22 October 2014

Portraits of cyclists : Learning to cycle at 12 is considered as “very late”


I from Copenhagen. I bike to work almost every day. Actually, it can depend on the weather. I cycle around 15 kilometers.
I'm a manager at Nike, so I must be well dress-up when I go to work on weekdays.”

What is your favorite route in the city?”
Definitely, where there are the less people.”

What is the first memory which comes to you mind related to cycling and your childhood?”
I was 12 when I learned cycling, and this is considered to be very late. So, I remember that I was very embarrassed.”

Nike - portrait

Nike - basket

More pictures of Copenhagen on Byliv in CPH.

15 October 2014

Portraits of cyclists - Mads: “It's a bike from the 70's”


Where did you get you nice Peugeot race bike?”
I bought it when I started working as a carpenter. The workshop was 20 km from my home. I preferred biking than taking the bus, in order to manage my own time. So, I bought this race bike. It's a bike from the 70's, I think.

To finish, I just would like to suggest that people should bike more.”

Mads - Portraits

Mads - bike

More pictures of Copenhagen on Byliv in CPH.

14 October 2014

Cycle Chic in Nantes (France)

Cycling right in the heart of the city with almost no more cars.

Nantes will host Vélo-City 2015 and Cycle Chic went there to photograph Citizen Cyclists. Read more about the cycling policy in Nantes on Copenhagenize.com: Nantes - A City Getting it Right.

Cycling on a pedestrian street allowed to the bicycle users.

Cycling on the square closed to the car traffic.

Family time on a Bicloo.

Bike to work on a Bicloo.

8 October 2014

Portraits of cyclists : A story of bike and happiness


I have been living in Copenhagen for many years. I cycle here every day with my purple bike. Actually, I live a little bit outside the city, 7 km from here (the city-center). I work at the Royal Theatre.”

Do you have a favorite route when you cycle through the city?”
Of course! I like to bike in the center. The atmosphere is so cosy and the streets are full of people.”

Have you noticed that here we're in a bicycle street? Cars must follow the pace of the cyclists.”
No. But it's really interesting.”

Your bike and your earrings are the same color.”
It's not a coincidence. I like pink and purple. I receive lots of compliments about my bike. People don't hesitate to tell me that seeing a purple bike makes them happy. It happened to me a couple of time. I didn't know these people, they just came to me - quite often when it was a grey day - and they said “I'm sorry... but I would like to say... your bike... it makes me so happy”. So, I replied that I'm really happy too. It gives me lots of good energy.”


More pictures of Copenhagen on Byliv in CPH

1 October 2014

Portraits of cyclists - Leila: “If I have to take the train, I take my bike with me”


I'm from the suburb of Copenhagen and I cycle about 10 kilometers every day with this comfortable bicycle.

I bike everywhere, even when I'm out of town and when I'm traveling. If I have to take the train, I take my bike with me. I do it to save time and not to wait for the bus.”

Leila - portrait

Leila - detail

More pictures of Copenhagen on Byliv in CPH.

24 September 2014

Portraits of Cyclists - Vintage Outfit Woman: “I like 40's/50's outfits and it fits cycling”

40's cyclist - portrait

I'm from Copenhagen. I cycle every day with this kind of skirt. I like the late 40's / beginning 50's outfits.

I work in a clothing store named Mondo Kaos (in Nørrebro). We sell new clothes inspired by the 40's/50's. It's very vintage inspired.

I like this look since it's very feminine and it fits cycling.”

40's cyclist

40's cyclist - detail

More pictures on Byliv in Copenhagen.

22 September 2014

Portraits of Cyclists in Paris

Vélib was free of charge that day since the level of pollution was above the Health organisations recommended thresholds. 

Paris has changed a lot during the last couple of years. One of the changes I - Clotilde - noticed during these very sunny and warm days of September is the number of cyclists in the streets. Bicycle users are everywhere in the French capital. Most of all, cyclists can be young students as well as retired people; women or men; they wear suits, nice clothes and only a few wear an helmet... they are Citizen Cyclists. They bike to work and do not seem so afraid of crossing major car-centric intersections. They look like all the Parisians, they want to get around town as fast as possible. They are go-getter, intrepid, they live with risks around them but remain chic.

But can Paris reach 15% of modal share by 2020 without questioning its bicycle infrastructure?

