TagCopenhagen

Reverse traffic planning

Nothing revolutionary, just a clever design. It’s a t-shirt worn by Bicycle Innovation Lab co-founder Lasse Schelde in Copenhagen. I met Lasse at the Svagerløb Danish Cargo Bike Championships on August 18, 2012 (see all photos). The graphic is an upside-down pyramid. From the top it moves to the bottom with decreasing area as follows:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Utility Bicycles
  • Public Transport
  • Taxi/Transport
  • Car Sharing
  • Own Car
  • Airplane

There are many ways to interpret this graphic, but I see it as one of decreasing efficiency in moving people (disregarding nuances of population and distance).

A photo of me cycling in the team relay race on the world’s fastest cargo bike. 

Lasse and I were on the same team for the relay race. Miche and Brandon Gobel all rode his Bullitt. I started first so I wouldn’t have to carry any of the luggage (which consisted of two car tires and a wooden Carlsberg beer crate). The race was hosted on the Carlsberg brewery lot.

What is Conversation Cycling?

Mikael Colville-Anderson posted a link to this photo set called Conversation Cycling (his photo above). The concept of Conversation Cycling is simple:

Build a bikeway so two people can cycle side-by-side to have a pleasant chat. 

I want this for Chicago. When you ride with friends, how would you prefer to ride: yelling ahead in our narrow bike lanes or conversing to the side? This is sometimes possible on the Lakefront Trail, but not always: the Lakefront Trail’s maximum width is the same as the standard with for cycle tracks in Europe!

Bike lanes in the United States, when they’re available and not being parked in, are not even wide enough for one person to ride without danger of being doored. It’s not surprising this is the case. In addition to how we prioritize the movement of automobiles and the placement of parking before pedaling, the national minimum width for a bike lane is 4 feet (without gutter), or 5 feet when next to parked cars or with a gutter.

I gathered some hard evidence: My handlebars are 28 inches wide. The door of my roommate’s car is 32 inches wide. 28+32 = 60 inches, or 5 feet. And that’s without a buffer. Essentially, bike lanes as we’ve built them are not compatible with the rest of the street.

Two Department of Revenue workers cycle side by side, meeting the edges of the bike lane, on Armitage Avenue in Lincoln Park. Photo by Mike Travis. 

Door zone bike lanes are not unique to any American city. Illustration by Gary Kavanagh. 

A group cycles on Damen Avenue in and out of the bike lane. Photo by Eric Rogers. 

More evidence of your bicycling culture transition

Low numbers of people in “your” cycling organizations and advocacy groups. From the comments on “Why I’m not a ‘cyclist’ anymore,” a story about moving from a bicycle subculture (United States) to bicycle culture (Copenhagen):

In Amsterdam, 700,000(?) people cycle, only 4,000 are member of the Fietsersbond (cyclist’s union). We always explain this comparing it to the non-existing vacuum-cleaners union. Everybody owns and uses a vacuum cleaner, no-one feels the urge to unite themselves around this.

People riding their bicycles in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Welcome to Amsterdam

The coolest city in Europe. And probably where I spent most of the time bicycling around town. I carried my GPS tracker with me at all times in Europe. I had to edit the routes to exclude my train trip to Utrecht and back. In the end, I biked about 134 kilometers / 83 miles (see my map).

My rental bike on the docklands in the ‘t IJ looking towards Centraal Station. The cruise ship passenger terminal is on the left. The bike is a Gazelle Superieur Special. I paid €5 per day and a €50 deposit. Thanks to Álvaro for the recommendation of Recycled Rentals.

One of the free ferries, this one to IJ-Buurtveer. I took this one instead, to Buiksloterwegveer (Amsterdam Nord).

Amsterdam can be boiled down to a few things: Bikes, beer, and water. This post is heavy on water, and light on bikes. A beautifully yellow tugboat owned by the Port of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has trains going everywhere, from Centraal Station, every few minutes. 32 trains every hour. An additional 18 trains daily. The Thalys has service to Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France, nine times per day. I arrived in the station from Wuppertal, Germany (via Venlo and Eindhoven). I left the station to get to Utrecht for a day trip and then I left the station on the DB CityNightLine to Copenhagen (a magical 15-hour journey).

Houseboats in the canals and Amstel river are quite common. A Flickr commenter describes a little more about it (click on the photo to read it).

Not everyone has a purpose-built cargo bike in Amsterdam, but more exist here than anywhere else (except perhaps Copenhagen). Just tote your stuff under your arm, including a sheet of plywood. You might want to try out the WorkCycles Fr8 – a locally designed cargo bike.

And a gratuitous shot of me bicycling towards the docklands. I should have been smiling – as I was having such a wonderful time, but maybe I’m not because it was kind of cold.

View the 60 other photos I’ve uploaded of Amsterdam. If you want to visit, let me help you plan your trip.

Europe trip recap: List of cities I visited

All links lead to a photo or photoset of that city. More links will be added as I upload more photos. Cities are in the order I traveled through Europe, over 18 days.

