31 January 2010

The Nocturnal Social Life of Urban Bicycles

Friday Night Out
Friday night in the big[gish] city. Most of the traffic is gone from the streets. Only 40% of Copenhageners own cars so most of the motor vehicles have exited stage left in the evenings, back to the urban sprawl.

It's at night, especially on the weekends, that the bicycle reigns supreme as friends, lovers and hopers move about from café or restaurant to bar or nightclub. Or all four.

It's at night, especially on the weekends, that the bicycle achieves the pinnacle of it's sociability. People chat and laugh, discuss or argue, all whilst cycling from A to B. Red lights are brilliant. They offer a pause in the rolling conversation. A chance to look each other in the eye and make important or humourous points.

The nocturnal social life of urban bicycles is taken for granted, even in Copenhagen, what with all the emphasis on transport, getting to and from work, picking up and dropping off kids. It's a quiet time in that the squeaky parts of old bicycles are amplified through the empty streets and an exuberant time at the weekends when everyones hope and goal is a good night out.

Our bicycles roll us across the lamplit asphalt of the bicycle lanes. Across city squares and down deserted side streets. The city is ours. The tens of thousands of us who pedal about on a weekend night own the city. More than we ever can during the day.

Friday Night Moving Friday Night Red Light
Snow Couple Snow Couple
Friends on Culture Night Night Lights
Friday Night Snow Crowd Two Plus One
Velib Blur Holding Hands *
La Rochelle: Cycling Nuit Trafficality

Fuck dig
While our hope and goal is a good night out, we all accept that it may not end that way. I was cycling home not long ago, well after midnight and closer to dawn when I saw a bike lying half on the bike lane. Then I saw a figure leaning in the bushes - on the left of the photo.

I thought the person had fallen, even though the odds are greatly against it - but when I approached I saw the girl on her mobile, quite drunk. She was muttering the same two words into the phone: "Fuck dig... fuck dig... fuck dig..." Which means Fuck you, in Danish.

So, no fall. Just a phone call and she hopped off her bike, letting it collapse on the ground as she spoke to someone with whom she wasn't pleased.

Love. Urban nights. Bicycles.


jellyfishheart said...


kfg said...

This is lovely. This is actually making me itchy to grab my bike and go out for ride; around Copenhagen.

Right NOW!

Damn you.

Mrs. E said...

I love getting a glimpse of your world!

Anonymous said...

Nice photos and 'mesmerising' account of nocturnal life of the people there. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is like a glimpse into an alternate universe. Or 'Night Riders' - the movie.

This post and the awesome exhibit of seat covers are gems. Denmark culture courses should direct their students here :)

Unknown said...

I also love to ride cycle but here there
are very less people ride on cycles adn so i ride cycle in the early morning as
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South Coast NSW Hotels said...

Spectacular! This place is out of this world. All the snaps are incredible.

Unknown said...

you are always so inspiring.. i really love your blog and everyday looking forward to your updates.

royal said...

I also ride cycle in the morning morning walk.
you really provide nice photos of nocturnal life of the people there.

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Kat's eye said...

hey, been meaning to ask, which camera do you use? Like the low light no flash and blur, and my current camera is falling apart...

rosemary said...

oh my god i love your blog so much.

Colville-Andersen said...

cameras? everything from an IXUS 980 IS, to a Canon 40D to a Canon 7D.
on each flickr page you can see which camera was used.

katie said...

making me terrible jealous/homesick (tho the states doesn´t compare to this in the least) but where i´m living at the moment (ecuador) well...anything even remotely close to this...simply does not exist!

melbourne chauffeur service said...

Great write up and looks like a great ride, you have a good review and you have done a great ride. I hope you had a lovely relaxing trip you looked like you had heaps of fun.