- Bicycle Culture by Design: November 2007


If you're lucky, you, too, can ride around safely after dark thanks to millions of salmon sperm.

Recent research has shown that a thin layer of DNA from salmon sperm has such fine optical qualities that it increases the strength and effectiveness of light diodes by holding onto the electrons longer than synthetic materials.

It's a chappie named Andrew Steckl, one of the world's leading light diode experts and professor of light learning at Cincinnati University who has figured it all out. Namely that thin layers of our hereditary material was better at blocking electrons than conventional materials like silicium.

"DNA contains certain optical, magnetic and structural qualities that make it unique. It makes it possible to improve the effectiveness, the strength of the light and the clarity...", Steckl said in a press release from the university. Okay, via a Danish article from which we shamlessly translated this whole piece... but anyway...


The two light diodes on top show conventional materials holding onto electrons. The two bottom ones show the qualities of salmon sperm.

From Pink to Green
After his shout of Eureka!, Prof. Steckl was left with a problem. The DNA is difficult to copy. He had hoped to push the development of light diodes in a greener direction by using a material that is widespread, easily accessible and doesn't require energy to retrieve it from nature. It was also a wish that this material didn't belong to any particular company or country.

"The fishing industry regards salmon sperm as a waste product. They throw it away by the tonne, but it is natural and perfectly biodegradable", said the good professor.

While the tests with salmon sperm were positive, Steckl notes that other biological materials may be just as good.

The future is bright and filled with sperm. The ironic thing is that his research is sponsored by the US Air Force. Nice to see that they are involved in something positive for a change.

One thing is for sure... we here at Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog are going to call our brokers and add Norwegian salmon farms to our stock portfolio. Tout suite and post haste.

If Treehugger doesn't pick up this piece and give it legs, then we're going to leave the lights on in the bathroom all night tonight in protest. :-) 


Byrned Rubber


If you're wondering what it's like to ride around Manhatten, here's your chance to find out. Follow David Byrne's journey to a gig via his helmet cam. Yes... THAT David Byrne.
As the man says:

"Sometimes when I tell people I ride around town on a bike, they think I'm crazy. Well, once you get used to it, riding in the city gives you a nice jolt of energy."

And remember to check out his very cool website.

Ethics and New York City
Who knew that Randy Cohen, a guy who spends most of his day analyzing right and wrong as the New York Times Magazine’s acclaimed “Ethicist,” turns out to be one of New York City’s most captivating and articulate voices for Livable Streets. Thanks to the good people at Streetfilms and to Anne from Sustainable Flatbush for the link.

The Open Planning Project’s Executive Director Mark Gorton recently interviewed Mr. Cohen on the ethics of urban automobility. The result has been condensed here into a 9 minute talk that touches on a multitude of topics ranging from Congestion Pricing to Parking Policy.


It's that Christmas thing coming up soon. Whatever your opinion of the event there have been some original gift ideas over the past couple of years - all in the spirit of helping the planet.

Last year here in Denmark, the rage was buying a goat for villages in Malawi. It was a storming success. So much so that there were too many goats for the selected villages so they had to bring other villages into the scheme to offload the creatures. Which is a good thing. Last Christmas Danes bought 16,413 goats, 15,017 flocks of hens and 131 cows for the third world, on behalf of friends and loved ones.

This year in Denmark, UNICEF has a cool bike-related angle on their Danish website shop. Amongst the other useful gifts for the needy around the world is the Vaccination Bicycle.

What a brilliant idea. For a mere 300 Danish kroner [€40 / £27 / $60] you can buy a bike complete with a cooler box for transporting vaccines to outlying villages so that doctors can treat those who need treating.

I don't know if UNICEF in other countries has the same offer, but check it out where you live if you like.

ADDENDUM : Thanks to Tim K. for finding the corresponding link at UNICEF USA.
"This is a great idea, holiday or not. Thanks for posting. I checked the US site -- it is available for $40"

Cheers, Tim! 


There's a bundle of reasons that we like the Nihola. Where to begin, where to begin.

