Monday, May 07, 2007

Bicycle Traffic Jam: Copenhagen

Three bike posts in a row? What can I say, the weather's been great for riding. Anyway, how does Europe do it, the whole bikes-for-commuting thing? Human-centric urban planning seems to have been the driver. According to Good Magazine's excellent piece on decongestion, traffic problems in the 1970's forced many European cities to look at alternatives to cars. Additionally, mild weather (made milder by climate change in coming years?) seems to have an effect. It rarely gets hot enough to sweat in Copenhagen (summers average around 68°F (20°C). However, it does get cold, but I've found it more fun to ride in the cold than in the heat. For that, the coat guards that come standard on Dutch Opafiets make that much more sense.

So how do we do the same in America, and not just in the cool-weather Pacific Northwest and the cities of Northern California? Culture has something to do with it, along with the fact bike lanes are either unsafe or nonexistent. (Check out this Streetfilms video for lane options around the world.) I do know commuting to a meeting and beating colleagues who've decided to Metro or drive makes all the world's problems seem mildly manageable. It still strikes me as odd that Americans feel some kind of way about riding a bicycle in a suit and tie. I think it's quite dignified, practical even. Caveat-my girlfriend says I smell like the outdoors after riding, although "It's nice. I like it." This, coming from a Vera Wang fan. That's why a man needs a travel bottle of Paul Smith London, which, if the city really smelled that way it'd be even cooler.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo this post rocks!

4:21 PM  
Blogger E said...

if you need a ladies' bike for your lady, ill sell you mine.

i went riding one day. it was a nice thought. then i realized, i live in the south, it's very hot, and i'm very likely to get jacked up by a car due to my lack of coordination and their, our, lack of self control at the wheel.

10:16 PM  
Blogger ek said...

e, you're right. for the past 2 weeks it's been mild in DC. yesterday though, summer was spot-on. luckily, by the time we'd left the pizzeria the rain had calmed all that sun down, and the traffic too. that was good, because rear racks aren't really made to carry people.

more info on the cycle would be appreciated.

9:22 AM  

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