10 September 2008

Red Lights, Lego, Amsterdam, Media Blitz

No Hurry
How to Wait at a Red Light. No hurry.
Everyday People
As ever, we checked in with Marc at Amsterdamize.com to see what the Danes with the different language are doing. Love this shot.

My Mission Explained *
The original Legoland amusement park is celebrating 40 years this year. A perfect opportunity to repost this shot. Cycle Chic is everywhere in the Danish nation. Even at Legoland. The cycling girl is such an iconic figure in Danish history that she is present in town and city settings all over the park.

Danskerne cykler med stil
I'm quite taken with this photograph in the Danish Politiken newspaper of yours truly. Great stuff. The photographer Tobias is quite brilliant. It's been a hectic fortnight for Copenhagen Cycle Chic and copenhagenize.com.

For some strange reason that now escapes me, I ended up on a page on the Cannondale website - a bike brand, apparently. No wonder we don't see many around here. It's a FAQ about choosing the right bike, including such pearls of useless text as:

"Because we are obsessed as you are about your bike's weight, we implore you to go visit your local Cannondale Dealer to help you determine the specific weight of any bike you may be considering. We know you'll be impressed."

"Individual fitting of a bicycle is a step-wise process and a series of compromises. Professional guidance DOES simplify the process and we encourage you to be fit properly by a trained bicycle professional."

"Your body type is the only factor that does not change. Your inseam to height ratio, the length of your arms, the size of hands, the size of your torso etc. all factor into determining the correct fit of a bike."

"As a result, Cannondale highly suggests that you not rely on fit charts, but instead seek professional guidance and recommendations from an experienced bicycle shop."

"Buying a Cannondale is an investment in your recreational pleasure. Fitting a Cannondale should be like fitting a wedding gown, or an expensive suit. It should fit the individual as well as either of these other fine items."

If I'm going to use a bike for competitive racing, this might make sense. But otherwise it's merely an excerise in Terminology Folly as we posted about previously. If you think about it, there are either hundreds of millions of really stupid people who dare to buy their bikes without 'fittings' involving 'measuring hands' or there is a handful of really silly bike websites. My money is on the latter. [Ironically the word 'latter' means laughter in Danish.]


Lieke said...

As a Dutchie, it´s good to see some Amsterdam pictures here as well!

Anonymous said...

the cannondale reference is the perfect example of americans overcomplicating things! maybe this is why none of us ride enough! in nyc we just try and keep things simple with bikes that aren't pretty and will hopefully survive being locked up outside.

amsterdamize said...

Thanks, Lieke (and Mikael for the link love), how about some videos too? :-p

doei, Marc

Raquel said...

i lolve legoland! i was there three years ago!

Lily Hydrangea said...

funny post about the useless text. I love the pic with the little "chic" girl on the back of the bike. very special!

Tamy said...

That cannondale info is funny. Fit like a wedding dress! Hmm, I never bothered with a wedding dress.

Cannondale's are for all those wannabee Lance's out there. They ride them once or twice. Perhaps they take up being weekend warriors. Then they get tired, hop back in their cars and hit the drive through.

I'm so tired of the bike culture in the US.

brent said...

Actually I'm starting to get a bit sick of this - it's turning me off your blog.


So. You don't have hills, everyone lives just around the corner from work and your roads are bike-friendly. We GET it.

For the rest of us we live a million miles from work, with huge hills all over the place and we have to surge through suburban roads designed to NOT have bikes riding on them.

Please stop banging on about bike-fitting - for many of us out here it's a serious issue.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks for the comments everyone.

marc: stop plugging your blog on my blog... :-) kidding.

brent: actually, i'm not sure you get it. 100 million Europeans ride their bike each day. All over Europe. Not all of them ride in flat terrain. Then take hundreds of millions of Asians. Same thing.

50% of Americans live within 8 km of their workplace. That's a lot of Americans. 85% of car trips in North America are under 3 miles. Trips that can be made by bike.

So, the vast, vast majority of potential cyclists don't need a fitting. They just need a bike.

Cycling has been a simple affair for over a century. Sports companies who overcomplicate it aren't helping increase the number of cyclists. They are restricting growth.

Dave said...

Why are they restricting growth? If some people get more pleasure from cycling by having an expensive bike that fits well, whilst others enjoy the "cycle chic" way, what's the problem? The net result is more people on bikes. I actually think that most people are somewhere between the 2 extremes, and I agree with Brent that you're in danger of alienating the middle-ground people with your increasingly intolerant tone - but I still really like the blog...

brent said...

Certainly if you're going to take up cycling as a hobby and do even a small amount of weekend km's you will be in a world of pain if your bike is not set up right.