Here in Denmark, the spiritual home of all cargo bikes, there have been a number of classic cargo bikes. We've enjoyed 70 odd years of The Long John . We embraced the The Christania Bike and it's optimistic ideals. Even the Dutch are producing cargo bikes that are selling well.

But what we like about the Nihola first of all is the design. So many cargo bikes are square and wooden in nature. The Nihola stands out instantly in the cargo bike crowd. We love the modern lines, the modern, lightweight materials and we love the stylishness.

The name is cool, too, sounding all Japanese chic, but it merely stands for N iels Ho lme La rsen - the mastermind behind the brand. He sought a design alternative to the standard cargo bike look and the Nihola was the result.

It continues to win awards for design and safety, as well as ease of riding. It's a versatile bike, with only the imagination setting the limits for usage.

The key to the Nihola design is its round transport box, which adds strength, thus reducing the amount of materials needed, and which reduces the overall weight. The round shape also allows the two front wheels to turn around it. This enables a better turning diameter than with a square transport box. Then there is the low centre of gravity, which provides great stability.

You can choose the round box or the cigar box, more of an oval. The number of accessories is staggering. Seats and seatbelts for kids, a door on the front of the box, bike lights, you name it.

It's the perfect urban transport for any city. Room for groceries and kids and pets.

Another thing we like is that the company is versatile with their own design. Apart from their Standard Cigar family designs, they have developed a slough of variations. The mosaic above shows some of them off.

From top left.
The Nihola Flex - for transporting wheelchairs.
The Nihola Posterbike - for urban poster putter-upping - although it says on their Danish website that they can deliver it with a draught beer keg system instead. Immense idea.
The Nihola car rack for transporting your bike if need be.
The Nihola Big - a king-size version designed for kindergartens or any transport of precious cargo.
The Nihola Rehab - for transporting disabled persons.

What's more, the Nihola is smoooooth to ride. The wheels turn under the cargo box, unlike other brands in which the cargo box swings with you. We like that stability.

Nihola is based in Copenhagen, and their bikes are produced here, too. If you're in town, visit their showroom/workshop near the city centre. It's inspirational.

Nihola's Danish site - which has for some reason much more stats and specs.
Nihola's UK site.
And Dutch.
And German. 


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Automatic Hub Cleaner, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Hey, world, we're curious.

You see these things on bikes all over Copenhagen.
We were wondering if anybody else out there uses them?

Please let us know.

At some point in time somebody clever took a dishwashing brush and bent it in a circle. Now you can buy them specially made for bikes at bike shops.


The City of Copenhagen's biannual Cycle Report [the link is to a pdf and it's in Danish] is a goldmine of great statistics regarding our bicycle culture.

Even though our bike infrastructure is highly-advanced, the City is constantly revising and reviewing all the issues regarding integration of bikes in the streets. It is an ongoing, long-term affair.

Bikes have equal access everywhere in the city, but there are as a rule dedicated bike lanes on most roads with traffic.

When Copenhagen builds new bike lanes on a stretch of road, there is a bicycle traffic increase of 20% and a 10% decrease in car traffic. Bike lanes subsequently increase cyclists' safety and perception of safety, encouraging them to ride more.

The flipside of this is that there is a tendency for more accidents at intersections. The use of blue painted bike lanes across intersections is on the rise, as they help cyclists and motorists see the bike lanes. Having one blue painted strip of bike lane leading across an intersection is shown to increase safety.

The primary challenge is ensuring that cyclists are visible to motorists at intersections and, on the other side of the coin, that cyclists are aware of the motorised traffic. One way of increasing this common awareness is to place the two parties closer together in the traffic.

Another way is to place the cyclists physically in front of the cars at intersections – something that can be achieved by merely moving the stop line for cars back 4-5 metres. The cyclists at the stop light will be more visible, especially for motor vehicles turning right.

