30 September 2010

Paul Goodman Changed My Life Contest

Bike PSA v7 from Israel Ehrisman on Vimeo.

Just got word of a cool contest called Paul Goodman Changed My Life.

"To honor 20th century philosopher and social theorist Paul Goodman’s
legacy, JSL Films, producer of the documentary Paul Goodman Changed My
Life, is holding a contest to help encourage transportation alternatives.

Paul Goodman, a writer, a radical, and a renaissance man, was the co-author
of “Banning Cars from Manhattan,” a 1961 proposal to improve New York’s
streets by eliminating private auto traffic. Nearly half a century later,
his ideas are now heralded as being before their time, with limiting
traffic in city centers becoming more and more common.

Paul Goodman Changed My Life is honoring Goodman’s legacy by inviting
people to propose change in their own communities. Anyone who submits five
proposals to their local government (mayor, city council, etc.) can enter a
drawing to win a new bicycle. One winner in the United States will win a
bike courtesy of Breezer Bikes, and one winner in Europe will win a bike
courtesy of Biomega."

Paul Goodman Changed My Life.

Danish Police Back Death Penalty for Cyclists

How Not to Promote Cycling
Okay... it's an attention-grabbing headline, sure. But it's not even my own invention. The Danish Police are going after cyclists and scooters this week across the kingdom. They do so a couple of times a year.

The police are probably very good at a lot of things but let's face it... marketing isn't one of them. It's safe to say that they get all their marketing tips from the equally hopeless Danish Road Safety Council, and then they promptly make it even worse.

John Sckaletz is the head of the traffic police in Copenhagen and he has actually said this week that, "The traffic law is the only law where the death penalty still applies". He said that. That's the police's "cleverly worded campaign" at the moment. Well done! Well thought out! How very positive!

The police want to "put an end to" cyclists who roll casually through a red light or across a pedestrian crossing. They are clearly of the opinion that such infractions should be regarded on equal terms with the crimes committed by hardened criminals. So for four days this week they are firmly putting their shiny boots down and making the world a better place.

No, of course they're not going after motorists for speeding, reckless driving or polluting. That borders on logical and would certainly not fit into a police campaign.

It's autumn and usually around this time there are police campaigns for remembering your bicycle lights. Not this year. John Sckaletz said that the popularity of magnetic lights like Reelights on Danish bicycles means that it isn't necessary to focus on lights this year. Thus the Culture of Fear campaign about the Death Penalty.

Nevermind that it has never - ever - been safer to ride a bicycle in Denmark. Or that Denmark is second only to the Netherlands regarding traffic safety for cyclists.

Nevermind the fact that the 'shocking' behaviour of Citizen Cyclists is largely unchanged since the invention of the bicycle, around 125 years ago - as highlighted in this satirical text from the 1930's we blogged earlier.

No, no. Let's continue the war on bicycles that is raging in Denmark. The negative branding of urban cycling is reaching new heights and bicycle traffic has stagnated and even fallen across the nation.

Here's a fine example of scare tactics in a previous autumn bike lights campaign from Denmark:
Use Your Head

Compare it to how they broadcast the same message in the Netherlands:
Remember to Turn on Your Lights... but remember to turn them off. (I'm s-o-o-o looking forward to going to the Netherlands to work next month...)

The Danish police have done little to encourage cycling in Denmark and they are traditionally negative about most ideas that would increase bicycle traffic and encourage people to leave their car parked at home. The one exception is their recent flexbility about allowing for right turns on red for cyclists.

The job description of the police is quite clear. They uphold the laws that are passed. It seems, however, that the police are content to stare at the lawbooks and mechanically chant that 'laws must not be broken and fines will be given for those who do' instead of looking up and around them. At the society in which they live and work. At human nature. And help contribute positively to the growth of bicycle traffic, the taming of the bull in the china shop and the noble journey to creating more liveable cities.

Fines haven't changed human behaviour in 125 years. Nor has finger-wagging. It's time the police in Denmark hired a decent marketing consultant and started thinking more positively about all the good things that bicycle traffic contributes to our society.

As it is now, they're going after amateur pickpockets in a crowd of agressive, heavily-armed thugs.

Via: Avisen.dk and other media

29 September 2010

No Ridiculous Car Journeys in Malmö, Sweden

The City of Malmö is located in the south of Sweden, just across the bridge from Copenhagen. It's Sweden's third-largest city.

The City's bicycle office and transport department are also quite brilliant at promoting cycling. In fact, I asked one of the communications people at the City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office a while back who they were positively influenced by and he replied, "Malmö" without hestitation. Followed by the Dutch Fietsersbond. Which speaks volumes.

They have had a successful campaign running for four years now called "No Ridiculous Car Trips". They discovered a few years back that 50% of all trips under 5 km were by car in the city and they decided to do something about it.

The campaign has been a massive success. In the film, above, you can hear all about how and why the campaign started. I like how they turn the tables in their marketing. Directing confronting that very simple fact that using cars for short trips in their city was - ridiculous.

They invited people to write down a description of their short car trip in the hopes of winning the Most Ridiculous Car Trip title - and a new bicycle of course.
The film is also a fine infomercial about the city and their visions of the future, including their goals for increasing bicycle traffic. In 1995, the modal share for bicycles was 20%. Today it is 30%. They increased their bicycle traffic by 1-2% each year. Brilliant. The reason for the increase is not just campaigns but also a sensible investment in separated bicycle infrastructure. The city now has around 420 km of bicycle infrastructure.

