11 August 2008

Bike Baskety Goodness

Bike Baskety Goodness
Herewith we present a series of photographs as a Visual Analysis of the Bicycle Basket as a Key Part of our Bicycle Culture.
The written analysis goes like this: Slap 'em on your bike, put stuff in 'em, ride around.
Bike Baskety Goodness
Over at Charlotte's Chic Cyclist blog out of Boston she had a post called "What's in Your Bag?" wherein visitors discussed the contents of their bike bags. It's a good, fun question.

But it made be realise that, as a rule, the bags you see in Copenhagen, transported around by cyclists, are not bike bags. There is nothing bike-related in them. This goes for baskets, too. No bicycle tools or pumps or suchlike 'gear'. Save a pair of lights, perhaps. It's just people's stuff. The same stuff they have if they took the train or the bus. Stuff.
Bike Baskety Goodness
Nor when they hop off their bike do they become 'pedestrian bags' anymore than they are 'shopping bags' if the cyclist - now a pedestrian - walks into a supermarket or designer boutique.
Bike Baskety Goodness
Regarding the baskets in these shots, I love the fact that in this design mecca called Copenhagen, old wicker baskets live on. Some are new, but the design remains unchanged. Just as women 75 years ago carried their belongings in these baskets, the modern Copenhagen woman carries on the tradition. Most are detachable and are carried into shops or supermarkets. They serve a practical purpose and do so with simple, elegant and timeless style.
City Hall Heels
You do see modern baskets in Goretex-y material now and then but they are rare. A good old wicker basket - or even a wire one - or a wooden beer crate/plastic milk crate on the back rack are still around because they do the job and do it well.
Bike Baskety Goodness

Denmark and Copenhagen are doing fine lately in the global media exposure sweepstakes.
This from the NY Times about Denmark's tackling of the energy crisis. This from the Washington Post today about why the Danes are consistenly ranked as the happiest people on earth.


Charlotte said...

They're lovely, and I love baskets (and bags of all stripes!). I think it is interesting to see how people's bags reflect their lives - moms, students, businesspeople, and people who transport themselves by bike.

I find it fascinating that in Copenhagen you don't need to carry a spare innertube and a pump. I could be stuck hours from home with no backup transportation if I tried that and got unlucky. I must use my bike in 1) rougher conditions, 2) later at night and 3) with less infrastructure than you. There are probably more differences reflected in our respective bags, but we're waiting 'till Friday for our show-and-tell, to try and avoid influencing people's presentations.

Lucky you for getting to travel so light!

Colville-Andersen said...

I don't need bike repair gear because I have a bike shop every 500 m and if i get a flat or something else wrong with the bike, I just chuck it on the train or take a taxi [all taxis have bike racks].

Riding at night is universal. you don't get a monopoly on that... ;-)

Charlotte said...

No doubt! Does the train run all night? I have never seen a taxi with an obvious bike rack, even while I lived in Europe. That would have come in handy many times. I heard my first radio ad for a bicycle shop this weekend. Must be due to our current bike boom. Maybe someday we'll have more shops though I doubt we'll ever have them every 500 m.

My officemate is from Malawi and he showed me what his friends carry on their bikes there - even more prepared for self-reliance than we are here in the US. Bags really do say a lot about a person/culture.

Anonymous said...

I don't really carry any bicycle stuff around with me in my basket or my Amsterdam-street-market saddlebags (they just stay on the bicycle and ... acquire character - at least so far nobody has even tried to steal them).

I love the basket for fragile groceries such as fruit, but I carry around a lot of books and papers, sometimes my laptop, so they go in the saddlebags. We've also had a very rainy summer here in Montréal(same general weather system as Boston).

Charlotte, I'm glad to find your blog as Boston and Montréal are not very far apart and very similar in many ways (being "old" cities by North American standards). I'll write more on your blog.

Colville-Andersen said...

the metro runs all night thursday to sunday. the taxis have a bike rack in their boot [trunk] that can carry two bikes. they just get out and put them on when you have a bike.

i counted all the bike shops within a 1 km radius of our flat a while back. 25 bike shops.

i posted about bikes in uganda a few days ago. same thing in malawi, no doubt.


Anonymous said...

Marie 'complained' about not seeing enough of these types of baskets, although there are many around in da Dam. She observed my plastic square box and believed that was more dominant. I guess I'll have to do photo research on that now..:)

But, I don't think I'll trade it in, here's why.

PS, cycling in Paris was awesome. No Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but very rewarding on the cycle chic front, oh la la.

2whls3spds said...

My various bikes have different combinations of baskets and bags mainly based on their intended use. One general constant is what I call the "minor" repair kit. It contains enough stuff to deal with a couple of flats or minor adjustment. Unlike the fortunate ones in Copenhagen, my nearest bike shop is 20+ miles away :-( If I want to ride I have to be able to repair.

On my bike(s) I generally prefer the wire mesh front basket and rear panniers for general hauling. I recently discovered the Basil Karavan 2 panniers and have a set on order.


Anonymous said...

when i tried to practice bike before, the result was accident. huhu

AMR said...

That is a huge number of bike shops. Now, if you get a puncture (very unlucky with those fat tires) while riding in Copenhagen and you take your bike to the shop, do they repair the tube or just replace it and throw the old one in the bin?
Simple question I know, but with such a great number of bikes on the road...

Colville-Andersen said...

2whls3spds: 20+ miles!? goodness.

mobisop: try again!

amr: depends on the size of the puncture. they'll ask you what you want/can afford too. The cheapest puncture repair in Copenhagen is 40 kroner. Yes, that's 8 dollars, but for us 40 kroner is peanuts.

Miss Sarah said...

Ah, I'm so glad that you posted on this! When I answered Charlotte's bag question I felt sort of awkward... because all I ride with is my purse. Full of normal purse things. It's either in my basket or on the handlebars if my basket is full of my books/shopping/groceries. If the handlebars have things on them too then I'll just wear the purse and ride at the same time. It's good to see that all those beautiful Copenhagen girls do it too, it's as 'practical' as anything else!

Edmonton doesn't have a plethora of bike shops, but on the one occasion that I've had a flat I just walked it (albeit 40 mins) to my local shop. It gave me an excuse to stop in at a café I like to buy treats to eat on the way, though. That's what I love about biking, you just take whatever comes.

Colville-Andersen said...

very cool, miss sarah. you won't feel awkward here! you're amongst like-minded individuals .-)

Anonymous said...

i like your bike. how much is that? hehe