The statistics show that the number of bike accidents resulting in death or serious injury continues to fall year by year. In 2004 there were 124 accidents causing death or serious injury and in 2006 there was 92. The number of deaths is roughly 6 per year and the City regards a reduction in these numbers as a primary goal. It's worth noting that more pedestrians lose their lives in Copenhagen each year than cyclists. For the sake of perspective.

In comparison, Melbourne, Australia has over 200 serious injuries a year – a city with far, far less cyclists than Copenhagen.

The constant reduction of this statistic over a 10-year period shows that it is possible to drastically reduce the number of serious bike accidents. One of the most important factors is that an massive increase in bike usage causes the number of accidents to fall sharply.

More bikes on the roads means less accidents.

This report is ten years old, but it shows the tendency.

We have mentioned before the coining of the phrase ”Copenhagenizing a city” - meaning the construction of dedicated and segregated bike lanes. It is also known as giving a city ”the Copenhagen Treatment”. Here's a link to an article in the Melbourne Age about that city's investment in the Copenhagen Treatment.

Not everyone is thrilled about new bike lanes or increased bike usage. It is often a bit shocking to read about this anti-bike sentiment. Read the message posted under this article in the Edinburgh News. Although the agressive tone is also seen in some posts by cyclists.

And this post from the cool blog Seeing Green about some residents protesting against bike lanes on 9th street.
Which I found on this groovy post.

Do let us know about any initiatives where you are. We're always interested to hear about them.

Here it is. A quick and easy - and very tongue-in-cheek - guide to determining if you live in a city with bike culture. All from the good people here at

1. ”Fixed gear” is something than happens after you take your old Raleigh down to one of the 20-30 bike shops in your neighbourhood to have them look at ”broken gear”.

2. If a car honks at you in traffic, you hardly notice. Instead it makes you think that it's been a while since you took your kids to the park to feed the ducks... Hmmm... maybe this Sunday?


3. You think nothing of riding home in 35 degree heat, with your four year-old on the bike seat, two bags of groceries dangling on your handlebars, talking to your partner on the phone about dinner - all the while heading up a steep hill and STILL being able to growl ” Stay on the right! ” in three languages at the weaving, gasping tourists on their rental bikes whom you just flew past as though they were carved in stone.


4. When you feel yourself start sweating on the bike lanes on your way to work... you just ride slower. And if the forecast is for hot weather, you leave for work a bit earlier so you don't have to ride so fast and get too sweaty.

5. The only place you ever see Lycra or spandex is in old Jane Fonda workout videos or on joggers in the parks.

6. And you're quite sure that Gortex is that guy who plays midfield for Bayern München.


7. When your bike breaks down and is in for repairs you take your other bike, or you take the train or bus. Even though your car is parked out front.

8. Of the few people who wear those helmet things in the world's safest cycling nation, only a handful are actually wearing them correctly and many just carry their helmet in their basket.

9. The odd-person out in your circle of friends is the one who has never fallen off their bike while riding home drunk. You mock him/her regularly.

  10. You have, at one time or another, checked to see if your clothes match your bike.

11. You and your friends have repeated discussions about which bike repair shop in your neighbourhood is the best for price and service.

12. When you see somebody with rolled up trouser legs you think, ” what a shame that fellow can't afford a chain guard ”. You consider rolling up next to him at the next light to give him some money.


13. You don't even know that you live in a ”bike culture” and have never used the expression. You just ride.

14. You use your time waiting at a red light in bicycle rush hour with over 100 other cyclists to check out new fashions. ” Wonder where she got those shoes? Cool sunglasses on that guy... must be Prada .

15. Your entire wardrobe can be classified as ”cycle wear”. Espeically those stilettos from Christian Louboutin or your new double-breasted trenchcoast from Tiger of Sweden.

16. When the odd motorist cuts you off you fix him with an icy stare and shake your head in pity before riding off and forgetting the whole episode 50 metres farther down the bike lane.

17. You find rust on bicycles to be charming and aesthetic. Shiny new bikes are somehow gaudy.


18. It takes you over fifteen minutes to find your parked bike at the train station. 

It has come to our attention that in some cities, there is resistance from the community - namely commerce - towards such things as bike lanes and bike infrastructure in general. We see it from time to time in Copenhagen, too.