Textbook examples of how to promote cycling positively. Poster children for liveable cities. Wonderful.

Previous posts about bicycle culture in Malmö on Copenhagenize.com

And a visit to our friends at Malmö/Lund Cycle Chic never hurts either.

28 September 2010

Helsinki Pause: Slowing Down the City

Slow cities are something that we like here at Copenhagenize. While in Helsinki last weekend, speaking at the Megapolis2025 Festival, there were many events on the day. Including a little spot of slow on the square outside the venue. A girl arranged for a slowing down of the square, together with a group. They all started on the periphery and walked imperceptably across the square. I filmed some of it and the result is viewable above.

It was brilliant to watch. Most passersby hardly noticed them for most of their slow crossing. Only when there were several around the middle of the square did people glance at them and wonder what they were doing.

I love simple artistic activism.


London Race
I picked up the new novel by Ben Elton - Meltdown - at the airport last week. Nothing to do with cycling, but there is a great passage that describes the culture of fear and lack of rationality inherent in modern society, not least in London.

"Monica [...] considered the genuine nightmare that awaited every driver who ventured on to the streets of London between the hours of seven and nine-thirty in the moring, as the usual heavy traffic of one of the world's busiest cities was supplemented by an extra half-million or so cars (often HUGE cars) each containing one one mum or nanny and one small child.

Now that both Jimmy and Monica appreciated the full horror of the school run, Jimmy couldn't help wondering why they didn't walk it. It was only a mile and a half and it would probably be quicker on foot. He had in fact suggested this idea to Monica but she had refused to even consider it.

'The streets just aren't safe', she insisted. 'What if Toby rain out into the road? He could be knocked down.'

'By a parent driving a child in a four-by-four?' Jimmy asked.

'Yes actually,' Monica replied angrily. 'Some of those mums drive like they're invading bloody Poland. It's incredible. I saw a cyclist go down last week. Horrible.'

'So we protect Toby from being knocked over by a frazzled, furious parent in a Range Rover by BEING that frazzled parent in a Range Rover?'

'Look, I don't care,' Monica said, the light of battle in her eyes. 'All I know is that if Toby's inside the Discovery, he is totally safe and if he's outside it he isn't. You can't argue with that equation, Jimmy! I'm sorry, but end of story. We may be poor but we're not going to let poverty kill our kids. He goes to school in a car. You don't compromise on safety. Ever.'

Monica, like every other parent in the same situation, presented this point of view with an almost evangelical zeal, her eyes ablaze with moral certitude, as if merely by conjuring up the word 'safety' she had trumped any and all other arguements.

'Monica!' Jimmy protested. 'That's the argument the police use when they close an entire motorway because somebody's having a piss on the hard shoulder. You have to quantify the risk!'

But Monica was not prepared to quantify the risk and so Jimmy joined the school run along with every other parent and nanny in London.

They screamed at taxi drivers. Taxi drivers and bus drivers screamed back. Tatooed and dreadlocked anarcho-cyclists banged bonnets. Leather-clad motorcycle dispatch riders chased leaping pedestrians through tiny gaps in the acreage of steaming, fuming metal. The very air throbbed with frustration and fury as Londoners young and old began their working day in the worst possible mood to do good business."

27 September 2010

Helsinki Bike Counter

Helsinki Bike Counter Day
I just had a brilliant trip to Helsinki to give a keynote speech at the Megapolis festival, put on by the Dodo NGO. What a brilliant city and wonderful to see how much will there is in the city to improve conditions for the cycling citizens.
Helsinki Bike Counter Night
Until I wrap my head around the whirlwind trip and all the impressions, here's a couple of shots of a bike counter in the city. By day and by night on the same day.

I met with the city's bicyle planners and urban planners and the bicyce planners, Marek and Niko, told me of bicycle counts in the 1930's that showed 10,000 cyclists a day on some busy streets. Looking forward to seeing those vintage documents.

Bicycle Culture 2.0, indeed, for Helsinki... and everywhere else.

24 September 2010

Selling Bicycles With Johnny Loco

Johnny Loco 04
Dutch brand Johnny Loco seem to understand that tech-geek advertising for their products won't attract a mainstream clientele - the clientele that is the most lucrative, by the way. Their cheeky, picante and not a little bizarre marketing in these photos show that they understand how to create awareness around their brand and the are clearly aiming for Citizen Cyclists with their angle.
Johnny Loco 01 Johnny Loco 02

Johnny Loco 03

Johnny Loco 05

23 September 2010

Little Known Copenhagen

I met two lovely people from L.A. a few months back. They have a website called Little Known Travel and they make great little, personal films about the places they visit. This is the one they made about cycling in Copenhagen.

22 September 2010

The Vanity Myth - Go figure

Cartoon by Roald Als in the Danish newspaper Politiken. It reads: "You're free to play..."

I just don't get this Vanity Myth.

No matter how hard real bicycle advocates work at getting people onto bicycles there is always a little group of people - let's call them The Fear Minority - who claim that the primary reason for people not to wear bike helmets is... vanity.

That's it. Period. People who ride bicycles without a plastic hat are vain. They do so merely because of their hairdo or image. They are egocentric and arrogant and, as this little group of fear merchants will have you believe, they are shitting on the rest of society by acting so selfishly.

