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  1. #1
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    Just returned from Denmark, the most bike-friendly place on earth (long w/rant) [o]

    My wife and had a lovely time on our trip to Denmark last week. This was not primarily a biking vacation, but I did manage to get some riding in. Now I'd been to the Netherlands before, and admired its bike culture and networks of bike lanes and bike highways. But even the Netherlands pales in comparison to Denmark.

    I'll begin with Copenhagen's City Bike program. Scattered throughout the city center are 2000 bikes, free for anyone to use. Just find a bike, plunk in a DKK20 ($3) coin to unlock it, ride it wherever you want to go in the city center, and lock it up (getting your coin deposit back) anywhere you feel like when you're done. One evening while my wife was taking a nap, I decided to grab one of these bikes and do some exploring.



    Similar free-bike programs have been tried in other cities, and most have failed, as the free bikes gradually disappared and money to maintain and replace the bikes ran out. Yet Copenhagen's program continues on successfully after many years. Here's why: the bikes use nonstandard parts that won't work on other bikes, the coin deposit provides a tiny incentive not to keep it, the advertising on the bikes helps pay for the program, a supportive taxpayer base pays for the rest, and a stiff fine is levied against anyone who takes one of these bikes out of the city center.

    With somewhat odd-ish steering and 24" airless tires, this is not the highest performance bike in the world, but it is a bike (and it is a singlespeed!) and it sure beats walking. In 90 minutes I made a big circle around the entire city center, hitting many of the major sights and stopping to take pictures a whole bunch of times. The same trip would have taken half a day or more on foot. Some examples:









    Even as a non-cyclist, after a few minutes in Copenhagen it's hard not to notice the bike lanes everywhere. Pretty much every significant street has bike lanes each side, and not just the skinny little 4 foot North American lanes, but 8-12 feet of bliss. Which is good, because there's enough bike traffic that you'll need the passing room.











    This is difficult for me to even comprehend, but bicycling is the number one mode of commuting in Copenhagen. More popular than the train, the bus, or even the automobile. 30% of Copenhageners commute by bike even in winter, and in summer the proportion is a staggering 50%. Unbelievable. Crowded bike racks like this are a common sight:



    By the way, I checked over that entire row of bikes, and only one of them had a derailer on it. Singlespeeds are quite common, but internally geared hubs are the real drivetrain of choice for the typical Copenhagen City Bike. Perfect if you want low maintenance in a city with less than friendly weather. So in that spirit, I decided to rent one myself (and experienced less than friendly weather, including hail, while riding it!). For about $13 you can have one of these babies for 24 hours:



    With a Shimano Inter-3 internally geared hub, 700x35c city tires and a weight well under 30 pounds, this machine felt comfortable, fast and efficient after riding the free-bike. Even without a top tube, it felt quite stiff, although the lack of top tube carries a disadvantage I hadn't thought of: a couple of times I stopped to take a picture, and the bike fell to the pavement between my legs as soon as let go of the handlebars! I didn't count the teeth, but the gearing felt like it was somewhere between 2.2:1 and 2.5:1. These bikes are almost always equipped with a rack, dual fenders, kickstand and integrated lock:



    These clever locks have two parts, a bar that locks the rear wheel in place, and a separate cable operated by the same key. Cool design, something I'd never seen in the US.

    My destination was Dyrehaven, a large nature park north of town. The following photo is the only dirt content in this whole post:



    This amounted to a 30 mile round trip ride, with lots of great scenery:





    Probably the most remarkable aspect of Copenhagen's bike-friendliness was something I didn't notice until I tried actually riding a bike across town: the drivers. People actually do yield to bikers in the bike lane. You can count on it. Even here in bike-friendly Portland, I'm constantly on alert for drivers who might not see me or know what to do around me. But after a few minutes on a bike in Copenhagen, I found myself with a high degree of confidence that the drivers around me were fully aware of my presence and would treat me with the same respect they would another car. There has obviously been a major effort to not only build effective bike facilities, but to educate drivers on how to interact with cyclists. Very impressive.

