- Bicycle Culture by Design: Something About Worldwide Cycling

Halfdan Rasmussen was a Danish poet - and resistance fighter during WW2 - who was well-known both for his nonsense verse for children and his societal critique. In one of his books - Tosserier i udvalg from 1960 he included a satirical song/poem that rings incredibly true in 2010. The illustration, above, is from the poem, picturing a devil on a bicycle.

It is a satirical piece taking the piss out of motorists and their disdain for cyclists. It dates from 1960 when urban planning in Denmark was already starting to revolve around the car and people were buying them in large numbers. Cycling levels were falling and - like we see even today here in Denmark - cycling was getting a heap of bad press.It is incredibly difficult to translate it quickly, not least because it's designed to rhyme in Danish, but here's the meat in the sandwich: Something About Worldwide CyclingSpeech given at KDAK's AGM by the President of The SADMBIIPD Party"Sammenslutning af Dannebrogsmænd med benzindrevne indretninger købt på dollarbasis" or "Union of Danish Patriots with Petrol Driven Vehicles Bought with Dollars"Dear party members! Those who are gathered here today to speak about the motorists' causeknow all too well that it isn't Hamlet or Van Gogh that are society's motor today.He who wants to feel must learn to hear the motor-driven song in his bloodif he wishes to follow the times and drive the past farther behind us.As we all know our chosen party is elected legally by the voterswith percentages from the agricultural and heavy-machinery industries.But if our party will be known as one that honourably pays its debtsit is, however, here we must danse and leap if we are to profit from society.There is, however, one thing that makes our fight difficult, in every respect;People with a knife up their sleeveswho knock the lamp out of our hands in order to build foundations on sandThese methods and this fanaticism, pretending to be something they're notlabel themselves as savage cyclists that is financed by foreign powers!Those of us who drive our cars to our daily chores, to watch over our proud old nationmeet each day, both here and in Herning, the pedalling provocation of the massesNothing is sacred for these subjects who create chaos and remote-controlled defiancein order to profit from future generations who have a completely different currency than us!Therefore, and without wavering one bit, but because of reasons that demand an answerwe should stand firm and fight these tormentors - in order to preserve the tormentors we have.Those who wish to cycle must cycle on the path, in a democratic and noble wayBecause like it says in the encyclopaedia, pigs in fine clothes are still just pigs!So we must and will fight like lions and strike these mad dogs of cyclingbefore they maul us all, large and small.It is cycling that threatens the nation, the king and the long arm of the lawIt is cycling that squeezes the lemon, like a baby hyena at it's mothers breastCountrymen and farmers, from Jutland and Denmark alike, at home and abroad, at sea and on land!

Like Holger Danske we throw down our gloves and shout at every cyclist, 'STOP'!

Stop, because you're driving our country into the ditch!Stop before the hour to light your bike lights arrivesThe abyss before us is enormous. The canyon is wider still.

The greatest day will be that when the cyclists leave!

Sound familiar? :-)

Thanks to Hans for the poem.

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