Seriously... is that all they got? Is that the best they can dream up?

The Vanity Myth is the singlemost telling clue that The Fear Minority are quite desperate. They are acutely aware that they don't have any conclusive scientific evidence to show, so they start a personal attack and attempt to wage a guilt-trip campaign against the rest of us. Declaring advocacy bankruptcy in the process.

All around the world we're in a race against time to get people onto bicycles. For the public health, for the common good, for rebuilding liveable cities. If wearing a helmet keeps someone on a bicycle, that's great. If not wearing a helmet keeps someone on a bicycle, that's great, too.

Unfortunately the latter group is subject to not only bullying on the streets from drafted 'disciples' but also from this Fear Minority themselves who, unfortunately, often have access to funding for campaigns. Not to promote cycling but to perpetuate the car-centric myth that cycling is somehow dangerous and that a plastic hat designed to protect the head against non-life threatening injuries in solo accidents under 20 km/h will magically protect you from certain death.

I've noticed that more often than not it is one individual who starts the neo-religious, ideological chanting. Spreading fear on a personal emotional crusade. For example, British Columbia's helmet law was started by one worried mother. The helmet law in Victoria, Australia was the work of one man. All around the world a few individuals are exhibiting enormous power and, in the process, reversing over a century of bicycle culture.

Even here in Denmark. A couple of people, here and there, fueled by personal emotions, are working hard at deconstructing the fact that cycling is safe, healthy and good for society. Like everywhere else, they sell their fear cheap to a couple of others and a bonfire is lit, on which the effigy of vanity is burned. A handful of journalists here. A couple of politicians there. You probably know your local versions.

It's never a good thing when facts and The Big Picture are overlooked in favour of the frail emotions of a handful of individuals. The Vanity Myth is an excellent, if not frightening, example.

I don't doubt that these people sincerely 'believe' they are doing a good thing but it doesn't take long before their belief is cemented and they are no longer capable of rational judgement. Especially if they succeed in recruiting followers. Then they are content to immerse themselves in the group and experience a declining need to explore and learn.

Imagine if our ancestors subscribed to this. Imagine a tribe - several families - of hunter-gatherers at their camp. The men are preparing for a hunt and sharpening spears and flint axes. The smaller children are helping, learning this vital skill. Nearby the women are sewing hides together into clothes for the coming winter.

Then imagine some schmuck walking around the camp tsk-tsking and shaking his or her head. "You could put your eye out on those sharp sticks..." Or "Sheesh, those needles could go right through your fingers and you could get an infection and DIE!"

Fortunately, Homo sapiens didn't listen to this minority. We wouldn't have evolved very far if we had.

The primary wish of The Fear Minority is, in my opinion, that everyone else become just like them. That we all happily subscribe to their worrying and adopt stern, disapproving looks and furrowed brows. That we share their unfounded fears. They seek a flock to which they can belong and, unfortunately, fear clubs attract members in our modern society. Intuitive messages, no matter how ridiculous, sell.

Frank Furedi's excellent book The Culture of Fear is an instruction manual for understanding how these people think and is an important tome for reversing western societies slide towards fear. Here on Copenhagenize, sociologist Dave Horton discussed Constructing a Fear of Cycling.

Not surprisingly, The Fear Minority's personal fears are often way off target. ABC has this article called Do We Worry About The Right Things? Why we fear what we fear.

This is the closing line of the article, perfectly summing it up:
"Less knowledge, more anxiety," says Grafman. "More knowledge, less anxiety."

The New York Times had an article last Friday called Keeping Kids Safe From the Wrong Dangers. It's about how parents are incredibly bad at assessing risk.

The five things they worry about the most? "Kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers and drugs."

The five things most likely to cause injury to children up to age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are: "car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide or drowning."

Do the fear minority cast their angst over motoring helmets or traffic calming? Mandatory all-age lifevest laws? Nah. That just may be logical.

Perhaps these people could band together and move to some remote camp together, somewhere in the mountains. (Nah... danger of falling rocks...) Or maybe the Amazon. (Nah, sure death by piranha fish...) Okay... some massive building with padded walls, sanitized for all bacteria. Then could live happily every after... and slowly 'safe' themselves into oblivion.

The Fear Minority invades your home, too. PUT YOUR MONEY ON THE TABLE... And here's a bet from Copenhagenize. There will never be a city that promotes (or legislates) bicycle helmets that will ever reach double digit modal share for bicycles.

Any takers?

21 September 2010

Be a Pratt - Plan for Bikes

Interesting little film. Really cool.

Nocturnal Bicycle Counter

Nightlife Cycling
It's not every day I roll past one of the bicycle counters in Copenhagen at 03:02 in the morning, but I did last weekend on my way home on a Saturday night last weekend (shockingly early by Copenhagen standards).

This counter is not on a route that is busy during the nightlife mouvement; most people are bar-hopping in the neighbourhoods, but 401 people on bicycles plus me - double that number for both sides of the street - in the first three hours of the day isn't bad, I suppose.

There are 25,000 cyclists on this route, in both directions, each day.

20 September 2010

Copenhagenize in Helsinki

1000 bikes
1000 Bikes - by Teppo on Flickr. Click here or on the photo to read what these bikes are all about.

