Future

Dublin Cycle Chic - Skirting
I was in Dublin two weeks ago, for the Cycle Chic fashion show, sponsored by the Embassy of Denmark and Dublin City Council.

I can say that I was stunned by the numbers of Citizen Cyclists on the streets and bike lanes of the city. Absolutely stunned. It was brilliant to see. Not just commuters, but citizens using the bike for short trips. Bikes parked outside flats. Bike racks filled near shops.

Dublin was once considered the third great cycling city of Europe, after Amsterdam and Copenhagen...
Dublin Cycle Chic
... so perhaps the journey back to the bicycle is not that strenuous. Who knows. What is certain is that there are positive forces at work in the city.

The two main reasons for the wonderful levels of cycling are both the work of City Councillor Andrew Montague. He brought the city's bike share system - Dublinbikes - to the streets and he implemented 30 km/h zones in various areas. Both good measures to get bicycle culture going again. City Cycling Officer Ciarán Fallon works hard for the same goals.

Dublin Cycle Chic - Dublinbikes Dublin Cycle Chic - Suitable
Here's the Dublinbikes in action. They've been a massive success. The expected number of subscribers was set at a modest 1500. There are now over 30,000!

Dublin Airport Bike Lane
There was a positive sign only metres after getting off the plane at Dublin Airport. I snapped this out of the window as I headed for arrivals. A bicycle lane. At the airport. I'm assuming that it is primarily for use by airport employees to get around - feel free to fill us in, Dubliners. Nevertheless, it is great symbolism.
Dublin Cycle Chic - Bike Lane
Heading into town, more bicycle lanes appeared. I was travelling with Sussi, from Biomega, and I was staring at the painted lane for a while before I realised that it was bicycle infrastructure. "Hey... is that a bike lane?!", I was heard to remark.

The mere fact that Dublin City Council and the national government backed a Cycle Chic event shows that they all are thinking out of the box and eager to embrace Bicycle Advocacy 2.0 in order to mainstream urban cycling. All the players feature in this film about the Cycle Chic event.

Dublin Cycle Chic - Infrastructure
The infrastructure was primarily painted lanes, but that is a brilliant start and clearly the citizens of Dublin felt safe enough to use them.
Dublin Cycle Chic - Yellow
There was a general level of traffic calm throughout the city centre.

Dublin Cycle Chic - Style
Where there was infrastructure, it was used. Where there wasn't, the cyclists - being regular people on bicycles - were cool about it and riding sensibly.
Dublin Cycle Chic - Afternoon Traffic
Like I often say in my presentations, when you get higher levels of non-sub cultural cyclists, they behave much like pedestrians. I hardly saw anyone blowing agressively through red lights, and certainly not cyclists like these ones.

Dublin Cycle Chic - Pensive

I've been asked a few times in interviews about what the Next Big Thing is. The next city that will muscle it's way from single digit modal share to, say, 15%. I have been working on the Copenhagenize list in my head for a couple of months. At the moment, Dublin ranks high on the list.

Well done, them. Brilliant stuff.