Showing posts with label "biking in the rain". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "biking in the rain". Show all posts

04 July 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

Most regions have been experiencing climate change in various forms over the past few years. One of the changes we're experiencing here in Denmark is sudden and torrential rainstorms in the summer. Epic, tropical rainstorms.

Rainstorm 2011 - Bang & Jensen
One of them hit last Saturday and the capital region recieved in two hours the normal rainfall we'd get over two months. It was, indeed, epic. I was at Bang & Jensen café in the Vesterbro neighbourhood and the storm was a spectator sport for those of us inside. It was a great atmosphere and we had a paper boat competition, setting our contraptions afloat in the street. Needless to say, none of us had cellars to worry about. I've never been so pleased to live on the fourth floor, although my kitchen floor was covered in a thin layer of water because of an open window.

Over the past few years of these torrential downpours the talk afterwards is always about the massive cost to the insurance industry in payouts and about the hopeless run-off/sewer pipes beneath the city. They were never designed for this kind of rain and replacing them with wider ones is a massive undertaking.

Interestingly, the past couple of days have brought new proposals to light in the media. One expert from the Danish Technical University goes as far as saying that buildings in high-risk areas may have to be torn down and replaced with building geared for rain, as well as designed to improve water flow through the streets.

Which would be interesting from an urban design point of view. Getting to plan new buildings and areas and, in the process, create more liveable spaces - for when it's not raining like this, of course.

Another expert, this time from the company that runs the sewer systems in Copenhagen, proposes a canal system like Amsterdam or certain Chinese cities, that would allow the water to flow away from the streets and cellars in a planned fashion towards green areas.

Another fantastic urban planning opportunity if it arises. Not surprisingly, politicans are hemming and hawing about THAT idea. Another massive cost but one that comes with a brilliant opportunity to make improvements in the liveableness of the city.

Putting up lightning rods may be a good idea, too. Copenhagen was hit by 5000 lightning strikes during the storm.

Today, Monday, there are still several motorways that are closed, like this one.

Train traffic is affected greatly, as well, with the tracks looking like this in many places. Mary here at Copenhagenize Consulting was two hours late coming into the city from Ballerup because of train cancellations and had to take a bus put on by the train company.

Most of the negative effects of the storm are obvious and massive. Very few cellars escaped flooding. In my courtyard there was a beehive of activity yesterday as people scrambled to get stuff out of the cellars and try to dry it before the next rainstorm yesterday evening.

Cycling and walking around the city today the whole place smells like a rotting, wet dog. The scent permeates the air here, wafting up from soggy cellars. It's constant.

On the bright side, it's a great day for the bicycle, what with motorways submerged and trains cancelled. The bicycle is once again given an opportunity to prove it's workhorse worth as a fine transport form in lieu of others.

In my courtyard there is a large area for large garbage that can't fit in the containers. It was filled up this morning. People were emptying their cellars and using the opportunity to just chuck stuff out so it was a free flea market. I nabbed a great little bicycle for my daughter and one for my son, too. I'm going back later for those coffee cups, if another resident doesn't beat me to it.

15 March 2011

Hi-Tech Copenhagen Rain Equipment

Vive la France in Copenhagen
After all the recent bits about bicycle seat covers used as advertising platforms in this post and in this post, it's time to highlight the DIY version in Copenhagen. The good old plastic bag. No-nonsense, practical and functional. Fair enough, plastic bags are not kosher in this New Sustainability Age but they are still around. For many, many years plastic bags in Copenhagen supermarkets have been available for a fee. A bag with handles costs 50 cents. Many people use canvas shopping bags or bicycle baskets.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 008
But plastic bags still serve a function in a wet Copenhagen. There are many variations. Some may park and then put a bag on their saddle in case it rains. Then again, the opposite is just as frequently applied. Ride around with a plastic bag and if it rains when you park, you take off the plastic bag and sit on the dry seat.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 007 Copenhagen Seat Covers 002
Then again, when the bicycle is mainstream, there is little concrete, systematic use. Some of these bags have been on the saddles for ages. Other ones are stuck under the saddle and may never be used.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 028 Copenhagen Seat Covers 019
A little detail in the ocean of mainstream bicycle culture.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 022 Copenhagen Seat Covers 009 Copenhagen Seat Covers 026

Copenhagen Seat Covers 017 Copenhagen Seat Covers 014-1

Copenhagen Seat Covers 027 Copenhagen Seat Covers 024

Copenhagen Seat Covers 023
Then there are some who don't bother with plastic bags. Instead just sticking a dishcloth - the standard version found in most Danish kitchens - under the seat for a quick wipe of the saddle or kids seat.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 012 Copenhagen Seat Covers 013

