23 May 2014

Travelling Denmark on the Copenhagenize Bullitt

Copenhagenize über-intern, Dennis, rocking the Bullitt

At Copenhagenize Design Company we usually stick to urban bicycling, but some people, like our German intern, Dennis, like to take the bike off-road and get outside the city. Dennis decided to use the Easter holiday to discover Denmark together with his friend Enikö from Hungary. Now, you might be thinking, “Denmark?! That’s just Copenhagen and the rest is boring countryside.” But actually, the rest of the country has quite a lot to offer. And it is perfectly easy to cycle wherever you need to go. You just follow the signs from the national cycling routes (Denmark was the first country in the world to develop a national route system for bicycles, thanks to this man. 10,000+ km in all) and they will take you to the loveliest places.

Usually the routes follow calm country roads and the state is investing a lot of money to build first class bicycling infrastructure on the stretches which are a bit busier. Sometimes you still have to share the road with cars, but they are getting there.

When you travel long distances by bike you always have the problem of carrying capacity. A typical bike can only carry so much. But this becomes less of a problem if you use the Copenhagenize Bullitt. It is easy to carry a tent, sleeping bags and other stuff on the cargo bed. The rest went into the bicycle bags of Dennis’ mountain bike. Speaking of mountain bikes, you thought Denmark was flat, didn’t you? Well, it’s not. It has plenty of nasty hills. It is definitely not the Alps, but not flat like the Netherlands either. In the Danish national anthem, they sing about their hills and valleys. Anyway, if you don’t plan to do a 150km a day, it shouldn’t be an issue for anyone.

The yellow line on the map marks the route these two took – in total about 300km over the course of four days. The red dots mark the points where they set up overnight camps. Wild camping is not allowed in Denmark like in Sweden or Norway, but there are more than 900 natural camping sites throughout the country.  And that’s another amazing thing about Denmark: On those campsites you can typically find wooden shelters to pitch your tent in.

They protect you from the (usually strong) wind and the low temperatures at night.  And the best thing is that they are normally free of charge. Sometimes you have to pay a couple of Danish Kroner if you want to use the shower, but that’s it. Dennis and Enikö paid in total 50 Kroner for all three nights. That’s what we call a cheap holiday. But just because the lodging is cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t absolutely lovely. The first shelter was in the backyards of Kirsten and Torben Andersen’s farm (called Damgården) in Rødvig. Very nice people. And they raise all kinds of animals on their farm: Deer, rabbits, cats, goats… Really cool to wake up in the morning and enjoy the view over the beautiful farm and the animals.

On the way they stopped at some beautiful old villages. One of them is called Strøby. The fully loaded Bullitt looks pretty nice in front of this old church, don't you think?

Another amazing spot on the first day was Stevns Klint (Stevns Cliff). A beautiful place with a medieval church just on the top of the steep cliffs. Have you ever seen a church with a balcony just over the sea? Well here is is.

On the second day they cycled from Rødvig to Møns Klint. It was a long way with plenty of hills, especially on the island of Møn. The Bullitt has a great built in leg rest for the downhill stretches.

It was a great day through a beautiful landscape, running mostly along the coast. Quite spectacular is the way over the old bridge, which connects the island of Sjaelland, where Copenhagen is also located, with the island of Møn. The bridge is called Dronning Alexandrines Bro and can be accessed by bike.

It is truly amazing to wake up in the morning, hearing the rough sound of the sea and seeing the beautiful spring forest just outside the tent.

In the evening they finally arrived at Møns Klint, which is home to Denmark's highest cliffs. The bright chalk cliffs are just beautiful and there are shelters just on top of them. There is also a fireplace and a tap. Everything you need for a nice camp site.

On the third day Dennis and his friend headed back towards Copenhagen again. But not without having a closer look at the dramatic landscape of the island Møn. It is easy to navigate because you just need to follow the signs of the national bicycle route 9.

Along the route you’ll find a lot of surprises. Many times farmers sell their homemade bread, juice or marmalade. It is offered in front of the house and based on trust. So you just take as much as you want and leave you money in a little cash box.