A little thought from my side: Bicycle users are already increasing in high number out there, so hurry up and build wide, separated, well-maintained bike tracks for them if you want to reach your goal.

I had a discussion with two very different people who cycle often even though the bike infrastructures are limited. Either complaining or not.

François riding a Vélib

"I'm from Paris. I ride a Vélib very frequently. Let's say every day. Actually, it depends of the weather, it depends of the hills and of the length of the trip. If I go to a meeting on the other side of Paris, I take the metro. Generally speaking, I cycle around 15 or 20 minutes."

"I see more and more people cycling in Paris. Why did you decide to use this mode of transportation?
"It's clearly because of the Vélib service. It's make it's much easier to get around by bike."

"Do you want to buy your own bicycle?"
"Definitely not. I don't want to bother myself with a bicycle and the Vélib subscription is cheap."

"What do you thing about the bicycle infrastructure?"
"There are OK. I'm aware that cycling in Paris in dangerous. Every morning when I'm biking to work, I'm thinking that I should be more cautious. I think about  my children. It's like leaving for the battlefield.

"I don't get it. You're glad to cycle, you even cross one of the busiest intersection in Paris while eating your croissant but you have the feeling that cycling is dangerous...."

"Let's imagine that the City of Paris decide to invest significantly in bicycle infrastructure, would you agree?"
"No, the infrastructure are good enough."

François - vélib

Parisians seems to be more confident riding Vélib now. They even eat their croissant while cycling.

Mathilde riding her personal bike
Mathilde - portrait

"I'm from Paris. I cycle almost every day. I work at home but when I go to a meeting, most of the time I go by bike. I avoid the metro as much as possible."

"In which district of Paris do you cycle?"
"I'm a kamikaze cyclist and I go across Paris even. I live in north-east of Paris and go often in the south to work. In this case, I cycle 15 kilometres."

"What do you think about the bicycle infrastructures?"

" There is a lack of bike lanes. Most of all, there are not well-designed. Sometimes, I avoid cycling on the bike lanes since there are full of waste. When the machine clean the street for the cars all the waste are pushed on the bike lanes."



Compare to Copenhageners, Parisians are used to cycle in dense car traffic but they stop as soon as the weather is deteriorating.




10 September 2014

Portraits of cyclists: Sarah: “I wanted to support a Danish brand”

Sarah - portrait


I'm from Copenhagen. I cycle every day mostly in the city-center.
I ride a Velorbis bicycle, that I purchased since I wanted to support a Danish brand and I really wanted this wooden box.”

Sarah - basket

More pictures of Copenhagen on Byliv in CPH.

7 September 2014

The Lulu Turns Seven - A Cycling Life in Copenhagen

Heading home from kindergarten in the afternoon

The Lulu turned seven years old yesterday. You may know her from here on Cycle Chic or on my Instragram account Zakkatography or even just by her hashtag #thelulu on Twitter and Instagram. She may be "The World's Youngest Urbanist as you can read here and then again here" or even here but at the end of the day, she's my girl and she just turned seven.

Her first seven years in Copenhagen involved a lot of bicycles. Completely normal for a Copenhagener but still the object of interest for so many around the world. So... what do seven years of growing up in Copenhagen look like? I decided to show you.
Bite bike
Lulu's Ride Lulu-Sophia on Daddy's Velorbis

It starts early. There was a lot of baby carriage action in first couple of years of Lulu-Sophia's life, but as soon as she could sit up straight, it was time to strap her onto a bicycle. In Copenhagen you do this because you need to get around and do stuff, not because you're a "cyclist" or you are demonstratively peacocking your granola-crunchy world view. You simply have places to go and you live in a city where only 29% of households bother owning a car. Lulu-Sophia had the chance to try various options; sitting on a rear child's seat as well as a Bulldog seat - placed on the crossbar. In the last picture... no... she didn't perch on the back rack as we rode around. It was simply the first photo of her "on" a bike.

