Monday, September 21, 2015

Copenhagen bikes 1

It's been a while since I've run a writer's desk photo. This one is in Copenhagen. I'm on my way to Esplanada and I have stopped for a coffee and to write up my notes.

I gave my initial impressions of Copenhagen in my last post. I was wise to do so.

Have you ever noticed how impressions blur when you are travelling? It's like being in a cocoon. At any point we establish a familiarity; known haunts, identified corners, places to shop. And, then, suddenly, we move and a new cocoon forms, replacing the old. That previous cocoon vanishes with speed.

This shot is another Copenhagen bike scene. I want to write a proper follow up post on bikes, but have yet to find the time to do supporting research. Why, for example, does Copenhagen have so many bikes compared to most other places?

It's partly a matter of terrain. Copenhagen is flat, so you can scoot along at a fair old speed. No grinding hill climbs when it may well be easier to walk. This means (among other things) that you can use simpler bikes. Most Copenhagen bikes do not appear to have gears.

It's partly that a decision was made back in the 1990s to modify roads to include cycle ways. In some cases, this involved physical modification  to roads, in others clear markings.

Integration of car and cycling road rules helps as well. But overall, the key ingredient is simply making cycling as easy as possible. No special planning is required, just hop on your own bike or hire one at the many bike hire places.

But now there is a problem. it's called parking! Copenhagen simply does not have sufficient places to park all those bikes! More parking space is required! There is also a problem with disposal of old bikes. This leads to a cheap way to start cycling. Buy a second hand bike at a police auction! This gives you a start for as little as $10 or $20.

In my next post I will look at some of the weird and wonderful variety in Copenhagen cycling life.


Ramana kindly sent me this link recording the Japanese solution to the bike parking problem.


Rummuser said...

Whether is is bikes or cars, parking and disposal of old ones seems to be the problem of modern urban life!

Jim Belshaw said...

Just too true, Ramana

Rummuser said...

Here is a solution.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Ramana. Will bring this up in the main post.