Back in the 1960's, a radical idea was born. Pedestrianising the city centre. There was very vocal resistance from the shops. There were even cries of " we're not Italians! We don't want to walk around the town! " The car was king.

It happened anyway. The world's longest pedestrian street was born - Strøget - and others followed.

Did commerce suffer? Not at all. On the contrary. Pedestrian and bicycle access without motor vechicles created the ideal shopping concept. Sales increased.

It remains the case to this day, especially with the massive investment in bike infrastructure over the past 40 years, providing even more access to the city and her neighbourhoods for cyclists.

Stats and Studies for use by bike advocates
The idea that ‘vitality of commercial enterprises = access by car’ is really rather old school. Those motorists who arrive at a supermarket or department store are not better customers than those who arrive by bike or with public transport, just because they can carry more goods home in their vehicles.

On the contrary. The contribution made by customers who arrive by public transport, bicycle and on foot is greatly underestimated. Not to mention the negative impact for our towns and cities and for the urban environment of building of large supermarkets and thousands of parking places on the periphery of urban centres.

It turns out that cyclists are better customers in many categories.

A study carried out in Münster, in Germany, reveals a number of newly discovered statistics. The study concerned three large supermarkets and a department store which also sold other goods.

Cyclists purchase smaller quantities each time they go, obviously. Which means, just as obviously, that cyclists go to shops more regularly - 11 times a month on average, as opposed to seven times a month for motorists in Münster - and are thereby more exposed to the temptation that shops love to inflict upon us.

Motorists are in the minority in shops in urban areas - between 25 to 40 % of customers, depending on the day of the week.

Barely 25 % of motorists leave a shop with two or more bags of goods (as opposed to 17 % of cyclists). Therefore, 75% of motorists have nothing to prevent them from using other transport forms. The study concluded that a large number of motorists could do without their cars when shopping, leaving them open to using another mode of transport.

Another study, this time in Berlin, showed a massive increase in cross-neighbourhood movement when they introduced a 30 km/h speed limit for cars, except on major routes. People were simply using their bikes and the public transport to get around and they found themselves more mobile as a result. Up to 40% in some cases, for trips between home and the shops.

Similarly, a survey carried out in Strasbourg indicated more than 30% increase of visits to the shopping area of the city after pedestrianisation and closureto through traffic in the town centre.

A survey carried out among consumers in Bern, Switzerland, established the ratio between the value of purchases made and the parking area used by each customer over a year. The profitability was highest in the case of the cyclists.

€7500 per square metre for cyclists.
€6625 for motorists.

Cyclists increase sales. Period.

"Everytime I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H. G. Wells

Let's get one thing straight. While we're not banner-waving activists, we think activism is fantastic. We're all for it, especially the activism towards creating bike culture and infrastructure like we have in Copenhagen in other cities in the world.

We just feel the need to play devil's advocate regarding the Critical Mass movement. Certainly the style of Critical Mass prevalent in, for example, North American cities. Rides that feature an aggressive, in-your-face tone. There are many positive examples of protest rides that are calm, cool and accepted. Budapest comes to mind. Even the rides in Prague - where they changed the name from Critical Mass to something akin to 'bike ride' in order to remove themselves from the North American versions.

Generlally, it's a brilliant concept. Democratic to the core. Celebrations, even. Even if there are only a couple of dozen cyclists. Although we loved to ride in Budapest, with tens of thousands of other bikes. That would be a rush. We also think that movements like the Naked Bike Ride protests tackle important issues with humour.

We despise the exaggerated crackdowns by police in various cities, but we're not too thrilled about those participatnts who are aggressive towards motorists. Democracy becomes anarchy. We don't fancy much the elitist attitude of many in the environmental activist movement either. Those who look down their nose at motorists - and even non-cyclists.