    And it's not just Copenhagen. It's all of Denmark. 3 days of our trip was spent in a 200 year old farmhouse an hour's drive away, and we got to see quite a bit of the countryside. There are bike paths everywhere, and they get used. In villages you see children, families and little old ladies cruising around -- even at night! -- and on rural roads we saw repeatedly saw drivers slow down and wait for a safe opportunity before passing cyclists, rather than trying to squeeze by at 80-100 km/hr as American drivers often do.

    Another uniquely Danish phenomenon is the Christiania Bike. These clever contraptions are also seen everywhere in Copenhagen:





    We saw elderly and handicapped people riding these (and for them they are a godsend), but mostly we saw ordinary citizens using them to transport their groceries, or more often their children. You can get these outfitted with child carrier mounts, or with seats and seat belts for bigger kids. They're a whole lot shorter in length than a bike pulling a trailer, and if you think about it probably a whole lot safer too. Cost is $1500-2000 for the bike, plus accessories. I may eventually have to buy one.

    I believe Christiania Bikes bend in the center to allow turning. Here's a competitor that uses front-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering to achieve the same effect:



    One final photo shows a bike frame design that's quite popular there. Now I know where Jeff Jones gets his ideas:



    Some final thoughts. As I rode to work today along wide suburban arterials, where the average passenger vehicle carries its 4000 pound weight along at 40-45mph, I couldn't help noticing how much less safe I felt back here at home. As has been happening in the US, cars have gotten bigger in Europe since my last visit 5 years ago. But they're still tiny compared to here, and even a VW Golf -- a pretty small car by US standards -- is at least average in size. VW sells two sizes of cars in Europe that are smaller than the Golf. And yet I'd feel safer driving a tiny VW Lupo in Denmark than I would driving a Golf here.

    With decades of cheap fuel, we've built sprawling suburbs where everything's so far apart that you have to drive at higher speeds to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. And because of the dangers brought on by those higher speeds, and the cheap fuel, and the need to drive everywhere because everything's so spread out, the cars have continued to get bigger. Even 10 years ago, few American passenger vehicles exceeded 5000 pounds, yet now that weight is common.

    The bottom line is our vehicles carry an awful lot more kinetic energy as they barrel down our wide arterials, and when collisions happen they are much more severe. Several years ago an acquaintance in Paris commented on the litigiousness of American society by saying, "Whiplash? We don't even know what that is!" I've had a hard time reconciling that comment against my own recent painful experiences with whiplash. But I've now figured it out: the reason whiplash isn't as well known in Europe is that most car accidents occur with much less severity. The danger to cyclists and pedestrians is even more greatly amplified: at 40 mph, a pedestrian has a 5% chance of surviving an impact with a car. At 20 mph, a 95% chance of survival. And our tall SUVs are more likely to drag you under than a car, which will almost always bounce you off the hood. Then there's the difficulty and danger of crossing our ridiculously wide roads and intersections.

    I say all this despite living in Portland, repeatedly ranked as one of the most livable, well-planned and bike-friendly cities in America. We might have bike lanes on most major streets now, and reasonably respectful drivers, but there's still no comparison. Only 4% of work trips here are made by bike, and that figure that puts us at #3 among US cities. Pathetic.

    It's easy to see why America and Europe have evolved differently. At $2.50 per gallon, everyone here is whining about the "high" price of gas. We paid $5.75 per gallon in Denmark. Not only do people drive more fuel-efficient cars there as a result, but the entire development pattern the last 60 years has been different, with much greater sprawl here because the cost of driving longer distances isn't excessive. In recent years it's gotten worse, with many American cities expanding by 50% in developed area in recent years while only growing 10% in population.

    What's not so easy to see is how we change things. You can't just jack up the price of gas overnight. The cost to the economy, and especially to the poor, of such a sudden change would be staggering. It would also be political disaster, given the outcry over a paltry $2.50 per gallon. And besides, our sprawling infrastructure won't shrink overnight even if gas prices skyrocketed and we all switched to more modestly sized cars.

    But I sure would like to feel safer on my way to work. I already vote for candidates who support the side of reason on these issues, and I write frequent letters to the editor. What else can I do?