Like you said, Cannondale is a sports company, selling sports products. I agree that Bangers'R'Us Generic Bike Company would sell bikes which need less fiddling, and I agree that many many people could get to and from work without a $2000 penile extension. If you're spending $2000 on a bike then, yes, you want the right damn bike.

Personally I love my penile extension (which I got 2nd hand from a friend) and it gets me to work fast fast fast and it's heaps of fun - so much more fun than my crusty old MTB.

I'm not trying to argue with you about whether more fat-arse lazy people should get off their lazy fat arses and ride to work, they should - but I'm also not going to blame the lack of real bike culture and the not-inevitable urban super-sprawl on the evil money-grabbing elite-bike companies.

My point is just to please stop making out like riding a good road bike is a fax pas or something. The 'vast majority' of people aren't reading your blog: we're bicycle enthusiasts, and we love our bikes, even those of us who have a totally un-chic God's Chosen Bike.

Anyway. I dig your website. Keep it up.

Zakkaliciousness said...

I understand both the points, but it's important to remember that I think these COMPANIES are silly. Not the people who choose to ride the bikes, for heavens sake. That's the rub. Don't take it personally... unless of course you are the webmaster/marketing guy at the said companies.

By continuing to overcomplicate the issue and by keeping on mystifying it, many people can be turned off.

I get so many emails from readers who tell me that they are so pleased to read that the bike doesn't matter as much as they've been told. That it isn't a sport, but an easy and feasible transport option.

And as for the readership, only about half come from cycling-related websites. The other half tend to show up via fashion websites and streetstyle blogs. So I'm speaking broadly to a broad crowd.

lagatta à montréal said...

Well, there are also a lot of Danish and Dutch people (and people in other cycling-friendly cultures) who do own a touring or racing bicycle, and do fast rides at weekends or for holidays. More power to them too.

I don't think any of the cycling chic websites oppose that, on the contrary. It is just a matter of removing barriers by reminding people that they don't have to be all kitted-up and have a technologically perfect bicycle to ride to work, university or the shops.

We have some hills - our so-called "mountain" (people with real mountains laugh at that) and some other moderate climbs, and I am glad to have six speeds rather than one as it is easier on the knees. But I certainly wouldn't ride a shiny, expensive touring bicycle running errands here in Montréal - it would disappear within minutes, as in most other cities.

I have a friend who was an architect for the German (spinoff) Legoland.

Andy B from Jersey said...

Being an owner and daily rider of bikes that were both precisely fitted to my body over the course of two hours and those that I literally found in the trash I can tell you that it depends on the style of bicycle.

Yeah my old Ross town bike I found in the trash fits me perfectly with just a few simple adjustments but that is just the nature of that type of bike. It is like a basic car that almost all can manage to adjust to fit.

Now my Italian road bike was fitted precisely to me over the course of 2 hours. This is a performance machine not at all unlike a high-end race car. Here, perfection in fit is a must with both the bike and the car.

The problem with most of us Americans is that we mostly/only think of bikes in the later sense. We need to get over it.

brent said...


I guess that one of the lessons I learnt when I went to bike-commuting was to JFDI.

The only thing you really NEED is a functioning bike a bit of determination. You don't NEED the gloves, glasses, coat, special bike, special tyres, hi-tech blinkies (although in australia you legally [and realistically] need at least something), fancy pants, arm warmers, leg warmers, cleats, head warmers etc etc etc etc.

I've got all those things, now, and they make my life heaps easier. But back when I started I was still getting to and from work just fine. It was a learning experience - realising that all those things are only 'nice-to-have', not deal-breakers.

Karl On Sea said...

I thought for a moment that Cannondale had put a quote / link / photo of yours on their site. I can just imagine it . . .

. . . as well as being made out of state of the art carbon fiber, with titanium bonded-in hard points, and a 15-speed, electronically shifted rear cassette, this bicycle is also ideal for a trip to the shops, as demonstrated in this photo from Copenhagenize. Our lawyers have asked us to point out that not wearing lycra and not wearing a helmet as shown in this photo is not Cannondale's policy, and does not in any way represent the views of Cannondale. Come to think of it, the floral print dress, and sunny smile on the rider's face, coupled with those elegant shoes is kinda chic though . . ."

Zakkaliciousness said...

brent, you hit the nail on the head. really well put. All you NEED is a bike but there are many people who WANT more and that's just fine.

We try to express the basic NEED to those who may have given the impression that NEED and WANT are the same thing.

What a great way you put it.

Karl.. that is effing hilarious.

ianworthy said...

I would say that adjusting one's headset and saddle height for maximum comfort is very important on a regular commuting bike.