14 March 2011

More Bicycle Seat Rain Covers

Copenhagen Seat Covers 011
Couldn't help myself. I was lingering like a bad smell at the Nørreport train station last Saturday, waiting for a friend and I took some photos of more example of bike seat rain covers, as I wrote about the other day. Nørreport is the country's busiest train station and the bicycle parking around it testifies to that. I only covered a fraction of the bicycle parking and still managed to find a number of example of rain covers.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 015 Copenhagen Seat Covers 022-1 Copenhagen Seat Covers 006
Copenhagen University, a purchased rain cover, Alinea teaching material for schools.
Copenhagen Seat Covers 005 Copenhagen Seat Covers 004
Swedish rail advert, Information/Danish newspaper
Copenhagen Seat Covers 028-1 Copenhagen Seat Covers 010
Some of the seat covers are exotic. These two are from Sweden. The orange one is an example of the campaign that started this wave of bicycle seat rain cover coverage in the first place.

17 February 2011

Normal Everyday Images

Might just be me and my secret wish for nicer photography, but it seems that there is an increase in imagery in the Danish press featuring bicycles. Or rather, an increase in the quality of the imagery. I've noticed one national daily, Berlingske Tidende (founded 1749) upping their artistic sensibilities of late. Like the photo, above, taken in Aalborg yesterday morning. It's a simple article about the weather but it features a cyclist rolling on the bike lane in the snow (past all the cars on the road, of course). The temperature was about -10 C, with a wicked windchill.

Then there was this weather article from late last year about rain and wind. Beautiful shot. Like all of these photos, showing cyclists adds a human element to the story. In a country like Denmark we can relate to the weather when we see a fellow citizen struggling through the elements on a bicycle.

Cycling Weather
The same newspaper used to have Bicycle Weather included on their weather page in their print version. Showing the temperature and wind direction as well as the times for turning on your bicycle lights. I don't know if they still feature it. Technology has dictated that most papers get fed weather data from one or two sources and the weather reports in the newspapers are more homogenous (read: dull) now.

Even Visit Copenhagen - the city's tourist bureau is gradually waking up and smelling the bicycles. About time, too. The above photo features in an article about a new winter festival called WonderCool.
Snowstorm Brochure
This is a photo on a brochure for Adult Education courses [Italian for Beginners, Learn to Knit, etc] from 2006. There are few countries where a photo of a female cyclist struggling through a snowstorm would be used to sell a product. A product that involves getting out on cold, dark winter evenings to learn how to make pottery. But hey, this is the normalcy of cycling here and such images are understood by the population.

16 August 2010

Torrential Rain? Police Suggest Taking Bikes

Heels and Brolley
We've had some torrential rain here in Copenhagen over the past couple of days. These almost tropical rainstorms are increasing in frequency over the past few years. Flooding of roads and overflowing of sewer systems are often the result.

Last night a new rainstorm was forecast and I thought that the police's advisory was interesting. I caught it on Text TV before going to bed.

"Copenhagen Police encourage motorists to be extra cautious Monday morning.

"Get up early. Listen to the radio or go online. If it looks bad, take public transport or your bicycle.

Even if we don't get the same amount of rain, the traffic can be affected if the sewers once again can't keep up."

Very Copenhagen-esque. The bicycle - and public transport or a combination of the two - recommended as an alternative to the automobile during adverse weather. Nice.

Rainy Day2

Read the article in Danish at DR.

12 June 2009

Room For Bicycles

Roadworks Nice To Bikes
Just an interesting observation. There was a truck working on the sewers on this street. In the afternoon, people heading home and all that.

Just look at the placement of the truck. One wheel on the bike lane but the bulk of the beast on the car lane. Cars were forced to slow down considerably while passing the truck. The bicycles, however, while having to slow down in this exceptional circumstance, were given free passage.

As mentioned before, when you get to high levels of bike usage - this street has about 10,000 a day - it is imperative that the bicycles are allowed to continuing flowing. Just as in winter the bike lanes are cleared of snow before the roads, it's the same in a situation like this, above. If you stop the flow you create an irritating situation for cyclists and pedestrians alike, as well as risking having cyclists dodge out into traffic to get past the obstruction.

When cities implement bicycle lanes [or cycle tracks if you want to call them that] it is imperative that said city enforces the no blocking/parking/anything but bicycles rule.

It is actually illegal to block the bicycle lanes.

Bike Lane
Blogged this one before but it's a good example of how a sign for cars about roadworks ahead is placed over the bike lane, so as not to block it. I think I rode under that sign for two weeks before actually reading what it said because there are never - or extremely rarely - roadworks that shut off streets to bicycles in Copenhagen.