    I guess the biggest thing I can do is defiantly continue to ride my bike to work. I'm sure much of the reason the Danes respect bikes so well is that they're used to seeing them and dealing with them. The more bikes out there, the more drivers will get used to us and the more they will respect us. And a little visibility goes a long away. Even though I only commute 2-3 times per week, I'm always amazed how often I encounter a work acquaintance who assumes I ride daily. They see me riding occasionally and extrapolate from there.

    I long ago made the decision to be GlowBoy -- to be highly visible on my bike -- so I don't get hit. I don't care if it looks good or not, I just want to be seen. All well and good, but but I am now renewing my commitment to being visible for another reason. The more drivers notice bikes on the road, the more they get used to interacting with us, the more they get used to the idea of us being around, and the safer we all are. They guy who notices me commuting today might give another cyclist a break tomorrow because he's noticing more cyclists on the road. Or he might give me a break 3 months from now for the same reason. Or best of all, after seeing so many bikes on the road (even if it is just me, repeatedly) maybe decide to give it a try himself.

    End of diatribe. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

    - Dan
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 05-12-2005 at 12:34 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Great post. I really enjoyed reading it.

    I live in the UK and I can tell you that we are not as bike friendly as Denmark. UK bike lanes are rare and the ones we do have are strewn with glass and seemed to have been created and designed as an afterthought (they are often dangerous).

    This is typical of the UK (and you'd be crazy to ride within it):







    https://www.wolvesonwheels.co.uk/doc...ycle_lanes.pdf
    Last edited by kronik; 05-12-2005 at 12:56 AM.

  3. #3
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    Best Post Nomination! Great write up Dan.

    I've never been to Denmark, but it looks like a nice blend of Holland and Germany. Streets like Holland, architecture like Germany. Don't tell the Danes, though.

    I like the handlebars on your rental bike, they should sell those aftermarket! Some forward and back sweep, as well as rise! Oh, wait... :-)

    When I was a mailman, I sometimes used a bakfiets like that, nt sure it was the same Christiania brand, but they were customized for the postal services, big big crate, with a waterproof lid and lock. They seemed to pivot around the front axle, and flexed like heck by the lack of toptube. When Empty, it was great fun to lift wheels in corners, especially with a curb in the way. That thing was bloody fast though, a colleague riding his postal car clocked me at 40kph :-)

    It's nice to see an American's view on more local to me cycling culture.

    I've not met many Danes in my life, but all were EXTREMELY friendly. If a Dutch man is as friendly to me, I would expect him to ask me out for diner, movies and drinks. Never happened to me, but hey this is Holland, I wouldn't be too surprised. Can't get over the Danish friendliness. They also seem to have done away with crime mostly, that country to me sounds a bit like Star Trek federation.

    You should all realize that cars are very expensive in Europe. Your dad isn't going to buy you a car for your 16th birthday, you're not allowed to drive until 18 anyway. Drinking starts at 16 though, making it require less crime to obtain alcohol, though it is getting slightly out of hand. But, not too many alcohol or drugs related juvenal crime.
    But cars, you pay a lot of road tax, legally prohibited insurance, etc. I've never owned a car, although I wish I did, to get to the group rides, trails and races.

    If gas were 40% of i's present price here, roads would jam to a permanent halt. We're a fairly rich country, but not a lot of room to put tarmac between buildings. Here in the NL we have probably the most dense train system in the world, but still roads are jammed all over rush hour. I can beat a car in Rush hour on my bike over a very considerably distance.

    Obtaining a driver's license is not an abc here. First you have to get an almost-perfect score in theory, which is harder than most highschool test. On average, it takes 4 or 5 attempts, each time costs €50 or so. After you graduate for theory, you can go for practive, and that's €300 for an intensive 1/2 hour exam where you have to prove yourself to perfection. If you don't notice cyclists, you'll never graduate, because they're everywhere on our streets.
    Oh yeah, and you can only take lessons from official driving school, you need at least 30x€30 lessons to make a chance to pass first try. I took 37 lessons, and did pass first time. I paid the exams, my parents the lessons. The deal was they'd pay those, and I;d not get a moped or start smoking. Great deal, I never even considered either :-)

    Dutch motorists think that cyclists are dangerous, and I guess we do get lazy and arrogant from this constant safety. I run red lights, once a car caught me doing 55mph where 31 is the limit. we were both wrong, my bike was a wreck, I got out lucky with minor scratches. I'm more careful now, no incidents in over 5 years.

