Some great insights from Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen:

“Our relationship to the bicycle in Copenhagen is much like the vacuum cleaner. We don’t have five of them that we keep polished and well-oiled, there are no vacuum cleaner enthusiasts, we don’t go to a specialty shop to buy one or wear special clothes while we vacuum. The bicycle and the vacuum cleaner are just tools. One of them we clean our homes with, the other we use to transport ourselves around the city.”

“You never hear them [car industry] talking negatively about their product at all. Never. motoring headbandThey’ll never tell you that driving is considered to be the most difficult task homo sapiens have had to master. This is actually true, hunting mammoths is nothing compared to driving a car. They’ll never tell you that the level of dangerous hydorcarbon particles in the air are actually higher inside the car than if you ride a bike next to them… They never tell you your risk of head injury is higher in a car than on a bicycle and at no point have we ever seen the car industry promote motorist helmets.”

“Someone has let a sacred bull in society’s China shop… We can all agree that there is a bull in the china shop, we can all be realistic and think the bull’s not going anywhere (it’s gotten too big to fit out the door now). So we bubble wrap all the pieces of expensive china and meanwhile the bull just knocked over eight shelves in aisle 9 and took a shit on the floor. It’s strange, we’ve developed this fantastic capacity to completely and utterly ignore the bull.”

(From BikePortland.  Thanks to Ron Richings.)

And on the sadder side, an article in the New York Times on vandalism problems with Paris’s Velib.

(Thanks to Frank Ducote.)


  1. I don’t think anyone should be surprised at the destruction of velib bikes.

    I remember visiting my wife’s hometown in China a few years ago. Looking at tenements seemingly straight out of 1984, I asked my father in law how they came to be in such poor condition.

    “They’re owned by the government,” he said. Inquiring further, he explained that without a sense of ownership, the buildings were left to decay with the expectation that the city government would fix them, but there was no money to do so.

    Since the government had opened up the real estate business, he went on, new condos on the other side of town sparked as their owners proudly displayed their new symbols of wealth.

    I guess there is something to be said for private ownership.

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