12 March 2008

Roller & Coaster + Guest Photo From Lyon + Revolutionary La Rochelle

Roller and Coaster
Gliding effortlessly towards the light, timing the change to green perfectly.

Once in awhile - not often enough for our liking - we discover a blog filled to the brim with fantastic wit and irony. In this case it's the Stuff White People Like Blog. At #61 - Bicycles. It's all brilliant satire, but I'm especially fond of this:

"... they love expensive Road Bikes and the accompanying spandex uniforms. This enables them to ride long distances and wear really tight clothes without any social stigmas. These types of riders will spend upwards of $5,000 on a bicycle and up to $400 on accessories, but will not ride to work. Perhaps because they cannot wear the spandex. It is important that you never question why someone needs a $5000 bicycle since the answer is always “performance."

A guest photo rolled into the inbox this morning:

I just stumbled upon Copenhagen Cycle Chic and I thought I'd send a couple of pics of my sweetheart looking bike-chic during our year using the Vélo'V bike-share program in Lyon, France. She finds the shots on your blog to be quite the inspiration, as do I, of course!, and is curious as to whether she is cycle-chic-worthy.

Sad to say, I send these pics to you from the cold climate of Edmonton in northern Alberta, Canada. Not one of the most bike-friendly towns....
Keep up the marvelous work! Matt.

Thanks to you and your sweetheart for thinking of us. There is no question in our minds that she qualifies for the much respected and sought after accolade of 'cycle chic'.

Matt's email reminded us of Lyon's bike share programme, Vélo'V. While much is written about the capital cities who have implemented bike sharing, like Paris, Barcelona and - coming soon - London, there are many cities in Europe that are already rolling. Lyon being one of them. It's a fair sized city, with almost 2 million inhabitants.

With all the hype about urban bike sharing, let's send a warm thought to the forgotten city that started it all, shall we? La Rochelle, on the French Atlantic coast [and favourite summer holiday destination for Wifealiciousness and I] had a legendary mayor back in the 1970's. He was quite the urban planning revolutionary. Inspired by Copenhagen, he created pedestrian streets in the city centre and, in 1974, he started a bike share programme.
La Rochelle Sunset - Bikes and Towers
He bought a load of yellow bikes and slapped them into racks by the harbour. The original idea was merely "take one, use it, bring it back." These days you can borrow them free for two hours if you leave some ID.

The programme never had, and still doesn't have, a fancy marketing name like ByCyklen, Velib, VeloV, SEVici or Bicing, which is probably why nobody knows about it. But La Rochelle was the first, so hats off to them.

Let's wrap todays cyclobabble with another photo of Copenhagen Cycle Chic, shall we?
Another fine example of matching your clothes with your bike.


Coco said...

I was in La Rochelle last summer and my dad and I borrowed some bikes and had a great ride around the harbor. Such a great idea, and we were happy to see lots of other people taking advantage of the service as well!

Anonymous said...

really loving the blog - it has inspired me to be even more stylish when cycling (i do try but its hard when you have to wear a helmet and its 35 degrees celcius!).

But come winter I will cycle in my boots and red scarves (to match my red bike), and i will try and remember to share a photo.

Here in Perth we are not as stylish as your lovely people in Denmark, but there are a few people out there who appreciate the aesthetics of a stylish bike and chic clothes to match. I will try and remember my camera when i see such people.

ELO °° said...

I've just discovered your blog and i'm so happy ! What a great idea and your photos are just BEAUTIFUL !!!! Thanks from Montpellier, France ...

Colville-Andersen said...

thanks everyone.

they are cool, aren't they coco!

we're looking forward to photos from Perth Cycle Chci, sophie! :-)

thanks so much, instantanés!

camembert teuton said...

The mayor´s name was Michel Crepeau, overwhelmingly respected man, and still regretted to this day.

May his memory be blessed forever, for what he did for La Rochelle.