We figure that the point of Critical Mass is to profile the need for bike culture and all the enviromental plusses inherent in it. A good thing. Therefore one of the primary goals is to get more people to ride their bikes. For whatever reason: sustainability, oil-dependence reduction, better health for fellow citizens.

If so, does Critical Mass work? We don't know. 15 years on and are there any cities that have made massive gains towards a bike culture similar to many European cities?

We do know that we see a simple alternative. An easier route. What if all those massers merely rode their bikes every day? In normal clothes, like normal people? Like the millions of citizens of Northern Europe.

What might happen?

Meet our protagonist - Mr. Motorist. He drives to and from work each day as he always has. Listening to the same radio station. Same route, with minor variations. It's what he does.

He is an average citizen in a car-based society. Like the vast majority, he is not an environmental activist and he never, ever will be.

Mr Motorist looks out of the windows of his car as he putters through traffic. What does he think when he sees a hard-core, lycra-clad, cyclist or a sub-cultural fixie boy on a specialist bike speeding his/her way along the curb?

Mr Motorist in the morning traffic might think, "Hmm. I could ride my bike to work, too..."

He won't, however, see himself reflected in the image. He'll see a member of an often militant sub-culture. He'll see somebody he would normally label as an 'environmentalist' - not a positive label in many cultures. He'll see a person wearing an unofficial uniform - Mr Motorist has nothing in his closet that even closely resembles the gear on the cyclist - and he'll see a bike so far removed from any bike he has ever owned.

He'll realise that in order to ride his bike he would have to infiltrate a sub-culture populated by individuals very unlike himself. He would have to invest in gear and clothes. Worst of all, Mr Motorist would find himself 'making a statement' by riding.

Mr Motorist, like most people, doesn't want to make a statement. He just wants to live his life, not climb onto a platform and become a visible statement-maker. He knows the environment is an important issue. He knows the facts. But he is just Joe Average and always will be. He just thinks riding his bike to work would be nice, healthy and quicker than driving. But the idea is quickly dropped.


When Mr Motorist is stuck in traffic on the way home because of a bike protest/demonstration/celebration, he isn't going to be any closer to hopping on a bike. He will be pushed farther away from the thought than he ever was. Joe Average doesn't have much respect for this kind of activism. I wish he did, but he doesn't. He's just going to get pissed off.

Now let's imagine Mr Motorist sitting in traffic and glancing out of the window. He watches a chap ride past. Briefcase strapped to the back pannier. Wearing a suit. Not flying along like he is out to break records, just riding steady. the only gear on him is clips on his trouser legs. Taking it easy, not challenging the motorized traffic, just working with it. Preferably cycling on safe, protected cycle tracks or bike lanes. The bike on which the man is sitting resembles the one in Mr Motorist's garage.

And then Mr Motorist sees a woman pass by him. On a cool 'sit up and beg' bike. Her briefcase in her basket, adorned with plastic flowers. The basket, not the briefcase. She is wearing a skirt and stylish shoes. Listening to her iPod. A good, steady pace.

Then, we dare to assume, Mr Motorist would think, "I wouldn't mind riding my bike to work. It's only 15 km. That guy looks like me. Same suit. Same bike. And that woman makes it look easy..."

Mr Motorist would instantly see his own reflection in these riders. He would realise that in order to ride to work he would only have to drag his bike out of the garage, invest in trouser leg clips. In far less time than it takes him to drive to work, he would be ready to ride.

He wouldn't have to make a statement. He would just be another cyclist on his way to work. He would blend in. He would feel like he is doing something good for himself and for the planet. Without having to climb a soapbox to do so.

Here's the rub. All those who are so passionate about helping increase bicycle usage in urban areas, understand how Joe Average thinks. Help Joe Average fit in. Don't alienate him by highlighting the differences between you and him. We're all in this together.

Activists are first out of the blocks and more power to them, but it is Joe Average and his friends who will end up saving the planet, if given the chance.

And when bike usage increases, bike accidents decrease and cities and towns will have no choice but to invest in infrastructure, facilities. If you build it, they will come.

Make it look effortless and the journey towards a bike culture with be so, too.