Bathtub Bike LongJohn LittleLulu
Cargo bikes came into the picture early on, as well. There are 40,000 cargo bikes in Greater Copenhagen. One quarter of all families with two or more kids have one. So it's no surprise, really. I hold the claim to the world's first bathtub bicycle (at left), in the front yard on a hot summer's day. But most of the time a cargo bike is just for getting around.
Lulu and Pippi Winter Sun in Her Eyes_1 Lulu To the Point Homeward Bound
Lulus New Bicycle Lulu et Moi

Lulu et Moi Felix & Lulu inventing new ways to double #thefelix #thelulu With @felixdk5
Personally, I prefer the Bulldog seat. I like the fact that it is a Danish design that is around ninety years old, sure, but nothing beats riding around your city with your kid between your arms. So easy and intimate to talk to them as you go. They see what you see and they see things that they want you to see. Lulu-Sophia is too big for the Bulldog now, but it lingered on my bike for a long while. Great for short trips. Of course, as the last photo attests, the fun of riding up front like that doesn't diminish. Good thing Lulu-Sophia has a big brother with a Chopper.

And sure... Daddy is a photographer, but I'm convinced that her eye for the shot comes from seeing up her city up close and personal from a bicycle. Her first attempts at street photography aren't bad at all.

Box Kids Lulus Chariot
Lulu-Sophia is no stranger to sitting in cargo bikes, either. I've estimated that my kids spend about five hours a YEAR in cars. I wouldn't even be able to start calculating how many hours they spend in cargo bikes. All the brands in Denmark - and there are over 20 - have the kids positioned up front. Again, the cosiest way to ride. I simply can't imagine having kids in a trailer behind me. That's just me. Every ride through the city is peppered with conversation and observation that you share.

Beach Transport Lulu Lulu Rain
Being a guy who has a thing or two to do with bicycles, we've been lucky to have a varied selection at our disposal. Mostly Bullitts from Larry vs Harry, but also an old school Long John and a three-wheeler Triobike.

Lulu Bicycle Brolley 2 - Cycling in Winter in Copenhagen Lulu Cool

Kids Waiting Kids in Bike
The kids' mum has a two-wheeler Christiania Bike (at right) so the cargo bike life certainly doesn't stop when they're with her.

Barcelona Felix et Lulu Support Vehicle BarcaLulu

Barcelona Lulu Cargo Felix et Lulu
On our summer holidays in Barcelona a few years ago, we borrowed a Bakfiets for a couple of weeks. After a long hard day on the beach, the cargo bike was a rolling lullaby that induced sleep. Something most parents with cargo bikes and small kids will know.

Beach Transport Lulu Reads
Copenhagen beaches have the same sleepy effect as Barcelona ones (at left), but when the kids are awake, the cargo bike is a rolling café, library, you name it.
Airing out the Triobike today with The Lulu #thelulu #cargobike #copenhagen Nice with a little extra support from the Lulu #thelulu #copenhagen #cargobike

Trip to IKEA Here's a new one. The Lulu making a snowman WHILE we're cycling #vikingbiking
When we have to head to the Walmart of furniture stores - IKEA - a couple times of year, we cycle out there. 26% of their customers in the two Copenhagen stores arrive by bike or public transport. It's only 10 km and while Lulu-Sophia can do that, it takes forever on the hills outside of the city on the route, so she gets to sit on the cargo bike. And hold every thing in place on the ride home. Oh, and we also lay claim to the world's first cargo bike snowman.

Barcelona Lulu Gracia Barcelona Felix i Lulu Gracia
Okay. Fine. Putting kids on bikes serves an efficient transport function. The ultimate goal is to get the rugrats independently mobile so you DON'T have to lug them around the whole time. This starts early, too. The law in Denmark states that kids are not allowed to ride unaccompanied until the age of .... six. To be honest, not many parents let their kids loose alone on bikes at six in Copenhagen, but Felix - Lulu-Sophia's big brother - was independently mobile by nine, cycling to school by himself.

Despite the confidence she exudes in the above photos, Lulu-Sophia never really rocked the balance bike thing. Her motor skills were different. I settled on training wheels and gradually bent them upwards to force her to learn how to stay upright. Worked fine with Felix, so we stuck to that system.

Lulu Rides Lulu Cargo
But not before Lulu-Sophia cut her teeth on tricycles. In the backyard. Around the neighbourhood. And this being Copenhagen, she has had a constant armada of kid-size cargo bikes at her disposal at her daycare, kindergarten and at school.

Lulus First Bike_4 Lulus First Bike_2

Lulus First Bike_7 Lulus First Bike Accident
With the training wheels, she was soon much more mobile and she loved it. You could sense her pride at being able to ride a bit faster, a bit farther. On the occasion of her first "bike accident" (bottom left), her grazed hand and knee were soon forgotten when Felix and I hugged her and congratulated her on falling off for the first time. A proud moment for a Copenhagen kid.