    I applaud the Dan(ish) for what they are and offer to cyclists, and I applaud Americans that take their bike out and commute.

  4. #4
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    I am from Denmark

    I am from Denmark and you are a fraggle. You are Uncle Traveling Matt writing home about Denmark. I like it.

    I am from Denmark and I am happy. Happy because of all your bike observations. The Christania bike is great. Internal gears are great. BentInAllDirection handlebars are great and we have a lot of them, mary - you are old but good news. Free bikes are great. Bike shops on every corner are great. Bicycle lanes are great. Drivers who takes care for cyclist are great.

    I am from Denmark and I am ashamed. Ashamed because I don't value all those positive things you saw in Denmark, when I wake up every morning. Not only the bike related stuff but also our public health insurance, our highly developed transportation system, our social security, our democracy and our happy faces. Danes take all those things for granted and we don't realise how lucky we are. Every week there is a new pole in the newspapers about what worries us the most. One week it is the retirement pension. Next week it is pollution. Instead of complaining about everything we should continue to develop our country and our relationship with other countries.

    I am from Denmark and I am not afraid. But a lot of people are. In our parliament 24 out of 179 members come from a party that spread hatred. They are the parliamentary basis for our government which consist of two other parties. "Your culture is very exiting, just don't bring it here and please eat pork, drop your head scarf and act likes us if you want to live here".

    I am from Denmark and I bid you a very warm welcome. If any of you fraggles ever come visits us bring you one geared bike - our forests are dominated by derailleurs. Although we don't have any rocky ground or hills over 200m we have trails. They can be hard to find but we will help you out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerollo
    "Your culture is very exiting, just don't bring it here and please eat pork, drop your head scarf and act likes us if you want to live here".
    Exciting? Hardly. I agree about banning headscarves.

  6. #6
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    my friend is studying abroad in denmark starting this summer... im madly jealous

    austin, though, is a lot better than most of the united states
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    The bottom line is our vehicles carry an awful lot more kinetic energy as they barrel down our wide arterials, and when collisions happen they are much more severe. Several years ago an acquaintance in Paris commented on the litigiousness of American society by saying, "Whiplash? We don't even know what that is!" I've had a hard time reconciling that comment against my own recent painful experiences with whiplash. But I've now figured it out: the reason whiplash isn't as well known in Europe is that most car accidents occur with much less severity. - Dan
    Nice posting.

    Speed certainly is a factor in whiplash injuries. Another is the design of the cars. Ideally you'd like all the kinetic energy dissipated in crumbling and folding metal. Unfortunately consumers are concerned about repair costs so they (insurance companies) insist that collisions have minimal cost. At one time in the USA there was a 5MPH bumper standard. It was lowered to 2.5MPH. What the DOT never accounted for was the damage to the human occupants when the bumper survived by accelerating the passengers. (This was brought to my attention when I was rear ended. I'd rather have a totaled car than an injured back/neck). I wonder if the insurance companies figured out the souce of the injury claims and quietly agreed to new bumper standards.

    The ideal car is a Euro POS that folds (just enough, but not too much) on impact.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kronik
    Exciting? Hardly. I agree about banning headscarves.
    I respectfully ask you fascists to whither and die like a baked slug. Thank you.

  9. #9
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    Leiden, Netherlands

    I haven't been to Denmark since 1968 but I went to the Netherlands a couple of years ago and had a semi-religeous experience when I got off the train in Leiden. There were literally tens of thousands of bikes parked there. My wife was glad she had washed her hands because she had to catch my eyes as they popped out of my head.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks Dan! I enjoyed the post and pics.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | ssoft | flickr

  11. #11
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    I just read that whole thing. Thanks for posting. I agree with everything. Does Denmark have troops in Iraq? I don't think so, because they don't need to!
    One source of the problem is that very few Americans travel outside of the country (less than 10% of Americans hold a passport). I think that if a few more Americans experienced Copenhagen and such, they might see the value in rethinking our system.

