Concepts

ASI recalls some Fuji bikes because of freehub concern

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Advanced Sports International is recalling about 650 road bikes because the bikes’ freehubs can slip while the rider is pedaling.

Malmö’s Bicycle House is Open – Cykelhuset OhBoy

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Jennie Fasth is a cyclist, bicycle advocate and freelance writer based in Malmö, Sweden. She is currently a student at the University of Lund, studying geographic information systems. She is working towards her Masters degree in urban planning. This article of hers was first published on the Swedish website HappyRide.se and is republished here on Copenhagenize.com with permission.

OhBoy – The Swedish Bicycle House is Open
by Jennie Fasth

On 23 October 2015, the first sod was turned for what would become the first “cykelhus” – or “bicycle house” in Sweden. The development is named OhBoy and is located in the Western Harbour (Västerhamn) ?of the City of Malmö. Tenants have now gradually started moving in. What does the Bicycle House look like? Who are the residents and what do they think about their new and unique building? I decided to find out.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

All 55 apartments are rented out and there is no doubt that bike-minded people were among the first to move in. Not all moving vans have arrived just yet, but there is no shortage of bikes. Along the access walkways, there are many regular bikes and cargo bikes. The bicycle garage is a beehive of activity, as well.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

There are bicycles on every floor and, unlike traditional apartment buildings, bikes are more than welcome on the access coridors. The railings are reinforced and extra space has been designed in, allowing for wider bikes to fit – without conflicting with fire regulations.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Bicycle Pool and Cargo Bikes

Although tenants start to arrive there remains a lot to do on the house. Three places to tinker with bikes, will be available shortly, two outdoor and one in the basement. These will be provided with tools for residents to borrow. Tenants will also have access to a bicycle pool and three of the custom-made bikes arrived just the other day – from Danish DIY cargo bikemakers XYZ Cargo.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The architecture bureau Hauschild + Siegel has designed, built and will manage the Bicycle House. They spent a great deal of time finding solutions to make the building as bicycle-friendly as possible. The bicycle pool is no exception. In order to maximize the comfort for residents living car-free, they have ordered bikes from XYZ Cargo in Copenhagen. In addition to the traditional three-wheeler cargo bike, residents can borrow both a kindergarten cargo bike with room for six children and a bicycle taxi with room for two passengers. Even some folding bikes have been ordered.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

These cargo bikes will have a separate parking area under a roof and next to the car park and the bike washing facility. After consulting with a landscape architect, an environmentally-friendly system has been developed. The traditional oil separator will be replaced with plants that will act as a filter in the cleaning process. Environmental considerations are consistent in the vegetation, the environmentally-friendly building materials and solar panels.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Bikes – Access All Areas

The kindergarten bike and the bike taxi are extra wide, but the building is designed for them. All doors are 10 cm wider than normal, which makes it possible for the residents to take their bike anywhere in the building. Even right up to their apartment door if necessary. In addition, every door is equipped with a door opener for easier access.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The architects have also thought about that all important turning radius in stairwells. Wider than in traditional apartment buildings. The bikes also fit easily into the elevators, which are wider and deeper than normal.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

It is easy to understand why the access walkways are teeming with cargo bikes. It is so easy to take them with you up to your apartment. The residents don’t have to unload the bike and then carry everything up to the apartment. This ease-of-use could not be easier.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

You don’t need to stop at the front door. The apartments are designed so that bikes can be wheeled right to your fridge, if you so desire. The apartment doors are also 10 cm wider than the norm. The kitchens are designed by Finnish company Puustelli?and consist of cabinet doors in glazed birch (gray and white in most apartments) and the countertops are Finnish granite. All units are fitted with induction stoves, convection ovens, dishwashers and a washing machine.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The open floor plan provides plenty of opportunities to decide for yourself how you want to design the accessibility in your apartment. Interestingly, the walls and ceilings are concrete and it is not allowed to paint them. Picture frams and curtain solutions are provided by the building administrators. You’ll need permission to drill in the concrete walls.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Regardless of which door the residents use to enter the building, bikes are thought into the design. All doors are wider and the elevator opens at front and back so you never need to turn your bike around.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Post boxes are available at the entrance and accommodate both large and small post. The idea is that the residents can shop from home – as so many people do – but also to make it easy to recieve packages. In addition to the cargo bikes, there is also a car share program included in the apartment.

