28 August 2008

Copenhagen Goodness

Friday Evening Couple
Last Friday I was heading out to a friend's place for a bit of red wine and FIFA on the Xbox when I happened upon this charming, lovely couple in the twilight near the bridge over the harbour. I stopped them and asked if I could film them for a promotional cycling video I've been asked to make. They obliged. They are everything that is cool about cycling in Copenhagen. Relaxed, smiling, sweet and just plain cool.
Friday Evening

Two Cyclists Surveying The Boulevard
Surveying Her Kingdom
Contemplating the Boulevard
The first photo is of one of our famous Weather Girls - Vejrpigerne - who stand atop the Richshuset Building on the City Hall Square. I was up there filming for the promotional cycling video and the Cycling Girl is just gorgeous even after over 75 years. We have an earlier post about her here. The other photo is a modern version of the Cycling Girl surveying the same Boulevard from street level. Cool, casual, Copenhagenesque.

Promoting Cycling Positively
Copenhagen Rush Hour
This photo of morning rush hour reminds up of a quote from the novel Gudrun, by Johannes V. Jensen in 1936:
"And like a large home Copenhagen begins the day's work. Already down on the streets is one at home, with loose hair, long sitting rooms through which one travels socialbly on a bike. In offices, in workshops, in boutiques you are at home, in your own home, one large family that has divided the city among itself and runs it in an orderly fashion, like a large house. So that everyone has a role and everyone gets what they need. Copenhagen is like a large, simple house."
Over at Copenhagenize.com we've been having a series of posts about how or how not to promote cycling positively and showing different examples. We here at Copenhagen Cycle Chic are proud to live in a city with such fantastic safety statistics. The majority of Copenhageners, when polled, say that they feel secure and safe in the traffic. We know we certainly do. We are also proud to lead the way in showing how cycling in Copenhagen is safe, effortless and healthy. Promoting cycling as it should be promoted.

We have a good mention in today's Irish Times, which is readable online here. Doing our bit for the cause.

Our Cycling Legends
Copenhagen Cycle Chic Flyer
Copenhagen Cycle Chic will be present at the world's largest bike industry fair in Germany - Eurobike - in partnership with Velorbis. We'll have a massive wall-size banner at the Velorbis stand and we whipped up these flyers for the sports geek crowd. "Our cycling legends dress differently than your cycling legends". A tribute to the everyday dress code of Copenhagen cyclists and a nod to the iconic and historical figure of the Danish cycling girl. There is nothing quite so opposite to spandex than heels.


Charlotte said...

I was with you, nodding in agreement, up 'till the 'us vs. them' dream comment. Lycra and high heels are certainly different, but can mingle - even in the closet of a single girl...

I could have sworn that at one point I read a reference to a cycle-racing past in one of your posts. Am I making that up? If not, do you think that informs your perspective?

lagatta à montréal said...

Charlotte is right - there are lots of Danish, Dutch, German, Strasbourgeois... and even some Parisian cyclists ... who dress in office/student/tradesperson clothes in everyday life but enjoy taking part in athletic activities, be they races or excursions in the mountains, or bracing high-speed rides against the North Sea winds.

Oh Charlotte, I'm sure a lot of this is about "taking the piss" and giving it to the lycra-lout crowd who have been so dominant in cycling sites and blogs. They do get tedious.

Vive la vélorution - la beauté est dans la rue! (the latter is from a mai 1968 poster...).

Jen said...

Oh, I love that poster ! Will you be selling it ? I'd happily buy one. If so, let me know how to contact you about it.

Bloggerella said...

Artist David Byrne has done bike racks in N.Y. When I saw the article showing one shaped like a red high heeled shoe I imidiately thought of you guys!

For more info and pics go to these pages:



Zakkaliciousness said...

charlotte: i don't follow. what 'us vs them' dream comment? all i wrote was 'There is nothing quite so opposite to spandex than heels.' which is true on the fashion scale.

as ever, we highlight the fact that lycra is not a requirement in a healthy, thriving bike culture. when we highlight this, it is for those of our readers abroad who have been told otherwise. that's all. nothing radical there.

tu as compris, lagatta.

jen: good idea. i'll put it up on the online shop today as a poster and postcards.

bloggerella: thanks! great and perfect links!

Charlotte said...

Oh, you took down the part of the post where you said that our dreams are not your dreams. That's good.

Je peux le soutenir maintenant.

Zakkaliciousness said...

charlotte: i'm still baffled! i didn't edit anything and i don't have any idea what you're referring to! please help me not feel so old and absent-minded in this my 40th year. :-)

Charlotte said...

Hi Lagatta,
I've been thinking about your comment. I guess I don't grok the text here, so I think I'll stick to the pretty pictures from now on.

While the media does indeed portray 'sports cycling' as the only cycling, I think the photos here do far more than their reputed thousand words to counteract that. At a more personal level, I have never been belittled or made to feel anything other than welcome by all the cyclists I've met, all over the world, no matter what they, or I, happen to be wearing. In other words, my experience does not include a 'lycra lout' anywhere. Let's hope everyone can be so lucky.

On the other hand I know that 12 year old girls build a sense of community by deciding some others are not like them, and then ridiculing and belittling them. I know, because I was the girl who moved, became an outsider, and was the recipient of this treatment.

I'm very grateful to the global cycling community, which has taught me so much. I know that my dreams are the same as the old man in Melun who rides with his 70+ year old buddies each Wednesday, yet who paired off with me and chatted for a while.

We all dream of safe smooth 'pistes cyclable', courteous traffic, a good meal after a bracing ride, and a dry place to put our bike overnight.

I'm willing to bleat "two wheels good, four wheels bad", but I think that's as far as my divisiveness can go.

A bike is a beautiful thing. See you all on the road.

Nicolas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolas said...

oh man, Bill Cunningham really outdid himself this week!
Of course, there's a lot of racetrack gear, tying in to the conversation in these comments. I can't understand the gentleman who wears spandex while pulling his baby in a trailer... which record are you trying to break? The exceptional character of the event has to be noted, too. I'm surprised that he didn't focus more on the fashion side of the photos; where's their sense of style? Too bad. Still brought a smile to my face!

Jen said...

I'm happy to check back and to see that I can now buy this as a poster. I also could have sworn there was a phrase that said "our dreams are not your dreams" that is no longer here. It didn't seem to fit when I first read the post: was it from a draft, maybe ? Was it at copenhagenize ? And I have to say, Charlotte, I took the strange phrase to be permissive, not dismissive: to each her own, so to speak. Dream as you will. We all have our own dreams of cycle chic. And,there is nothing adversarial in remarking on the difference between Danish bike "legends" (e.g. the Copenhagen Cycle Girls) and the usual sporty reference to a "biking legend." Whew.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks, jen. i have no idea what all this 'dreams' is about, so maybe a draft? who knows. moving on.

thanks for the link, nicolas!