    Did you notice less fat people? I certainly do on my trips. I am talking about really fat people, morbidly obese. When you do see them, they are often speaking "American"!

    I posted something on roadbikereview about my experience in Vienna, although not as detailed. Vienna is also wonderful for cycling. I posted something later about Rome, Italy, which is as bad or worse than the USA.

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=30043

    You can help by promoting bike to work day next week! This is our local effort:
    http://www.bikeworkday.org/
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  12. #12
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    thanks for the montage/rant dan.

    its a crazy thought, but socal would be a nicer place if more bike friendly. heck, my new company doesnt even have bike racks out front. its a good thing that they have zero issues with me bringing the roadie into my office. now, the looks of the people in the elevator? that'll be priceless. lycra clad, prop the bike up in the corner.

    the only cool thing: the co. is wicked bike friendly. an example: apparently we've been sponsors now for 4 years:
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  13. #13
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    Denmark's now the most bike-friendly place on the earth? Boy, are the Chinese going to be p!ssed when the find out!

  14. #14
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    Man, I've gotta get back to Europe...

    I've got to study abroad for Spring '06... any suggestions? I'm thinking Berlin, as I want some courses taught in English. London is too damn expensive.



    It's amazing how a city dominated by bicycle transportation says so much about the culture and society.
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  15. #15
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    Whoa, awesome post Dan! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  16. #16
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    Excellent points Dan, and a great read.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkekus
    Man, I've gotta get back to Europe...

    I've got to study abroad for Spring '06... any suggestions? I'm thinking Berlin, as I want some courses taught in English. London is too damn expensive.
    .
    If you want Germany: I studied abroad in Munich through the Wayne State, Michigan program. I got full credit at my home institution (saved a ton of cash, Ivy League credits at a state school price for a whole year!).

    There were some classes offered in English through the program, but I speak German and was able to go straight into the local Uni. I skiied 4 days a week in the winter using public transportation, and biked everywhere! I did a ton of technical climbing on rock and ice. And if you like beer, it's one of the best places.

    email me if you want more info from an alum.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerollo
    I am from Denmark and I am happy. I am from Denmark and I am ashamed. Ashamed because I don't value all those positive things you saw in Denmark, when I wake up every morning. Not only the bike related stuff but also our public health insurance, our highly developed transportation system, our social security, our democracy and our happy faces. Danes take all those things for granted and we don't realise how lucky we are.

    I am from Denmark and I am not afraid. But a lot of people are. In our parliament 24 out of 179 members come from a party that spread hatred.
    Thanks for all the great words, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I certainly enjoyed visiting your country (we'd been to the other Scandinavian countries before, so it was about time we hit Denmark). I hope everything was accurate from your perspective.

    Many of the great things you just mentioned about Denmark are things that I envy from across the bathtub ... but I'm sure that as you just pointed out with many Danes, there are lots of things we Americans take for granted. Smoke free air, beautiful landscapes and an incredible diversity of food choices would top the list for me.

    You mentioned fear. It's really ridiculous here. Fear is a tool used by politicians to keep themselves in power, and boy does it work. I'm always frustrated/amused by otherwise rugged-individualist rural types who cower in fear of terrorism, thinking that it's great that our government is restricting civil liberties to "fight terror". Even though the people who seem to feel most strongly that way tend to live in places where they have almost a zero chance of being a victim. Even during the dark year of 2001, any given American was 5 times more likely to be shot dead and 12 times more likely to be killed in a car crash than to be killed by terrorists. And when the fear of gun violence or car accidents (a lot more rational than the fear of terrorist attacks) does show up, it plays itself out in irrational, self-oriented ways that only escalate the problem. Scared of guns? Get a gun! Scared of car accidents? Get a bigger car!

    I did read about that political party when we were there, but be glad they only represent 13% of your parliament. My wife used to live in Japan and has been to over 20 countries, and can talk at length about the various forms of racism she has experienced or observed. I don't think there is a country on earth where racism and other forms of hatred are not problems. At least you recognize it as a problem!