I'll speaking in Helsinki this Saturday [25 September 2010] at the Megapolis 2025 Festival. The festival's theme this year is Rhythms of the City. How appropriate to have the bicycle involved.

Megapolis is an urban festival organized by the environmental NGO Dodo. Previous speakers have included former mayor of Bogotá Mr Enrique Peñalosa, author and journalist Carl Honoré, President of Finland Mrs Tarja Halonen and social media entrepreneur Mohamed El-Fatatry.

And now some bicycle schmuck from Copenhagen.

Looking forward to visiting Helsinki. It's been 20 years since my last visit. So "that girl" back then has hopefully forgotten all about "that issue". Water under the bridge and all that. :-)

Apart from the talk there will be a bike event, meetings with city officials and journalists and a few visits to saunas, hopefully. The hotel has several! Cool!

Here's a film about Rhythms of the City

18 September 2010

Loop City

A little departure from bike-related stuff. This film by Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels from BIG Group featured at the Venice Biennale this year. It's a fascinating catalogue of visionary ideas about urban planning and architecture in Copenhagen and the surrounding region.

17 September 2010

Darwin - Australia's Cycling Paradise

Here's an interesting film by Mike Rubbo, documentarist turned bicycle advocate, who traveled north to Darwin, Northern Territory to explore the territory's unique bike helmet excemption law.

The Northern Territory mandated helmet use along with the rest of the country in the 1990's. Like the rest of the nation, they saw cycling levels drop. In an attempt to get people to ride again, they repealed - or rather adjusted - the law and allowed for helmet-free cycling on footpaths and bike paths.

The result? It's in the film and in Mike's post over at his SitUp-Cycle.com blog.

It's been 20-odd years since I was last in Darwin. Maybe I could find a travel agency specialising in Rationality Destinations and get me a ticket to the 'top end's' bicycle paradise.

Cargo Bike Copenhagen by Streetfilms

Clarence from Streetfilms.org completes his Copenhagen Trilogy. The final installment is about our Cargo Bike culture. Brilliant film, as ever. It really sums it all up. Nice one, Clarence.

Here's a little one minute film that we produced for the City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office. Part of a series. But since we're in cargo bike mode, this little musical waltz is appropriate. A brief tidbit that is nowhere near as comprehensive as Clarence's.

Here's a Flickr set of my cargo bike photos, if you're interested.

16 September 2010

Copenhagen To Allow Right Turns at Red Lights for Cyclists

Following the Arrow
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how right turns for cyclists should be allowed at red lights.

So it was refreshing to click onto a link sent by a number of Danish readers this morning. The headline was enough to get us excited: Copenhagen Ready to Allow Right Turns for Cyclists at Red Lights.

The national police have announced that it will be up to local authorities to decide if they wish to pass bylaws allowing right turns for cyclists at red lights as well as allowing them to continue straight on at T-intersections. The police have traditionally had a less than positive attitude towards making life easier for cyclists. Their announcement comes as a pleasant surprise.

Bike Parade - Front
The Mayor in charge the Technical and Environmental Administration [councillor for the Dept of Transport], Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard [second from left in the above photo] says:

"It's a fantastic, liberating announcment. We want to be the best bicycle city, therefore we need to get more people onto bikes. And the more we can spoil our cyclists, the more people we can get up onto their bicycles."

I like what the newspaper carrying the article - Politiken - writes after his quote:

"Today many intersections are set up in the old-fashioned way, where cyclists have to stop for red lights even though they could turn right without bothering the other traffic users."

Turning right on red is an everyday occurrence - I do it all day long if there are no pedestrians - and there is no reason that cyclists shouldn't be able to do so legally.

"In some places it's quite ridiculous (that it's not allowed)", says Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard. "And sometimes what people do is common sense", he adds.

I've read that last sentence happily again and again.

Subconscious Democracy and Desire
The above Desire Line is a fine example of following peoples common sense and the City adjusting the infrastructure to the peoples behaviour. Read more about the Desire Line in our earlier post.

Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard says he will ask the Dept of Transport to compile a list of places where, with few and simple adjustments, right turns can be implemented. Starting with the most obvious places to begin with.

David Hembrow has this great little film about right turns on red as well as other interesting advantages for cyclists from his town of Assens in the Netherlands. And here is his blogpost about the film. Copenhagen politicians? Are you watching?

I never did get my christmas wish fulfilled from last year - 30 km/h zones in the city - but this red light turning business is a lovely little pre-yule present.

Via: Politiken's article (in Danish) - "København klar til at tillade cykelsving for rødt"
Related article (in Danish) - Politiet: Lad cyklister højresvinge for rødt / Police: Let cyclists turn right at red lights.


The transformation from car-clogged city centres to Liveable Cities for people. A great, simple little film about the Dutch city of 's-Hertogenbosch using vintage photos morphed into modern footage.

15 September 2010

3D Warnings for Streets

In Vancouver, Canada there is another example of placing a 3D image on the street in order to get motorists to slow down. In this case it's an image of a child picking up a ball in the middle of the street.

In a previous post we highlighted a warning symbol on a road outside a Danish school. The child in the middle of the street is taking the idea to the next level.

Good idea? Bad idea? Some criticism includes that drivers will think that all children on the streets are 3D images and just run them over once they've figured out the system. A bit far-fetched. It's fair comment that motorists on these stretches WILL figure out that the 3D kid is just 3D and not worry much about it after a couple of days.