A Car-Free Life

It is totally possible to just wander around the entire building all day and study all the cycling options and details. There are small touches everywhere that are part of the big picture in a building designed for people who have chosen a car-free life. We were able to meet some of the residents to hear why they moved into Bicycle House.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Ola Fagerstrom is an avid cyclist with many bike kilometres behind him. He has a cargo bike, a cyclecross and a mountain bike in his collection. He worked for a year at Danish cargo bike brand Larry vs Harry in Copenhagen, so it’s no surprise that a Bullitt cargo bike was the one he chose. You’ll see Ola whizzing around on it in Malmö. He sold his car two years ago and hasn’t any reason to buy a new one.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Moving to the Bicycle House has only been a positive experience. Ola’s son, Malte, used to have t ride 10 km a day to get to school in Western Harbour, and now has a much shorter journey. ?Ola enjoys the area’s industrial feel and calm streets. He likes not having a building across the street and the view of Stapelbädds Park is harmonic, he says. Although there is still construction noise in the building, it is still very quiet. It is impossible to hear the local skate park or the traffic nearby.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Ola’s bike expertise has been harnessed by the building’s community and he has had the opportunity to take part in both the purchase of tools for the workshops and the bikes for the bicycle pool. Even though it has only been a few weeks since he moved in, Ola is thriving. He thinks it is fantastic to smoothly roll his fully-loaded Bullitt cargo bike into the elevator and park outside his front door.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The next resident we meet is Johanna Ekne. She lives and works in the building and will be responsible for the coming Bicycle Hotel and while the decision to move here was work-related, it was the design of the place that sold it to Johanna. Her family innovative thinking and a building dedicated to cycling felt right.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Moving boxes are not yet emptied and there is much to be done but Johanna loves it. The apartment is very different that the old house in Möllevången where she moved from, which had four flights of stairs and no lift. The family also had problems finding space for their bikes. Today, the bikes are parked outside their flat, which Johanna thinks is brilliant.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The family kept their car during the move but now have plans of selling it. Something Johanna looks forward to. “It will be great. Everything is easier by bike”.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The family lives at the top of the building and the apartment has two levels. Each apartment on the 6th and 7th floor has a spacious terrace that will ?eventually be fitted with green barriers and flower boxes to provide some privacy.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

For the residents who don’t have a large terrace, the view can be enjoyed from the roof terrace. An orangery is being built and all vegetation will be in place by April 2017.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

The Bicycle Hotel

Moving boxes are still arriving in a steady flow and most residents are expected to move in by the time the Bicycle Hotel opens. March 1. 2017 is the date that the 32 apartments on the ground floor will be ready for guests.

Photo © Jennie Fasth

Bedrooms and bathrooms are on the ground floor and a kitchen and living room with work area are located upstairs. Guests have their own entrance with a little garden outside and, during the stay, will have free access to bikes. The reception will be on the ground floor of the building but the idea is that hotel guests will check in on their own. A communal laundry will also be included at the reception.

The hotel apartments are aimed both at those who want to stay longer and those who are just looking for a short term accommodation for the purpose of, for example, looking for work. All apartments are equipped with a desk and chair and free internet access.

Graphic © Hauschild + Siegel

Many amazing things are happening in Malmö’s Western Harbour related to urban cycling. Several property owners are trying to reduce the number of cars and promote cycling, as well as generally making life easier in the area without a car.