That's our take on it.

For more effortless bike culture images, see Copenhagen Cycle Chic.
Critical Manners - a positive alternative. 


Now here is a wonderfully designed advancement on the famous City Bike system in Copenhagen, providing free [or cheap] bikes for the people to borrow.

Ladies and Gentlemen - The Bike Dispenser. A Dutch company has been really on the ball in thinking up this brilliant system for providing large numbers [50-100] of specially-designed bikes to whomever fancies to use them.

The goal is to integrate the bike more into the daily commute and the system is earmarked for placement near train stations in the Netherlands. In October 2007 a Bikedispenser opened at the station at Arnhem-Zuid, primarily for usage by commuters between the station and the industrial areas of Gelderse Poort and Kronenburg.

Many people ride their bikes to their departure train station, but few have a bike on the other end for the final leg between their arrival station and their place of work or education.

With a handy chipcard, you release a bike, ride to work and deliver it back at the station after quitting time.

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Brilliant stuff. We love it. We only wish we thought of it first.
Check out the website [in Dutch and English] for more information. 


We've had a .pdf hanging about the blog for awhile, published by the European Union and called ”Cycling – The Way Ahead for Towns and Cities.” The .pdf can be downloaded here.

We've perused it before but now we've actually read it. And we can tell all you bike advocates out there one thing... you'd better read it, too.

It's chock full of great stats and great inspiration for improving the conditions of the bike as a form of transport.

One statistic was, for us, rather spectacular. The report states that it is a totally unknown fact that came to light in the survey of Europeans:


73% of Europeans. There are 494 million Europeans in the Union. That means that 360 million of them are, more or less, very pro-bicycle. That's more people than live in the USA and Canada and Australia put together.

If that's not an optimistic statistic, we don't know what is. In addition, 83% of Europeans agree that public transport should recieve preferential treatment over private cars and 82% say that environmental questions are a priority issue. Again... groovaliciousness.
Get on your bikes.


People are aware. People seek change and they seek alternatives. They are willing to adapt. What can help them do so? Help them get on their bikes? Infrastructure. Investment from city councils. It's that simple.

Even in the United Kingdom, the report tells us, the Automobile Association is wholly in favour of persuading its members to step up their use of bicycles and has published a study on motorists who also cycle, entitled ‘Cycling motorists’.

More cyclists means better driving conditions. We have to live together, after all, and we here at don't pray for the demise of the automobile. On the contrary.
We just think that more bikes means less pollution.
More bikes means better health for the population.
More bikes means better traffic flow.

Especially when you consider that 30% of car journeys in the EU cover distances less than 3km.
Get on your bikes.

The report has many interesting points. Get this one...
The level of pollution inside a car is invariably higher than that of the ambient air (a motorist breathes in approximately twice as much CO as a cyclist, and approximately 50 % more nitrogen oxides). Let's start spreading THIS fact around the car driver community, shall we? And all you cyclists in London who hopped onto that bike mask trend... why not give them to the motorists?
Get on your bikes.

The report highlights the benefits of riding bikes instead of driving:
Every trip taken with a bicycle rather than with a car generates considerable savings and advantages both for the individual and for the urban community, such as:

- total lack of impact on the quality of life in the town (neither noise nor pollution);
- preservation of monuments and planted areas;
- less space taken up on the ground, both for moving and for parking, and hence a more profitable use of the surface area;
- less deterioration to the road network and a reduction in the need for new road infrastructures;
- improvement to the attractiveness of town centres (shops, culture, recreational activities, social life);
- fewer traffic jams and the economic losses which they entail;
- increased fluidity of car circulation;
- increased appeal of public transport;
- greater accessibility to typically urban services for the entire population (including adolescents and young adults);
- parents freed from the chore of transporting their children gain time and money;
- cyclists gain considerable time over short and medium distances;
- possible disappearance of the need for a second car for a household (and hence an increase in the household budget available);
Get on your bikes.