Indeed, a test of fake 3D speed bumps in Phoenix had this result a few years back.

"Initially they were great," said the Phoenix Police traffic coordinator, Officer Terry Sills. "Until people found out what they were." According to Boingboing.net.

What about using a constantly changing series of images and placing them on the streets? The whole gimmick has legs because it's cheap to put into place. Stickers are cheaper than speed bumps. So keep switching the stickers.

Martin Lindstrom in his neuroscience book Buy-ology concluded that cigarette warning labels are very effective ads instead of warnings, the suggestion was that cigarette warnings should be changed regularly. So that the consumer was always kept thinking and forced to read the text instead of having a Pavlovian reaction upon seeing the same warning labels all the time.

We could also just cut to the chase and go the whole nine yards:

Or, since city councils are seemingly so unwilling to part with funding that will make serious improvements in traffic safety, why not sell adverts in the middle of the road? A holiday company or a soft drink?

Yeah, okay. Maybe not.

Of course, redesigning the roads permanently is the best option to improve traffic safety and encourage cycling and pedestrians. But yuck! That costs money!

Okay, here's another alternative from the Copenhagenize thinkthank. We have to be fair and include cyclists in such campaigns, of course. 3D texts with sensible messages for the different traffic users:

Variations could include Stop Fucking Hurting Innocent People!, Stop Fucking Polluting!, You Look Lovely on that Bicycle!, Enjoy Your Bicycle Ride! And so on.

Over the top?

Via: the always excellent How We Drive blog by Tom Vanderbilt.

Ignoring the Bull - With a Super Bus

Talk about ignoring the bull in the china shop! The Chinese have developed a Super Bus in an attempt to ease congestion in Beijing. The bus is raised up above the road so that smaller vehicles can drive underneath it without having to stop.

A prototype will begin operations on a 6 km route in Beijing this December, according to TV2 News (in Danish).

What's the consensus on this idea? Good, bad, silly? Comments, please.

14 September 2010

Mill Creek, Wisconsin

Mill Creek, Wisconsin 1909
Nothing to report. Just thought I'd blog this cool photo from Mill Creek, Wisconsin, 1909.

13 September 2010

The Church of Sit Up Cycling

SF CM 09 Nun
A resident of Vancouver, Canada has started a new church. The Church of Sit Up Cycling. Cycling 'enthusiasts' have long exhibited a passion for their hobby or sport that resembles religious observance. Now the realm of worship has come to the aesthetic art and act of regular citizens riding upright bicycles. We like this theological uprighteousness.

Reverend James Twowheeler is the 'nom de plume' of the church's founder. As stated on the church's website:

Wearing their normal work and play clothes is an essential religious practice of members of the Church of Sit-Up Cycling. This may or may not include wearing plastic hats.

Believers wholly endorse the use of such accident-preventing safety measures as lights, bells, height, strict compliance with traffic signals, a leisurely pace and the use of dedicated cycling streets and lanes.

Reverend Twowheeler discovered a potential loophole in British Columbia's Motor Vehicle Act. British Columbia is one of the few places in the world that has all-ages mandatory helmet laws but there are exemptions from the law. Among them:

3 The following persons are exempt from the requirement under section 184 of the Act to wear a bicycle safety helmet:
- a person for whom the wearing of a helmet would interfere with an essential religious practice;

Among the individuals who could claim this exemption are Sikhs. And now, perhaps, the Church of the Sit Up Cycling.

It's all good fun and tongue in cheek. An attempt to separate regular citizens from the enthusiasts. Cycling in regular clothes and all that.

Tall bike Nun
Funny idea, but it made me think back to a similar idea here in Denmark - and quite possibly elsewhere.

Copenhagen Lads is a fan group who support F.C. Copenhagen. A few years back they put in a serious application to the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs in order to have their fan group recognized as an official faith. Well, there was a certain irony to the application, but they gave it a shot. They ended up featuring prominently in theologist Povl Götke's book From Buddha to Beckham – Karisma and Suggestion in Spot and Religion. There is also a Maradonian Church / Iglesia Maradoniana with 100,000 members in 60 countries who worship the Argentine footballer Diego Maradona - of questionable Hand of God fame.

Their application made it past the first firewall protecting the application from crackpots but it was eventually rejected because they failed to describe some concrete criteria like wedding rituals and suchlike. Another recognized religion in Denmark is Forn Sidr, which is the pagan faith of the ancient Danes and the Vikings - The Asa faith.

Anyway... The Church of Sit Up Cycling? Why not? Reverend Twowheeler is of the opinion that since;

"I've been unable to come up a list of recognized religions in BC, this loophole seems wide enough to drive a truck through. Indeed the government seems most keen that citizens workship in whatever way they want". As per this website.

All praise the Sit Up Bicycle. I'm eagerly awaiting my annointment.

Feel free to brainstorm in the comments about what kind of rituals the Church could integrate into their dogma.

The Church of Sit Up Cycling has a website, a Facebook group and a Twitter account.

The Onion has an amusing article about Fictionology.

11 September 2010

Bicycles for Primates, Carnivores and Zoo Cycle Chicsters

Primates Bicycle
One of the many bicycles at the Copenhagen Zoo. This one, according to the sticker, belongs to the World of the Primates. Cool, funky and practical bike for the zookeepers to use. Ironically, these mini-bikes are all the rage among 20-something fashionistas in the city.