    BTW, my wife and I visited Mons Klint when we had our rental car. Looked like there were lots of great trails there, and some real terrain. Who knows when, if ever, it would happen, but I'd love to get to both the Netherlands and Scandinavia for a real bike vacation sometime before I die. This would no doubt take weeks, but the ideal tour for me would be to ride from The Hague or Rotterdam north across the Netherlands, crossing Germany north into Jylland, then across to Copenhagen and over the Oresund, and finally up through Goteborg and Oslo into and over the mountains of Norway. I can dream, can't I?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    Denmark's now the most bike-friendly place on the earth? Boy, are the Chinese going to be p!ssed when the find out!
    Yep, 1.3 billion Chinese can kiss my a55 on that point. The Chinese might be the most bike-crazy people on earth, but based on my wife's travels there I don't think China can exactly be described as bike- and pedestrian- friendly.

    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
    One source of the problem is that very few Americans travel outside of the country (less than 10% of Americans hold a passport).

    Did you notice less fat people? I certainly do on my trips. I am talking about really fat people, morbidly obese. When you do see them, they are often speaking "American"!

    You can help by promoting bike to work day next week!
    I agree with you about seeing the world. When you visit another country that works, whether in Europe or Japan, it's always interesting to compare and contrast. I always come back with ideas for things we could do better, yet at the same time an appreciation for some of the things that we already have. Too bad most Americans never leave the country (not even to Canada or Mexico) and only a small proportion ever leave the continent. I can only imagine how different things would be if most Americans actually got to see the world.

    And yes, way fewer truly obese people. There were definitely some overweight people (and with all the great pastries and dairy products, who can blame them!) but nothing like here.

    Great suggestion on Bike to Work Day (nationally it's next Friday, 5/20). I didn't realize next week was National Bike Week. I'll try to ride as much as possible, and I'll do what I can to help promote it. Thanks for the tip!

    - Dan
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  19. #19
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    Nice post. A few things, from the viewpoint of an anti-fascist Critical Masser:
    Fotu, I think the fascist comments were just sarcasm.
    Donkekus, try the University of Muenster. Muenster is the cycling capital of Germany. You'll go nuts, and the University is one of the biggest in Germany. Language of instruction is English. The students I know are pro-bike, pro-wind power, anti-fascist, and have a good sense of humor. If beautiful blonde girls on bikes annoy you, better not go to Muenster. Another tip: Shop at the LIDL for 27 cent pilsners (plus 25 cents pfand, which is the bottle deposit). And in the Netherlands and Germany, Turks make the best frites. Seriously.
    As you see in the pictures, it rains a lot in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. That's why you want fenders and a chainguard when you go bike touring there, which will be one of the best things you have ever done. All of these countries promote bicycle touring in a big way.

  20. #20
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    Good job! glad to have ya

    nice report Dan, and cool pics - good having folks like your fine self around.

    I love that other people get out and dive into the culture in foreign places. Rent a bike and jump in. Find the local favorite dining spots. Avoid the touristy crap at all costs. I do the same and can totally relate. My first day in Singapore I was on the subway with a map and a destination and no F'g clue as to what I was doing. I also ended up mtn biking in a park with wild monkeys. Not a bike friendly city though, road-wise.

    Great to have a model city for cycling, but the US of A has a long way to go, on average. I also like to get out there, commute, be visible, support Bike To Work Day, etc. but it seems lately that I read more about cyclists getting killed by a driver who __________ than I do positive things about bikes. My local bike coalition is now battling our town on a road restriping project, which will change the current lanes from 2 to 3 and eliminate the existing bike lane / shoulder as a result. Nice progress! The silly thing is that the lanes ultimately bottleneck at the intersection as before. Just makes people feel like they're moving faster a little while longer.