Cycling can only be stepped up if more people buy bicycles. A majority in the public would be willing to purchase a bicycle if their municipality gave them certain signs of encouragement to use one.

Another survey reveals that cyclists themselves — and who are thus already bike users — are waiting for cycling facilities to be introduced (58% state that they would cycle more often if the facilities were better).
Reasons which encourage people to purchase a bicycle or use it more often:

- Cycling facilities, access facilities/shortcuts/ for cyclists ......70%
- Restrictions to car traffic . . . . . . . . . .28%
- Supervised bicycle parking areas . . .21%
- Promotion campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . .11%
- Hire or lease of bicycles . . . . . . . . . . .8%

Velo-city® is the largest cycling planning conference series in the world. In order to raise awareness for the next conference in Brussels in 2009, the European Cycling Federation (ECF) has produced a promotion video that is now on YouTube.

Please let us know if you have comments or questions. We love to hear about bike advocacy projects around the world. 


Cool Car by Harbour (by [Zakkaliciousness])

When our elderly citizens reach the point when they can no longer cycle, we equip them with alternatives, so they can get around town.

The last thing we want is for them to be restricted in their mobility. They have a better quality of life if they can still get out and around and shop and visit friends.

We saw this funky version of one of the many alternative transport forms down by the harbour in Copenhagen. It's the coolest little motor we've seen in a long time. Electric, of course - this is Denmark, after all.

Nice and narrow so he doesn't take up too much space on the bike lanes - which is where he zips along - and stylish to boot.

What a wicked ride. He was hanging out watching the construction on the other side of the harbour and loved the fact that we asked to take a photo.

We have a groovy post over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic about bike culture in Copenhagen and the reasons Copenhageners ride as much as they do. Have a gander. And put in your two eurocents worth.


For the record, most electric vechicles for the elderly or motion-restricted look something like this:


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Old School Analogue Dreams - Dapper Text Checking, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Now this is bike streetstyle to us.
Just an average, dapper Copenhagener riding a decent bike [looks like a newish Raleigh to us] from A to B, dressed in his normal clothes.

Not riding for speed, just riding with style. Sums up this bike culture in which we live, really.

While we enjoy the stats about biking in our city, and we like to ride fast on occasion, we try to remember this:

"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen."
Louis L'Amour, novelist (1908-1988)


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I Heart Copenhagen, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

This news piece from BBC is just too bizarre to pass by. We don't know if we should add him to our Bikes We Like feature or set up a support fund for the man. Thanks to Deepbluesea for sending us the link.

A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation. Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex.

Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years. Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.

Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply. "They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down.

"The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex." Both cleaners, who were "extremely shocked", told the hostel manager who called police.

Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: "In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a 'cycle-sexualist'."

Stewart had denied the offence, claiming it was caused by a misunderstanding after he had too much to drink.

It's funny. It's strange. But what really disgusts us is the fact that the man was doing whatever it was he was doing in the privacy of his own room. It's nobody's business what he does in there. It's consensual sex between a man and his bike. This would never fly in Denmark. Invasion of privacty and all that. And even if the chap did it on the City Hall Square people would either walk past and shrug or through coins into a hat, thinking it was street performance.

If the man was molesting a child's tricycle... fine. Take him down, bailiff. But honestly... leave the man alone in his own room. Just make sure he has bike oil handy.

The whole cargo bike concept was born in Denmark over 70 years ago and there are few places in the world where so many versions of the cargo bike are to be found.

These cargo bikes are enjoying a renaissance now that other markets on a global level have discovered the concept.

We have an earlier post about some of the many brands of cargo bikes in Copenhagen, but we thought we'd add another post about even more brands.

The one above is the Winther Kangaroo Bike. We've never had the chance to ride one, but we're seeing more and more of them on the streets around us.


Above we see six wheels in all - the first one is a classic Nihola Cargo Bike and the one of the left is a typical bike used by our elderly citizens who are a little less mobile than they used to be. Perfect for shopping for groceries and getting around a lot quicker.