Zoological Cycle Chic
Oh, and zookeeper cycle chicsters who work at the carnivore department.

10 September 2010

Bicycles Remix

On June 1st 2010 Efterklang and Oh No Ono met up in Copenhagen to celebrate their recent remix swap and the first day of summer.

The music you hear is first 'Modern Drift' from Efterklang's 'Magic Chairs' album and then it is 'Icicles' from Oh No Ono's 'Eggs' album.

More on Efterklang's website.

09 September 2010

Stately Dutch MILF Magnet

I feel so BikeSnobby (not a bad feeling, just odd...) blogging a Craig's List ad. But I couldn't resist the humour in this one.

Date: 2010-03-01, 11:20PM

This is a Batavus "PERSONAL" delivery bike. It's black, has one speed, a coaster brake, a kick stand, chain case, racks, and a dynamo lighting system. I discovered it in the basement of the Smith and Butler boutique in Carrol Gardens last October.
I am selling this bicycle because my therapist suggested I need to come to terms with my attraction to african-american women. No sister is going to date a 34 year old systems administrator riding a european grocery bike. However, when I would cruise slowly down Park Slope's fifth avenue, panties would literally fly off of every white or asian woman with a stroller and a master's degree.

I live in Williamsburg now and the bike confuses most of the women here. If I grow my moustache out a little and explain it only has one speed "like a fixie" I can sometimes get to second base. But for the most part I might as well have a soul patch and collect classic cameras. If you want to get some action I'd only take this baby out south of Atlantic Avenue.

Spring is coming and if you like flat-assed waspy moms who went to Vassar, this is the ride you need.
$300 O.B.O.

* Location: Williamsburg
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Original URL: http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nyc/1624333458.html

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Jeff for the link.

(Come to think of it, BikeSnob probably wrote this shit... )

08 September 2010

Copenhagenize Tests the Biomega Cargo Bike

Biomega Puma Mopion (10)
Last week, while the Biomega team were living the high life at Eurobike, I wandered into their office and borrowed a copy of their new cargo bike for PUMA. First impression? "Cool!" Second impression (because I had to carry it down the stairs): "Light!"

When you're used to riding two-wheeled cargo bikes there wasn't any wobbly 50 metres of drama in setting off. I had the afternoon free so I just zipped around the centre of Copenhagen in the sunshine. When you don't really give a shit about specs and tech details, test-riding bikes is a fine, aesthetic experience. You just ride around, speeding up, slowing down, looking at way the sunlight falls on the harbour, following the progress of the swan-like cycling girl crossing the bridge in the other direction, sighing happily, etc. It's the best way to figure out if the new bicycle beneath you is "all that" or that. If the machine distracts - negatively - you can follow the swan-like progress of a cycling girl or the light dancing on the harbour - it ain't "all that".

Biomega Puma Mopion (13) Biomega Puma Mopion (5)
This bike is, indeed, "all that". And this was just a prototype. There are only three of them in existence which is an instant cool factor. It's an advanced prototype so the bike that will hit the streets next spring is not far off the one under my ass. I headed up over Knippels Bridge and passed some other Copenhageners on bikes. Another cyclist was tailgating me in the passing lane so I sped up to get out of his way. To my surprise I flew up and over the bridge without any effort, leaving the tailgater behind. So. Acceleration? Top points. The handling wasn't something I even thought about until day three of borrowing the bike. It was completely natural and virtually identical to a regular bicycle. So that's nice.

Biomega Puma Mopion
The basket is an interesting angle of the design. Simple lines and elegant slope, I rode around with a football bouncing around in it and never lost the ball. Not a standard test-ride feature, I know, but these daily life details are important, too. My only critique of the design is about this basket. I bought a can of Coke on one of the days and had nowhere to put it. It was too small to sit on the bars of the basket so I had to stick it in my back pocket for the ride home. I thought about other stuff that I may find myself transporting here and there and many small objects wouldn't work. Bags of groceries, a crate of beer, a bag - sure. But I missed - in my personal experience - a bottom to the rack.

Biomega Puma Mopion (17) Biomega Puma Mopion (23)
The rear end of a kid is, fortunately, wider than a can of soft drink. The all-important Copenhagen test is whether or not you can transport your offspring on a bike and the Beijing (the original name was Mopion - named for a tropical islet in the Caribbean by the way) - certainly lived up to my kid cargo needs. Sure, I put a blanket down for Lulu-Sophia and Felix sat on his backpack, but they loved the ride. Even with 25 kg of Felix, the handling wasn't affected in any great way. I had wondered about the higher centre of gravity, compared to other cargo bikes, but there was nothing to write home about. I could still follow swan-like cycling girl progress with a kid on the rack, so to speak.

I've spoken to many people here in Copenhagen about my everyday cargo bike, the Bullitt from Larry vs Harry and it is generally regarded as being incredibly cool, but I often hear people say that they don't have kids or don't have stuff they need to transport, so while they love the bike, they don't always need one.

I can't see the Beijing competing directly with the impressive armada of cargo bikes in use throughout this city. I can't transport two kids and groceries on this puppy. But without actually having any clue what Biomega was thinking when designing this bike, I can see it appealing to a whole new demographics. The young urban professional who wants a cooler than cool ride with a few more practical advantages than a back rack. The cycle tourist pedalling happily about foreign countrysides with all the gear that cycle touring entails. Bike messengers with just a bit more to carry than documents. One-kid families in cities or towns. There is definately a market for this bicycle.