None of them, however, have gone to the lengths as Hauschild + Siegel and the Bicycle House Ohboy. This will hopefully be the start of an urban trend where expensive (to build) car parking can be replaced with investment in sustainable living and environmentally-friendly mobility.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

ASE realigns product development department, puts Peters in charge of e-bike development

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Advanced Sports Enterprises, the owner of ASI and Performance Bicycle, is realigning key staff in its product development department. Ellen Johnson will take on the role of ASE’s director of product development while James Peters will become director of special projects, according to Pat Cunnane, CEO of ASE.

Bike Helmets – Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

I took part in a radio debate last week. Four guests and a journalist. In that forty-five minutes, I experienced a number of things including, but not limited to, the anti-intellectualisation of our society, emotional propaganda, alternative facts, manipulative and selective choice of facts, The Culture of Fear and the negative branding of cycling.

You might expect I was on American or Australian radio. Nope. I was a 12 minute bike ride from Copenhagenize Design Company’s Copenhagen office – at Denmark’s national broadcaster, DR, on their flagship radio channel P1 Debat.

The occasion was a debate about bike helmets. The week before, a Danish media personality, Mads Christensen, tossed out a remark on a television programme about how he let his kids decide for themselves, at the age of eight, if they wanted to wear a bike helmet or not. His comments were simply based on rationality about real or percieved dangers in society. Nevertheless, they generated a great deal of debate on social media. A journalist and radio host, Bente Dalsbæk (The Journalist), decided to allocate 45 minutes to the subject.

Mads Christensen (The Rationalist) was there, of course. Also invited were Klaus Bondam (The Bike Advocate), head of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation; Torben Lund Kudsk (The Motorist), head of the Danish car lobby NGO, FDM; and yours truly.

I don’t often engage in discussions about bike helmets in Denmark and try to avoid them in other regions. I feel that it distracts from our work at Copenhagenize Design Company in designing infrastructure for cities. Like Chris Boardman – former pro-cyclists and policy advisor at British Cycling has said on BBC.com, “You’re as safe riding a bike as you are walking,” (a helmet is) “… not in the top 10 things you can do to keep safe.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29894590

I did this TED x talk in 2010 about The Culture of Fear related to bike helmets in order to NOT have to talk about it all the time.

This article by Howie Chong entitled Why it Makes Sense to Bike Without a Helmet is also well worth a read.

What has shocked me is that the debate about helmets is at such a primitive level in this country. Even in hard-core helmet promotion regions elsewhere in the world, I can engage in discussions at a much higher level. The hysterical social media reaction to comments like those by Mads Christensen would be balanced by people aware of science and practicing rationality. Not so here in Denmark. The reactions were overwhelmingly hysterical and ignorant. Not to mention completely unworthy of a well-educated nation like Denmark.

The 45 minute interview started with context, where The Rationalist explained his side of the story. He repeated his statement about rationality and risk assessment. When mountain biking the woods, he and his kids wear helmets. When cycling to the shops in the world’s safest bicycle nation or whatnot, he doesn’t and he allows his kids to make their own call. Sounds like an intelligent approach.

Like almost everywhere else, kids have a higher risk of head injury in cars and in playgrounds and for adults, cars pose the greatest risk followed by being a pedestrian, being at home, gardening, etc.

Yes, life remains dangerous, although we live in a safer society than at any other point in the history of homo sapiens. The Culture of Fear, however, is the bogeyman. We can still construct fear of anything – including cycling. And wherever we can scare people, there are products to be sold to them.

After The Rationalist outlined his point of view in the radio debate, The Journalist started to gather points of view, starting with The Bike Advocate. Klaus Bondam stated his organisation’s standard position. They strongly recommend helmets but are against legislation to make them mandatory. I pointed out that The Bike Advocate is the head of the only national bicycle NGO in Europe that actively promotes helmets.

It was then my turn to present my point of view. How science should be respected, how manipulating selective facts is fundamentally wrong. I did what I could with the short answering time allocated to me by The Journalist but I could see early on in the interview that it was rigged in favour of The Culture of Fear. Which made it a loooong 45 minutes.