The two photos above are examples of the old classic delivery bike. The first photo is taken at a hospital, where like many institutions, bikes are used to get around. Delivering the internal post, supplies, what have you.
The second photo is from the Copenhagen Zoo, where the different zookeepers have bikes that belong to the different exhibits. The ones featured belong to the Tapir House.

The good people at Velorbis are now producing these Short Johns again. Which thrills us to no end.


While not at all a cargo bike, this is one of our bikes transformed into a Fruit Transportation Vehicle. :-)


Above is the classic Long John cargo bike, first built back in the 1930's and now being born again by Velorbis.

I've seen this chap a few times in Copenhagen and was totally curious as to what he used the custom rack for. The mystery was solved when I saw him one evening with a massive bass in a case leaning perfectly against the rails. 


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Way Home, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Afternoon commuting on Knippels Bridge in Copenhagen. It's not hard to spot the tourists. They're at the front of the queue with helmets and biking shoes, pannier bags, chunky wheels and even a map holder.

Looking totally and utterly out of place in an everday urban Copenhagen setting. Don't get me wrong, it's cool to see touring riders now and then. It's just that this photo really emphasises the casualness of Copenhagen bike life.

The rest of the crowd behind them are your everyday Copenhageners. A woman with a Nihola cargo bike, a man with his groceries in a plastic bag.
And so on.


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We love details.

On one Sunday afternoon, at one bike rack near one metro station, we found these four lovely details that really show the glory of our bike culture.

It's your bike.
Make it yours.

The ladybird bell at top left is so cool. When you pull the trigger, the wings fly out and the bell rings.

The yellow flower at bottom left is a fantastic simple detail that makes the bike personalised. Wonderful simplicity.


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Bike, originally uploaded by Tommy Nelson.

Right. Have a look at this photo from Tommy Nelson on Flickr.

Now I really don't want to hear anybody's excuses about "oh, it's a bit too chilly to ride today..." or "the weather report calls for drizzle... I'll take the car..."

When I see a photo like this, no excuses seem to do.

On your bikes, the lot of you.

And check this out... a little film from Trondheim, Norway. We posted about a proposed bike tunnel in the town of Bodø, and this is another marriage of tech and bike. Built in 1993, it's the world's first bike lift - sykkelheis - in Norwegian.

We're not quite sure what to think about it. We like initative. We like new thinking in regards to bike culture. But that hill doesn't look that nasty. But hey, if it gets more Trondheimians on their bike, then so be it.


A classic Copenhagen bike lane with Copenhageners doing what they do best.

We found a spot of statistics from Eurobarometer about how many kilometres a year citizens of EU countries ride bikes on average.

There is a massive difference between top and bottom.

The Netherlands.............1019 km
Denmark..........................958 km
Belgium............................327 km
Germany.........................300 km
Sweden............................300 km
Finland.............................282 km
Ireland.............................228 km
Italy..................................168 km
Austria.............................154 km
Greece................................91 km
France................................87 km
UK......................................81 km
Luxembourg....................48 km
Portugal............................35 km
Spain.................................24 km

Here's the figures for North America:
USA/Canada...................30 km

Netherlands and Denmark on top... hardly a surprise.

For us Finland's very respectable finish is a pleasant surprise. Nice one. Ireland, too.
A bit surprising that the UK is so far down the list with a paltry 81 km a year, considering the impressive push for bike culture in the country.

Spain and Portugal? Shocking. Don't give us the 'it's hot' excuse. Even Greece is way ahead of you. :-)

The figures for USA and Canada are nothing to write home about, either. But there are so many bike advocates in certain cities over there that this number is sure to rise.

All in all, these numbers have to rise. There is so much focus on urban biking these days. Everybody wants to "Copenhagenize" their cities. So much good energy in London, Zürich, Munich and many North American cities.

Norway plans on doubling the amount of trips by bike by 2015 and Sweden has plans on drastic increases, too.

Even Denmark in general, and Copenhagen in specific, are actively working towards increasing ever aspect of biking.

Work to be done, all around. Good luck to all involved. 


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