13 October 2011

Zipcar Strikes Back

Two days in a row we get to add new installments to Copenhagenize's The Car Industry Strikes Back series, showing how the bicycle is increasingly regarded as a threat to the market share. General Motors sailed into The Perfect Twitter Storm yesterday and today....

There is a car share company in the States called Zipcar. Car sharing is good. I use a car share programme here in Copenhagen - okay... only about 3 times a year, but hey. It's there when I need it. Once again, it's interesting to note and track the rising resistance of the car industry and related auto-centric industries to the rise of the bicycle in our cities. It comes as a bit of a surprise that Zipcar would go after bicycle culture in a campaign, but here they are, doing it. Zipcar is, of course, on Twitter, if anyone is interested.

20110909 zipcar-5door
It was Jym Dyer on Twitter who pointed us in the direction of Zipcar's "Sometimes you just need a Zipcar" campaign, pictured above in situ, from his photostream on Flickr. As he puts it:

"These people apparently live in a world where bike messengers don't exist, so nobody has figured out how to carry papers on a bicycle. Apparently baskets, racks, xtracycles, worktrikes, and bike trailers don't exist either, because you have to carry architectural models on your handlebars. The only alternative, apparently, is a 5-door car. Architects who can't envision carfree spaces are a big part of the problem.

Indeed. The campaign also has a Facebook page where you can add your own dialogue to the photo. I suggest everyone get in there and turn back the automobile tide with their wit. Because there are a whole lot of misconceptions in there.

Jym also pointed out that the architectural model the woman is holding - besides being butt ugly - has an entire ground floor dedicated to car parking. Sooooo last century.

So. How would these well-dressed - and shockingly visionless - architects get to their meeting? Zipcar obviously can't envision how the bicycle has been used for over a century in our cities. Let's help them out, shall we?

Send lawyers, bikes and money Doghouse
At left: Two lawyers outside the Copenhagen City Courts, carrying all manner of legal documents on their bicycles.
At right: A decent front rack - with or without a box - could make it simpler to transport the architectural model - and other things.

Picking Up The Kid Dad and Son
Front racks come in a variety of sizes - I even use it for transporting my kids' bikes from time to time. And everything else under the sun.

Cargo Bike Action
Here's an average load for me and the kids. Two plants, two metal cupboards, a doll and a bunch of other stuff on the Bullitt.

Bike Messenger Paris Bike Culture - La Petite Reine
Like Jym said, what about bicycle messengers? Either a traditional cargo bike or a larger version, like La Petite Reine in Paris (pictured), or a variety of other versions.

Zipcar isn't just playing the anti-cycling card. They're slapping a whole bunch misconceptions out there.
Oh puhlease. Zipcar's advertising people really should get out more often.

Red Light People Green Thing
Christmas Shopping Groceries
The Daily Haul Snowstorm Christmas Shopping
Cargo Shopping Cycling Shopaholic
Carry on in Copenhagen Winter Carrying
Too easy.

Thankfully I've never experienced this cliché but the last two times I've moved flats, I did it on cargo bikes:
Load 5 Me Load 4 Me
And you may remember this film of our friends moving flat in Barcelona by bicycle.

Transporting musical instruments by bicycle?
Musical Transport Bike Battle
At left: A musician arriving at a café in Copenhagen for a gig. A couple of those Christiania bikes and those boys need not take the bus.
At right: A musician setting up to play on a square in Copenhagen with his cargo bike as transport.
Here's a Copenhagenize Flickr set about music, musical instruments and bicycles.

Okay, this one is, in a way, one of those things that's not like the others. To get to the lake/stream, you may want something more than a bicycle depending where it is. But why wouldn't that canoe fit on the subway? They could just stand up, pressing it against the ceiling. If they DID want to transport it by bike, it wouldn't be THAT difficult.
Juletree - Copenhagen Yule Sofa-moving bike, Beijing, China.JPG
That yule tree is not that much shorter than the canoe and that sofa is certainly less handy - and heavier.

Bike Culture Taxi
Now here's a question. Do Zipcars come with detachable bike racks as standard? Nah. Didn't think so. Every taxi in Denmark must be equipped with two bike racks. If you need a taxi and have a bicycle to transport, the driver gets out and takes out the rack from the trunk, sticking it into the standard holder on the back of the taxi. Wouldn't THAT be a good idea for Zipcar and other car share programmes?

How about just be a little bit forward-thinking and selling car share WITH bicycles? We blogged about a great little film from Dublin that promotes combining the two. The bike share programme Go Car teamed up with Bear Bicycles.

By the way, I've heard that Paris is getting a large-scale Zipcar-ish car share programme with electric cars. Don't Zipcars still run on oil? Sheesh. Isn't it 2011, or what?

Here's more from Copenhagenize's The Car Industry Strikes Back series.