All the strategy for one-sided debate was present. The Journalist threw out a statistic about how 60% of head injuries could be avoided with a helmet. No, not 60% of ALL head injuries – she only meant bike crashes. The Bike Advocate threw out another select statistic. With the looks on their faces when they did so, you really sensed that they felt they were nailing the debate.

The Journalist didn’t bothering questioning the statistic or the context of it in order to provide the listeners with a bigger picture. The Bike Advocate looked all pleased with himself at being able to quote a researcher name and the year of the study. While science is under fire in Trump’s America, there is another category that is equally detrimental to any debate. The One Study Argument. Just cast one study that produced one statistic into the debate and wham. You are portrayed as an expert. People who don’t know more about the subject have no response. Pity those poor fools. Let them bask in the glory of your One Study Argument greatness.

?That is not how science works, however. The bigger picture is more important.

Why is the debate at such a primitive level here in one of the world’s great cycling nations? The answer is simple. Lack of information – or rather a strictly controlled and manipulated information flow. In the Danish context, we must examine the tightly controlled information flow. Like you, wherever you are whilst reading this, we have a road safety NGO in Denmark. They call themselves The Danish Road Safety Council – Rådet for Sikker Trafik (The Safety Nannies).

Via Yehuda Moon -?http://yehudamoon.com/

This NGO is the puppet master controlling the flow of information about bike helmets. They have mastered the art. By doing so, they also contribute to the anti-intellectualisation of Danish society. They select one or two studies that adhere to their strict ideology and present it like the word of god to the masses. If individuals question it, the stats are merely repeated. The “60%” stat that The Journalist found and presented in the studio is their current one commandment carved in a stone tablet. It originates with the Norwegian Transport Economic Institute (TØI) and dates from 2004. It is perfect for them. It is a Scandinavian source from a fancy-sounding institute. Ironically, TØI has published other helmet-related studies since then and few would fit Sikker Trafik’s ideology. Better to ignore them and stick to the stat that works.

You don’t need to explain WHY climate change is a hoax. You just have to repeat it ad naseum. Much the same communication strategy as The Safety Nannies employ and hand off to lazy journalists and pundits. It is a sad, flawed strategy that only fans the flames of anti-intellectualisation in any society but if you look at it, it is a brilliant strategy from a communication point of view.

The Safety Nannies started their bike helmet promotion in the early 1990s in Denmark. Since then, cycling levels have continued to fall, which is what we have seen in many regions around the world. Danes are cycling more than 30% less today than in 1990. (If we got that 30% back, we could save over 1500 lives a year because of the health benefits of cycling, according to Professor Lars Bo Andersen of University of Southern Denmark, the most published academic about the health benefits of cycling)

The positive aspects of having a cycling population are rarely presented in the current debate in Denmark. They are not sensationalist enough for journalists, apparently. In the middle of the interview The Journalist held up a printed out photo that she harvested from Facebook of a woman with a head injury. It was like a image version of the One Study Argument. “See?! Look at THAT…” End of debate. Showing photos of tens of thousands of people lying in hospital beds suffering from lifestyle illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, etc, due to inactivity is considerably less glamorous and have no place in sensationalist journalism.

Another old chestnut was presented in the studio. 17,000 people visit a hospital each year as a result of a bike crash. I tried to put that number into context. The average in Denmark is 20,000, so I had calculated based on that number.

If 18% of the population of Denmark ride a bicycle to and from work or education each day, that is 1,008,000 trips a week, Monday to Friday. Multiply that by 300 work days a year and you get 302,400,000 trips by bike. We’re not even including the trips to the supermarket, cafe, cinema, etc.

If 20,000 trips end in a crash and a hospital visit, that means you have, in Denmark, a 0.0066138% chance of crashing and going to the hospital. The vast majority of those injuries are minor and the person in question is back on a bike in, at the most, a couple of days. Motorists, by the way, end up in hospitals much longer when they get injured in their preferred mode of transport.