    One question: are people "into" their bikes there? Do they look at ti bits in the glass case and oooh and aaah over carbon fiber, fancy paint and lightweight wheels? I get the impression that a bike is a bike. Just curious.

    good stuff - need more posts like these
    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by rep
    Fotu, I think the fascist comments were just sarcasm.
    Oh, you mean like "I feel my post-modern swastika avitar and Nietzsche-esque signature represent the greater ennui of our disenchanted culture." or something. I guess the sarcasm was a little too subtle for me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSSer
    thanks for the montage/rant dan.

    its a crazy thought, but socal would be a nicer place if more bike friendly. heck, my new company doesnt even have bike racks out front. its a good thing that they have zero issues with me bringing the roadie into my office. now, the looks of the people in the elevator? that'll be priceless. lycra clad, prop the bike up in the corner.

    the only cool thing: the co. is wicked bike friendly. an example: apparently we've been sponsors now for 4 years:
    That's cool, I didn't know that about CH2MHill.. their original office is only a few miles away from where I live over in Corvallis. .

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    Oh, you mean like "I feel my post-modern swastika avitar and Nietzsche-esque signature represent the greater ennui of our disenchanted culture." or something. I guess the sarcasm was a little too subtle for me.
    I live in a town where headscarves (burkas) are a problem. They are devisive and represent sexual inequality and oppression. They create bad feeling and suspicion. I don't expect you to understand, cos you live somewhere with very white people and white picket fences.

    America is the new Nazi reich. The cap (avatar) fits.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kronik
    I live in a town where headscarves (burkas) are a problem. They are devisive and represent sexual inequality and oppression. They create bad feeling and suspicion. I don't expect you to understand, cos you live somewhere with very white people and white picket fences.

    America is the new Nazi reich. The cap (avatar) fits.
    Ah, of course! Silly me, I must have been blinded by the glare off of all these whities.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    Ah, of course! Silly me, I must have been blinded by the glare off of all these whities.
    When in Rome.. do as the Romans do... only they don't. My area looks like Pakistan.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kronik
    My area looks like Pakistan.
    Heaven Forbid! You poor baby! They must not understand that you were there first. Perhaps a gentle reminder, like outlawing cultural couture, will help to remind them of their place. And if that doesn't work, you could always burn down a Paki-owned storefront.

    (Rep, please read sarcasm)

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    And by the way, I really enjoyed your post GlowBoy. Really Inspirational. Sorry for the tangent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    And by the way, I really enjoyed your post GlowBoy. Really Inspirational. Sorry for the tangent.
    I thought it was great also. I just don't like Burka's. Neither does France.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood
    One question: are people "into" their bikes there? Do they look at ti bits in the glass case and oooh and aaah over carbon fiber, fancy paint and lightweight wheels? I get the impression that a bike is a bike. Just curious.
    Most people have a bike for practical reasons. It is just a means of transport (was that English?). A lot of kids ride their bike to school or walk if they live close to it. To most people a bike is a bike. That and the fact that it rains a lot here make internal gears a must. Practically no maintenance. Especially Sachs (now sram) make some very good 1, 3, 5 and 7 speed hubs. I am not very impressed with how Shimano nexus hubs handle the harsh conditions. Here is a one year old hub that has been ridden 5 days a week:



    But we also have a fair amount of cyclists that are very serious about how their bike look and the weight of it. It is sad though that most of them only think that it is possible to get a frame from a big company. We have very few frame builders in Denmark considering the great number of bikes. And many Danes think that the ultimate truth about bikes can be found in the German magazines (Entshuldingung ). When you talk to other mountain bikers on the trails they look really weird when they found out that you bike is made of steel and that you only have one gear. "Is it heavy?" or "is it possible with only one gear?".

    Do any of you remember Henrik Djernis?


    (And sorry for triggering the not very constructive or balanced discussion about head clothing and stuff.)

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    I'm not sorry for taking part in the burka headscarve argument, cos I am not a knee jerk PC loon i.e. I have a valid opinion. I think mountain biking is bigger in the Uk than elsewhere in Europe, but cycle provision in the Uk i.e. cycle lanes etc, are not at as good as they are elsewhere in Europe e.g. Holland, France, Germany, or Denmark.

    You have to ride very aggressively and confidently in the UK, which obviously carries its own risks.

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