Bullitt in the Rain
No roadworks here. Just my boy Felix in the Bullitt, having just arrived home from a friend's place on a rainy day. He sat happily under his brolley while Daddy-o rode home in the rain. Lucky boy.

27 November 2008

Promoting Cycling - BBC and UK

Here's a funky little 'ident' for BBC 1. An 'ident' is tv industry jargon for station identification. The little logo bits that show up in between programmes. Quite a nice advert for the channel. Colourful, slow bicycle riding in the rain from the Beeb. A soggy critical mess :-). I quite like it.

Thanks to William for sending the link. He's Chairman of the Colchester Cycling Campaign. Colchester is one of the designated cities in the UK who have recieved national funding in order to copenhagenize themselves.

Here's a photo of the launch presentation of Colchester Cycling Town. John Grimshaw of Cycling England (purple jacket) is handing a glass plaque to Norman Hume, transport chief of Essex County Council. All very nice, but lo' and behold... second from right... a Copenhagenize T-shirt! On William, no less! Well chuffed, I am. Well chuffed! Good luck to Colchester.

15 November 2008

High Season For Bike Culture Advertising

Big Arse
What with the rain and wind of autumn it is high season for free bike seat covers in Copenhagen. You'll often find your bike seat covered with an advertisment when you return to it at the bike racks in the city centre. Usually in areas with a high concentration of parked bikes.

The cover above reads, "Hey! Does my ass look big on this?" It's an advert for a cream cheesy kind of product in a new 'light' version.

Here's an older cover with an advert for Aalborg University.
A new advert for an organic soft drink.
Advertising in a Bike Culture
Outside a university building the seats were covered with adverts for a job and career fair.
City Hall Bikes
Outside the city hall there was a I Bike CPH seat cover. And an advert on a politician's bike for the Budget 2009 negotiations.
Bike Seat Cover
You can wait until you get a free bike seat cover or you can just pop out and buy one, like this polar bear head.

01 December 2007

For the Good of Society - Health Benefits of Cycling

The fact that cycling is healthy is not a newsflash.
However, as we highlighted in a previous post over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic, about why this city rides bikes so much, the majority of Copenhageners don't ride primarily to save the world or because they're health fanatics.

According to the study:
54% ride because it is easy and fast.
19% ride because of the benefits of excercising.
7% ride because it is cheap.
6% ride because it is handy.
1% ride because of the environmental benefits.

Nevertheless, the Copenhagen City Council - in their Biannual Cycle Report - had the consultancy company Trafitec rate the societal and health aspects of our bicycle culture. While these figures are specific to Copenhagen, based on our current levels of health and welfare, the results and stats are interesting nonetheless.

Just the facts:
- Physically active people live ca. 5 years longer than the physically inactive.
- Physically inactive persons suffer on average for four more years from lengthy illnesses.
- Cycling has the same effect on health as other types of excercise. Four hours of cycling a week, or roughly 10 km a day is a fitting level - luckily for us, this is the average bike usage in Copenhagen - back and forth to work and running errands.

The study from Trafitec shows that 1 extra cycle kilometre produces, on average, 5 kroner in health and production bonus for society.

Increased cycling levels in Copenhagen therefore has a great potential for improving our health levels. [Exchange rate: 1 DKK = $1 / 50p / € .66]
Here are two scenarios that illustrate the positive connection between cycling, health and economy.>

1. If Copenhageners rode 10% more kilometres each year:
- This would be an increase of 41 million extra cycling kilometres each year. [At the moment we ride 1.2 million km each day in Copenhagen.]
- The health system would save 59 million DKK per year.
- We would save 155 million DKK in lost production manhours (due to illness)
- There would be 57,000 fewer sick days in the workplace each year. That would be a reduction of 3.3%.
- 61,000 extra life years
- 46,000 fewer years with lengthy illnesses.

2. One extra kilometre of bike lanes on a road:
Building bike lanes on streets with an average of 2,500 bikes and 10,000 cars each day would bring 18-20% more bikes on the stretch of road.
Including a drop of 9-10% in the number of cars and 9-10% fewer accidents and injury.
- A saving of 246,000 DKK in the health sector.
- A saving of of 643,000 DKK in lost production.
- A collective fall in health, production and accident costs each year totalling 633,000 DKK.
- The extra kilometre would give 170,000 more cycle kilometres each year.

All that from one extra kilometre of bike lane.

On your bikes.

10 August 2007

Copenhagen City of Cyclists

We posted about a podcast from A Billion Bikes featuring five episodes about Copenhagen bike culture.

Here are the other four - 2 through 5.

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 2 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 3 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 4 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 5 of 5