According to the City of Copenhagen who endeavour to battle this Bicycle Misinformation War whenever they can, I have to cycle to work for 2800 YEARS before I get injured.

So where was The Bike Advocate during this onslaught of manipulation and alternative facts? Was he deftly and professionally countering all the arguments about cycling being dangerous? You would hope so. He was, however, all over the map, sending conflicting messages about cycling.

The Safety Nannies broadcast the number of 20,000 cyclists visiting hospitals to anyone who will listen. They are not content with that, however. They invented “mørketal” – or “dark numbers” as a way of further constructing fear about cycling. Cyclists also get hurt but DON’T visit the hospital and those dark numbers are an unknown. Yes. Cyclists who ARE OKAY and who have bandaids in their home after a minor mishap are now being used in the massive branding of cycling as an undesirable transport form.

The Bike Advocate presented the listeners with this concept of dark numbers. Instead of defending cycling from the onslaught, he helped polish the rifles and load the ammo. A little later, he threw in a mix of neutral and positive angles to confuse anyone who was listening. There was no clear agenda from Denmark’s national cycling NGO. They refuse to acknowledge what most other cycling NGOs in Europe know – that merely promoting helmets is detrimental to cycling levels.

Personally, I am sceptical when shopkeepers promote helmets. The Cyclists’ Federation has a bike shop. Several people in the industry cancelled their memberships back in the day when they opened a shop. The criticism was that an NGO for cycling should not promote one product over the other and remain neutral.

In another twist, we still have emails in our archives from late 2007 and early 2008 when The Safety Nannies started their hardcore, emotional propaganda about bike helmets. What tipped it for them was that they convinced the Cyclists’ Federation to get on board. Colleagues from our industry informed me that the latter were promised influence and access to future funding if they joined the helmet brigade. They continue to deny this to this day.

In Denmark, everything started with The Safety Nannies and their manipulated alternative facts are largely unchallenged by a society slowly dumbing down. Trump didn’t invent Trumpism, he just excels at it. Trump is merely a product of societal development. The same techniques are present everywhere. Interestingly, like Trump, The Safety Nannies in Denmark do not like being contradicted. They have actually spent time emailing journalists in Denmark and abroad about… me. Engaging in attempted character assassination with journalists and editors. Trying to discredit me. It is amusing. It only helps getting science printed and distributed. It also shows that their case is weak. You don’t go to all that effort if you are confident in what you are saying.


Current helmet wearing rates in Copenhagen are at 11%.

As we have come to expect, the debate also featured comments about “doctors and nurses say that…” Yet another technique in the debate. Who can doubt a medical professional?! They fail to realise that while those doctors and nurses excel at fixing people, they receive information about prevention from the same sources as everyone else. The one-way communication street from The Safety Nannies sends the same manipulated facts to doctors and nurses, too. Trust the medical professionals to make you better. Doubt the sources of their prevention advice. And notice that it is the trauma staff who get the best press. The doctors caring for those with lifestyle illnesses never get the same spotlight.

The debate wandered into cyclist behaviour and the others agreed readily that “something has happened… cyclists are behaving more badly than ever before”. This is as amusing as it is wrong. Cyclist behaviour is largely unchanged for at least 120 years. There are countless articles, letters to the editor and editorials about cyclist behaviour over the past century. Not least this satirical piece by Denmark’s most loved satirist, Storm P..

Perhaps it is time to realise that cyclist behaviour can only be changed if we stop forcing them to adhere to traffic rules and traffic culture designed to serve the automobile. We sending badminton players to play with ice hockey rules. It has never worked so it is time to think differently.

We have shown time and again with our Desire Line Analyses that behaviour among our cycling citizens is fine. Only 5% of cyclists smash through the traffic rulebook. Which is on a par with pedestrians and motorists.