Lulu Leads the Way Daddy con Kids 03 - Cycling in Winter in Copenhagen
Lulu-Sophia, once she was stable enough, insisted on riding to kindergarten. Whatever the weather. It made her so proud. Although cycling in winter wasn't a new thing for her. Just doing it by herself was.
The Moment We've All Been Waiting For
One day at the bike parking at the school, a bigger kid walked past as Lulu-Sophia was locking her bike and commented - not mean or anything - "Hey, look... training wheels." That made Lulu-Sophia sad but also insistent that we practice more so she could ride without them. And above is the moment. That magical moment when someone nails it. They start riding by themselves for the very first time. Felix's face shows that he, too, understands the monumental moment.

The Lulu discovers puddles on her bicycle #thelulu #cyclechic The Lulu rocking it #thelulu #copenhagen

From there, things snowballed. The training wheels came off. The pride billowed. The little girl became - in the transport sense - a Copenhagener. Free to fly through puddles or decorate her basket.

The Lulu locking it #thelulu #copenhagen The Lulu taking "Gordon Ramsey" for a bike ride @olekassow #thelulu @cyclelogistics
Free to lock her own bike outside the school or to ride with chickens from Ole's urban farm if the occasion arises.
Back in Copenhagen. Back to The Lulu. #copenhagen #thelulu Lulu on the Back Rack
Sure, there are still days where Lulu gets a lift, but by and large she is a bicycle user in her own right. Every day to school and back. Every errand in the neighbourhood. To the beach, to the harbour, to birthdays, to the supermarket. Always right there in front of us on the cycle track or at our side. Our ride home from school is conversation time. How-was-your-day updates. The ride to school in the morning seems to focus on the weather at the beginning and then morphs into a million other subjects. Best parts of the day.

Groningen Kids_3 Groningen Kids
The joy and the pride remain strong. Even in Felix at the age of twelve. Spontaneously lifting her legs on a street in Groningen, Netherlands... enjoying the ride. Or taking up the challenge of a race against her big brother in Groningen. I took them with me on a work visit to the city. Here's what two Copenhagen kids thought about cycling in the Netherlands, by the way.

Svajerlob_Lulu_4 Spring Cleaning
Joy and pride are part of the package in a cycling life. I have never, however, done anything to hype the bike. I'm not a "cyclist" or a bike geek. I made a conscious decision to just make cycling a normal part of our life. Something as normal as water coming out of a tap. No bells and whistle and oooh, we're saving the world shit or oooh, cycling is healthy, green blahblahblah. Just make it normal. Unquestionably so. Sure, at above right, we have a biannual bike cleaning day where we wash and oil our bikes. Good to learn, but it's mostly to hang out together.

Amsterdam Kids_2 Kids and I on bikes all day in #paris today #thelulu #thefelix
We don't demonstratively cycle whenever we travel. Some places it's an obvious transport choice like Amsterdam and Paris. But here at home the bicycle is how we roll. It's how Lulu-Sophia has rolled for the first seven years of her life. It's a gift to her that will never stop giving.

Lulu decided to start counting cyclists rolling past. My little urbanist.
Lulu-Sophia has recently taken up counting cyclists and discussing behaviour.
She MIGHT have picked that up from some of my work conversations about certain projects at Copenhagenize Design Company, so given her status as the World's Youngest Urbanist, she might be taking it more seriously than I realised. :-)

You can follow The Lulu on my Instagram if you like. I post all sorts of stuff, but lots of Lulu on our cycling expeditions around Copenhagen.
School run with The Lulu today #copenhagen #thelulu The Lulu felt like being a cat today. #thelulu Me and The Lulu heading for the swimming pool #thelulu The Lulu & The Felix. Nuff said. #thelulu #thefelix The Lulu rocking the Bullitt on the school run today #thelulu #copenhagen Back in Copenhagen. Back to The Lulu. #copenhagen #thelulu Foggy morning school run with The Lulu #copenhagen #thelulu The Lulu, aged 6, exploring her city #Copenhagen #thelulu Aerial view of The Lulu on my back rack in #copenhagen #thelulu The Lulu and I. Heading home from school. #thelulu #copenhagen The Lulu rocks AND rolls. #thelulu #cyclechic

Whatever she ends up doing with her life is fine with me. All I know today is that my Lulu is now seven years old. I love her madly. On and off a bicycle.
Lulu et moi