11 May 2011

Copenhagenizing Mary


Let's introduce Copenhagenize Consulting's newest recruit... Mary. She hails from across the sea - North Carolina to be precise - and she has recently started at the company as Director of Planning. Give her a warm welcome.

The simple one word company name, Copenhagenize, perfectly illustrates my dream job. I found written proof of it the other day in the form of an email to my study abroad advisor. It was September 2008 and I was doing my best to convince the study abroad office that Copenhagen, the "most liveable city" in the world and one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world, was where my Environmental Infrastructure and Urban Planning degree had to be completed. My purpose was to find out what green standards they implemented that resulted in so much liveability then take it back to the States and, well, Copenhagenize.


It didn't take long to realize that the thousands of sharply dressed men and women weren't riding for the environment (1% are). They say they do it because it's 'easy' and 'fast.' Since we at Cycle Chic and Copenhagenize like to cycle slowly, I think there's more to it. My American upbringing also tells me that this is neither fast nor easy:


No, these Copenhagen streets are captivating. When I'm not here, I crave them. And when I am here, I revel in them- citizen cyclists moving from point A to point B, chatting, pedaling. The ease that Copenhageners ride is a result of perfectly planned infrastructure details. Those oh-so-smart details that you don’t usually notice until you’re in another city in another country without them. Like the rumble strips on Knippels Bridge so cyclists don’t get too close to the curb, or the green wave leading into the city in the morning and out in the evening. They’re so delightfully subtle that it feels like finding treasure when you realize what you’ve just cycled.


Nowhere else have I been more relaxed and carefree while going to work during peak rush hour. In no dual air bag, roll bar, grill on the front SUV have I been as safe as I am cycling these eight foot wide tracks. No other city in the world is there infrastructure quite like Copenhagen’s.

Not too long after realizing this, I met Mikael. Within minutes it was apparent that this man, vintage wine rack on his gentleman's bicycle, and his career were far more than chic photographer turned blogger. He was doing the transportation planning I'd dreamed of and studied years for. I wanted in faster than you can say "time trial."

Fast forward countless visits to the immigration office and the good news: I’m in, doing the transportation planning I’ve always hoped for. The really good news: we’re Copenhagenizing, inspiring bicycle cultures and providing cities with the planning to re-establish the bicycle as urban transit.