The Beijing was originally planned to be a part of a co-branding deal between PUMA and Biomega but now Biomega is just launching it themselves.

Biomega Puma Mopion (11) Biomega Puma Mopion (20)
I can't ignore the symbolic and iconic value of the Beijing. Biomega have once again produced an urban icon. If you think about modern bicycle design [re-thinking the bicycle as opposed to just making bicycles lighter and faster] there are two places where exciting things are happening. One is Denmark, with the proud design tradition. The other is America with her army of micro-bikesmiths all sweating away over their welding tools con amore as they try to make the humble bicycle just a little bit nicer and cooler.

Biomega Puma Mopion (16) Biomega Puma Mopion (15)
When I write about bicycle brands over Cycle Chic I always consider the head-turner factor. Riding a bicycle that turns peoples heads on the street is always just as cool as wearing a jacket or shoes that people notice. Regular people, not your friend at the cycling club who knows all about bicycles. The Beijing has a fantastic head-turning factor. Very similar to when I ride on my Bullitt. The strangest people noticed the bicycle. Elderly ladies, five year olds, young women, old men, you name it. You get noticed on the Beijing. In urban life I'd rather get noticed for riding a wicked cool bicycle than having the latest iPad.

I was waiting for a friend outside of the Central Train Station last Monday when a group of young Japanese walked past. Two of them stopped dead in their tracks upon seeing the bike. They politely asked if they could take a photo. They noticed the PUMA logo and I explained that it was Biomega who made it for PUMA. They had already figured it out. The shape of the tubing was 'iconic' said the one so it was instantly recognizable. They took me up on the offer of taking it for a ride with wide grins and they loved it.

How cool is that? Design crossing borders, creating icons but also dialogue.
Biomega Puma Mopion (8)
I've noticed, however, that the greatest accolades are harvested outside Felix's school and at football practice. (He took the above photo, by the way)

The Beijing - like the Bullitt - drew the attention of a very important group. The 5-8 year olds. Seriously. If 5-8 year olds - in Denmark - notice a bicycle for being different it's amazing. When you hear them all say, "THAT is a cool bicycle! See dad/mum!", you know you're on to something good.

Muppet Cycle Chic

Message to brain during first 20 seconds of viewing: "cool! muppets on bikes! muppet cycle chic!! haha!"

Message to brain during rest of viewing: "this is a little creepy..."

07 September 2010

Right Turns For Bicycles

No Right Turn Except for Bicycles
Turning right at red lights is not permitted in Denmark, like it is in many other countries, including Germany. I don't actually know why or when this law was put into place (hint: please tell me if you know).

On occasion there are vague mumbles from the Danish bicycle advocacy wilderness about making it possible for bicycles to turn right at lights but little comes of it.

Everytime I ride past this sign on Borups Allé I get a warm, fuzzy feeling. It reads No Right Turn (except bicycles). The warm, fuzzy feeling is often followed by a dismayed shake of the head, wondering why this isn't standard for bicycles throughout the Danish kingdom.

06 September 2010

Bike Riding Illegal in Sag Harbor, NY

Sag Harbor, NY. Photo by Danielle Lobosco from Wikipedia.

Maybe we should be compiling a list of cities and towns that are bicycle-unfriendly. After the internet storm that followed the town of Blackhawk, Colorado's decision to ban bicycles, there are probably loads of towns with similar bylaws.

The bicycle activist and photographer known as BicyclesOnly on Twitter and Flickr was visiting Sag Harbor, New York (pop. 2313) and, according to this tweet:

#bikenyc riding is illegal on Main & Bay Sts. in dntwn #SagHarbor. Cop told us to dismount, sez law is 4 "safety reasons," wldn't give deets

Copenhagenize's friend and lawyer Kelly spotted this and decided to check it out. Was it really illegal to ride a bicycle on the street in the resort community of Sag Harbor, NY or was it just one cop having a bad bicycle day?

As it turns out, riding a bicycle IS illegal in the town. On Main and Bay streets, anyway. Imagine that. Here in 2010. Kelly looked up the code to find the prohibition. The law, passed in 1986, reads as follows:

50-7.B. It shall be unlawful for any person to roller skate, to use a skateboard or similar device or to ride a bicycle or any other wheeled vehicle propelled by gravity or by the use of the rider's feet between the curblines (that portion of streets normally devoted to the parking and operation of motor vehicles) of Main Street from the southerly line of Spring Street, as projected, to the southerly line of Bay Street.

Spooky use of the word "devoted".
(n) devotion, devotedness (feelings of ardent love)

Nevermind riding a bicycle, you're not even allowed to WALK a bicycle along Main Street.

50.7.D. It shall be unlawful for any person to walk a bicycle or any other wheeled vehicle propelled by gravity or by the use of a rider's feet between the curblines of Main Street from the southerly line of Spring Street, as projected, to the southerly line of Bay Street. This prohibition shall not apply to walking a bicycle or other such vehicle directly across the street (crossing directly from one side to the other side of the street).

Here's the website for Sag Harbor. http://www.sagharborny.gov/. Shouldn't we let them know that their bylaws are rather antiquated and deserve to be listed over at Dumb Laws?

Thanks to Kelly for the help.

04 September 2010

Bike Lane to Germany Across the Sea?