A recent poll in Denmark outlined how ignorance of a topic can have dangerous consequences. This is a society where The Safety Nannies have a monopoly on the information about cycling. Danes were polled about whether they want a helmet law. A majority said yes. You don’t get that result in many places anymore due to the balance of information in the debate. Except in Denmark. The Safety Nannies and The Bike Advocate have been pushing helmets hard. Now they are under fire for not supporting a bike helmet law. They have shot themselves in the foot.

It was a tough room. Countering emotional propaganda with an arsenal of science and rationality is difficult. I was in the line of fire as the others did what they could to continue this branding of cycling in Denmark as dangerous, using all the techniques we know from around the world. I tried to highlight facts like the Australian government’s study about motoring helmets, but to no avail. I just hope some listeners got the point.

I didn’t get to industrial design, unfortunately. People have been led to believe that a bike helmet can withstand a meteor strike. They have never been informed that a helmet is designed to protect the head in non-life threatening, solo accidents under 20 km/h. Or that helmets are tested in simulations that resemble a pedestrian falling – which makes them perfect for… pedestrians and people in their home.

“A walking helmet is a good helmet”

Nor did I get to say that most serious head injuries are not a result of a lateral impact, but rather a rotational impact. Something bike helmets cannot deal with.

Sigh.

More people drown in Denmark each year than die in bicycle crashes. There is a missed financial opportunity there. Let’s pass laws making life vests mandatory within 2 metres of water. 35,000 Europeans die each year in cars. Think of the money to be made if we imported these from Australia (it is a real product).

It was a depressing debate session in that radio studio. Daily Mail tactics from The Journalist. Vague, conflicting and confusing messaging from The Bike Advocate. The Rationalist had his say, which helped, but at the end of the day, the sheeple will lean towards the strong-flowing current of misinformation from The Safety Nannies.

You may recall that The Motorist was in the room, too. He didn’t say much. He didn’t need to. Would you? You have a national radio program completely trashing your main competitor. Car sales are at a four year high in Denmark. Just stand there and let them do it.

I cycled back to the office and continued to work on our projects with cities who want to copenhagenize themselves. We’ll keep on keeping on. Designing their networks and infrastructure. Exporting the Copenhagen model. It is a good, transferable model. It is working to transform cities around the world. Embrace it. Everything else coming out of Denmark regarding negative branding, helmet promotion and The Culture of Fear… ignore it.

Go talk to the Dutch. Start with this article about Dutch Rationality Saving Childrens’ Lives.

In Denmark, we’re heading down this road:

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Trek Bikes reviews and buying advice

Trek Bikes is a popular American bicycle and bicycle product manufacturer. Trek road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids are ridden all over the world on all sorts of terrain and are regularly seen at the very top level of professional competition.

Who is Trek?

Trek Bikes was founded in 1976 and started out producing steel touring frames in a small shed in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The company initially aimed its bikes at the middle-to-high-end market, which was dominated at the time by Japanese and Italian brands, and within three years was selling over $2m worth of bikes.

In 1983 Trek produced its first mountain bike, the Trek 850, and the following year it expanded into components and accessories. The company started producing carbon framed bikes in the late 1980s and in 1990 began producing hybrid bikes and kids’ bikes.

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Trek has been at the forefront of female-friendly bike design

In the years that followed, Trek purchased the Gary Fisher bike brand (1993), presented the Y-frame full-suspension mountain bike (1995), then acquired more brands including Klein Bicycles (1995) and Bontrager Cycles (1995), followed by others including Germany’s oldest bike brand Diamant (2003).

Trek formed its Advanced Concepts Group in 1998 to work on its very latest technologies, creating groundbreaking models including the Trek Madone road bike, hailed by some as the first ’super bike’ and the TTC time trial bike. The company has also been at the forefront of female-friendly bike design, introducing Women’s Specific Design bikes and accessories in 2000.

What Trek bikes are there?

Does Trek make anything besides bikes?

Where are Trek bikes available?