And then there are the amazing farm house castles. Huge mansions with a long history. They just pop up suddenly when you don’t expect it.

You always think ”wow, ANOTHER castle!!”.

On the way back the two stopped at one last campsite in a nature reserve called Præstø Fjord. The new shelters are free and located just at the Fjord.

Thanks Denmark, you truly surprised us!

08 May 2014

Copenhagenize's New Bike Racks from Veksø

New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
We recently moved in our new offices on Paper Island (Papirøen) on the harbour in Copenhagen. A fantastic place to work, populated by wonderful, creative people.

There was one little detail missing. You can't very well be a fancy, blah blah blah urban design company like Copenhagenize Design Co. and NOT have bicycle parking outside your offices. It was wrong, so very wrong. What to do?

New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
Ole, from Purpose Makers and Cycling Without Age / Cykling uden alder, lending a hand.

Simple really. You call Veksø. A legendary Danish company that started in the 1950s, producing bike racks for the Danish schools. A company that has made literally hundreds of thousands of bike racks over more than 60 years. Then they branched out into other urban furniture like covered racks and busstops, digital bike counters, footrests like the ones in Copenhagen, air pumps and tilted garbage cans for cyclists.

All of it in the kind of aesthetic design you'd expect from a Danish company with the slogan "Enriching Urban Life".

If you stood on a random, busy street in Copenhagen and removed the Veksø products, you'd be hard-pressed to find your busstop, throw away your rubbish or park your bicycle.

Check out Veksø's online catalogue right here: Enriching Urban Life

New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
Testing the racks out and finding the right placement width.
New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
Veksø came all the way from Jutland - Fredericia - to deliver our racks. Thanks!
New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
We put the racks where people were parking their bikes anyway. Right by the entrance. Useless to place them anywhere else.
New Bike Racks at Copenhagenize Design Co.
Paper Island's "Mr Clean" came past when we were placing the racks. He grabbed a broom and said, spontaneously, "shouldn't I sweep now that it looks so nice?" Yes, please and thank you!

And thanks to Veksø for helping us bling up our parking.

Norwegian Share the Road Campaign Films

"70% of cyclists have experienced aggressive behaviour from motorists. We tested the same behaviour in a supermarket."
Text at end: "Cyclists and motorists have equal rights on the road"

First, a huge disclaimer. These ads were commissioned by the Norwegian Road Directorate - Statens Vegvesen. An organisation so jurassic in their transport mentality that they have to serve lunch outside every day because it will fossilise the moment it enters the building. An organisation that, despite their proximity to Denmark and Sweden, refuse to accept curb-separated cycle tracks in their "design" guide for bicycle infrastructure. An organisation that is so rooted in a last century ideology about traffic that the Transport Ministry in previous Norwegian government got so tired of hearing the same car-centric rhetoric that they commissioned a report about increasing cycling from other companies. When the government is tired of listening you, you know you have issues. An organisation with an employee who responds to a question at a conference earlier this year about why cycle tracks like in Denmark and the Netherlands aren't standard design by saying, "We can't just import all sorts of foreign ideas..." An organisation in one of the only countries in Europe with a falling cycling level, that has failed to - or refuses to - see that "sharing the road" is not something that actually gets people onto bicycles.

Also, Most campaigns from them are about sport/recreation cyclists, not people riding to work or school in a city. Grain of salt, please.

So. Baseline. Welcome to it.

With all THAT said, they hire a proper communications firm to communicate for them, which is good. They have obscene amounts of oil money, so nice that they use some of it on professional communication.

Let's forget for a moment that they are dinosaurs, because you'll probably get a kick out of these four films. In the

Text at beginning: "Many motorists think that have exclusive rights to the road. We tested the same behaviour in an elevator"
(He says to her: "Next time you need to take the stairs")
Text at end: "Cyclists and motorists have equal rights on the road"

"27% of motorists have experienced that cyclists have actively blocked their way"
(This is obviously sporty cyclists out doing exercise, not you and me riding to work)

"20% of cyclists have been forced off the road by motorists"