The final negotiations are underway about the proposed bridge from Denmark to Germany - the Femern Belt Bridge between the Danish island of Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn. Copenhagenize is wondering if we'll be third-time lucky.

When the 17.5 km long Great Belt Fixed Link - linking the islands Zealand and Funen - was being planned in the 1990's, there was talk of adding bicycle infrastructure but it never gained any ground. When the bridge was completed in 1998, cyclists who previously could ride onto the ferry were then forced to take the train or a bus in order to cross between east and west Denmark.

The next massive bridge project was the 15 km long Öresund Fixed Link between Denmark and Sweden, completed in 2000.
Homeward Bound - Bridge The Future is Offshore
Again, there were voices in the wilderness calling for bicycle infrastructure to be added to the construction. Again, nothing came of it. Cyclists who could take their bicycles on ferries from Copenhagen and Malmö now had to take the train. It must be said that it is much easier taking bicycles from Copenhagen to Sweden than taking bicycles from Copenhagen to west Denmark. There are even seatbelts for bicycles on the trains:
Bike Seatbelt

Now the next project is the Femern Bridge. Once again there are voices calling for bicycle infrastructure to be added on the 19 km fixed link. The voices are louder and more insistent this time, it seems. A group of counties in the southern part of Denmark are itching for a bike path on the bridge. It would increase tourism to the region, in particular cycle tourism. Germany is a massive cycle tourism nation and while it's possible to cycle across the border to Denmark in Jutland, another route would be a brilliant addition.

Here at Copenhagenize we always try to highlight the importance of bicycle symbolism in increasing the profile of cycling and emphasizing the fact that the bicycle is back and here to stay.

The symbolic value of adding a bicycle path to the Femern Bridge is enormous. The existing cycle tourism market would benefit greatly and cycling over the bridge would be a tourist attraction for cycle tourists. You can see the t-shirts already; "I cycled the world's longest bicycle bridge!". I would bet you'd see Danes on cargo bikes heading across the sea to buy cheap beer and alcohol in Puttgarden, too. What a great ride.

The three counties of Lolland, Langeland and Svendborg are most active in pushing for a bike link to and from Germany. They have a chapter dedicated to it in a document they've prepared "From detour to shortcut"- in Danish - that features this illustration:

As they write:
"Bicycles and cyclists are generally very courteous to their surroundings. They don't generate noise, they don't cause accidents and they have a high daily consumer rate (cycle tourists) because there are limits to how much you can carry on a bicycle. Improving the national bicycle routes will also be beneficial to the local cyclists."

So what does it cost? Well, the bridge is budgetted for 35 billion kroner [€4.7 billion] and adding a bicycle path is estimated to add just 1% of that amount to the total. 350 million kroner [€47 million] for a bicycle lane 70 m above the waves with shields against the wind.

For inspiration we can look to that third great cycling nation, Japan, who have bicycle infrastructure on the Innoshima Bridge.

It remains to be seen whether the Femern Bridge will have bicycles crossing on it. There is only one political party backing the idea although other parties claim to be open to the idea and an analysis of the cost-efficiency, etc.

We're crossing our fingers for a chance to cross the Baltic Sea on our bicycles. The third big bridge in the Danish series surely deserves bicycle paths.

While we're in the neighbourhood, the idea of this bridge really pales in comparison to an idea proposed by one of our greatest architectural thinkers, Bjarke Ingels back in 2003. Creating a Baltic Super Harbour, right where this bridge will be placed. Check out the idea here. Far too visionary for modern politicians, though. Makes too much sense, too.

Of course there are other great bicycle ideas whose time has come. Like... um... the Bicycle Island.

Via: Danish newspaper Politiken - article Hvorfor ikke bare cykle over Østersøen? by Michael Rothenborg and own research.

03 September 2010

Textbook Bicycle Marketing from Netherlands

Sparta Bicycle Advert
We're loving this photograph. It's from a Dutch advert for the bike brand Sparta. THIS is how to sell bicycles to Citizen Cyclists. Thanks to Will for the heads up.
Sparta Bicycle Advert
The text on the advert, roughly translated by Will, reads:
You want a bike that fits your lifestyle. Which is why we make bikes with something extra. Like the pickup. An old style Dutch delivery bike with a modern twist. With a unique and distinctive double top tube for support. Also available in several retro colors. Something Special, we call it. Go for the specials list for more information.

Sparta Bicycle Advert
And it gets even better! This Sparta advert spells it out in no uncertain terms. This bike will suit you. Urban living. The preferred transport for well-dressed businessmen. Brilliant marketing and Ultimate Cycle Chic. Hats off to de Fietsensmakers and Sparta.
Sparta Bicycle Advert
The advert is from de Fietsenmakers, a bike shop chain in the Netherlands. If you buy this bicycle, you get a 'matching' Morgan Stanley suit - with a value of €389 - free!

Trendy Sparta Summer City Bike
Sparta specially designed this bike for this offer. A true summer bike in cool matte blue. A solidly built model with leather saddle and leather grips, 7-speeds, coaster brake, retro front rack and large puncture-proof tires. Helping you stand out!

A stylish suit fits a trendy bike. Only at de Fietsenmakers - when you buy a unique Sparta Sommer for €799 you get a luxury Morgan Stanley suit with shirt and tie from the 2010 collection, worth €389. This offer runs until September 30, 2010...