All blogs about this trip are under the tag, Europe trip.

A bike “jam” – everyone in the photo is performing a “Copenhagen left” or box turn.

The Schwebebahn is the world’s oldest operating monorail that operates daily in the North Rhine-Westphalia city of Wuppertal, Germany.

A place to rest

While in Copenhagen this past weekend for about 60 hours, I hung out with Mikael of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

After several drinks in a classy basement restaurant, we took a little tour of some neat bicycling infrastructure and “landed” on this hand and foot rest for people waiting at the light. This nifty device means you don’t have to take your feet off the pedals or you can use it as a launch pad.

The message on the foot rest says, “Hi, cyclist! Rest your foot here… and thank you for cycling in the city.”

Mikael has written much more about how cyclists in Copenhagen “hold on” to their city.

(When I passed it on Monday morning, I saw a leftover high heel shoe hanging on the footrest. Did somebody lose it or is someone trying to make a joke?)

Photos by Mikael.

Thanking your city’s bicycle riders

A bike counter outside of City Hall in central Copenhagen on the westbound side of Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard.

A nice way of saying, “Hey, the city values you for riding your bike.”

It’s currently 1°C at 9:21 in the morning of Monday, January 10, 2011. So far today, 2,142 people have biked past this counter (and only in this direction, westbound). 43,504 have biked past in 2011 (again, westbound only) and it’s only the 10th day of the year.

What’s the best your city can do? I’m a little embarrassed to say Chicago can only throw 3,100 cyclists in the ring, in warm weather, and in two directions on Milwaukee Avenue at Grand Avenue.

UPDATE: One thing this sign might say if it had some intelligence and a voicebox, “Hey cyclist, you’re one of 4,000 people to have ridden on this street today. Good job, and thank you for not contributing to our growing car traffic congestion problem as well as pollution emission!”

How the Danish have fun on bikes

A cargo bike race occurs in Copenhagen each year. More than Danes compete. This year’s Danish Cargo Bike Championships was last Saturday, on June 26, 2010. You can read the rules in English on the official website.

It looks like a lot of fun. The modern incarnation was held first in 2009. Prior to last year’s race, there were competitions in the 20th century until 1960. View the race starting point on Google Maps, in Søren Kierkegaards Plads on the Copenhagen Harbor.

There’re races for three-wheeled bikes.

And there’re races for two-wheeled bikes. These two racers are riding Harry vs. Larry Bullitts. Harry vs. Larry was a sponsor for this year’s championships. You can buy Bullitts at Copenhagen Cyclery in Chicago, Illinois.

Racers have to carry car tires (see top photo) and if I were to race with my Yuba Mundo, I would need to practice at home. My Mundo doesn’t have a flatbed like the pictured bikes, which would make it easy to throw on an automobile tire.

The snow debate: Who should clear sidewalks?

A couple of days ago (I think it was Friday night, December 18, 2009), a storm dumped several feet of snow in the northeast United States, covering New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The storm was so eventful that Metro (Washington, D.C.) stored many of its trains in the subway tunnels to avoid getting them covered in heavy snow, and applied “heater tape” to the third rails to keep them from getting new ice after two passes from plows and deicing trains. [This information comes from the linked Metro press release on December 19, 2009.]

Now Streetsblog NYC is hosting the debate about snow removal from sidewalks. Why doesn’t anyone do it, and who should do it? Images of unplowed sidewalks and pedestrians walking in clean and clear streets bring up issues about priorities in street design and maintenance.

Many municipalities have ordinances requiring the property owner to remove snow from the sidewalk (Chicago even specifies a time frame in which the work must be completed; at my last apartment, I shoveled the snow from the sidewalk and porches for a deduction in rent). Many people report how these laws pass through the winter without enforcement.

My bike waits for me on unplowed sidewalk in front of my school. I live in Chicago, Illinois, not the east coast.

A plow removes snow from a bike lane in Copenhagen, Denmark. Is this something we can bring to our bike lanes and sidewalks in the United States?

Unaffected by weather, or politics at COP15

The Danish mail delivery worker rides their bike in the winter. No need to jump start dead batteries or leave the engine running. No fuel, no emissions. No politics.

Look at how many bags of mail the bicycle can carry. Check out the bicycle’s wheeled stand system (see the small gray wheels behind the front bike wheel). When the worker has reached their destination, they can deploy the small wheels (think training wheels for a child) and walk with the bike.

For the Christmas and holiday shopping season, United Parcel Service (UPS) hires part-time workers to deliver packages via bicycle.

The company started bike delivery in 2008 in Portland, Oregon. I should probably say re-started, because UPS was founded in Seattle, Washington, by a young person riding his bicycle to deliver goods. This year, UPS expanded the program to Silicon Valley, California (video).

UPS can’t get all the credit for super-ultra-low-emissions vehicles (don’t forget a van still trucks these packages to a drop off site for the bike worker). Messengers, cycle couriers, and food delivery people work all year round in every major American city.

© 2017 Steven Can Plan

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