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Tern completes folding e-bike Kickstarter campaign, will deliver bikes via IBDs

LAKEWOOD, Calif. (BRAIN) — Tern recently sucessfully concluded a Kickstarter.com campaign for a folding e-bike, raising $92,430 from 89 backers, surpassing the campaign’s $60,000 goal. The Vektron model bikes will be delivered to Kickstarter backers via brick-and-morter retailers, the company said

When a Public Space Doesn’t Want You – Kvæsthusmolen

The Bicycle Chef on Kvæsthus Pier
A late-summer evening in Copenhagen. Copenhagenize Design Company arranged for The Bicycle Chef – Cykelkokken to serve up a delicious snack for our guests from the City of Bordeaux, including Mayors from surrounding municipalities, who were visiting our city to learn about bicycle urbanism and public space.

Ole Kassow from Cycling Without Age was invited to spread his good word about his amazing project. Being urban designers, we thought it highly appropriate to exploit the potential of Copenhagen’s newest public space – Kvæsthusmolen?- a redevelopment of a quay in the heart of the Danish capital.

Summer is lingering this year, but the space was rather empty at 18:30, with only a few people enjoying the evening. We arranged for the Bicycle Chef to meet us at the “Kissing Steps” and set up for serving our guests from his converted Bullitt cargo bike.

It was going to be a classic Copenhagen arrangement. Or so we thought.

In all the material about the new, public urban space, grand descriptions are employed. “A space for cosy and quiet moments“, they tell us. “A good urban space also invites people to linger“. Indeed. The spot we chose – the Kissing Steps – is “a perfect place to share a moment in the sun.” Not a dry eye in the house.

There is nothing in those descriptions to indicate that using the space would result in an angry employee from the Scandic Front hotel nearby storming out to us in the middle of the urban space and informing us in no uncertain terms – read: rude – that we had to move. That the space upon which we stood was private property and that we had to leave it immediately.

When we questioned this bizarre statement with comments about public space, we were informed by this man that it WASN’T public space – it was owned by The Royal Danish Theatre?- also located nearby – and that the Scandic Front hotel pays “a lot of money” to rent it. Therefore we, as Copenhageners with international guests, were not allowed to have a private picnic.


Damn. There we were. Ready to experience a place for everything, a place for excitement and a place for US.

We were ready for a vibrant urban space and nine steps for kissing! As RealDania, the philanthropic fund who financed it says on the project website, the goal with the space was:

• creating an urban space which communicates the transition between Frederiksstaden and Holmen through a wide architectural “embrace” that extends the classical understanding of space in Frederiksstaden, staged through a sensual mixture of materials and a “fairy-tale” composition of lighting, which in itself makes the square enticing; both day and night?
• to soften the transition between land and sea, e.g. with a stairway, and to enable a broad spectrum of recreational activities on and by the water?

RealDania’s declared mission is “To improve quality of life for the common good through the built environment“.

What an amazing array of glossy, marketing texts about this new destination.

We were the only people in the space at that moment. The outdoor seating for the hotel was packed up for the evening – and probably the rest of the year. While Angry Hotel Man didn’t seem very certain about his claims, we had distinguished guests arriving so we chose to avoid educating him in public space and, instead, roll over to the other area on Kvæsthusmolen, along the harbour, to begin our evening.

The Lulu and Cykelkokken Ole Kassow
The World’s Youngest Urbanist, The Lulu, helped Morten out preparing for our guests. Ole Kassow did his magic and all went well.


Kvæsthusmolen was designed by Danish architects Lundberg & Tranberg.

The question remains. Can you boldy proclaim “public space” and then try to kick people off of it? And in a city that prides itself on public space like few others? The lines between private and public are blurred here on Kvæsthusmolen. The Royal Danish Theatre even tries to brand the space as Ofelia Plads / Ofelia Square, complete with a website. Even though the official name is Kvæsthusmolen.


Screengrab from The Royal Danish Theatre’s website. Just because it’s weird.

As Mayor Morten Kabell has said, “There is nothing called Ofelia Plads – except in the imagination of The Royal Theatre“.

Addendum
Mayor Morten Kabell, on Facebook, has looked into this. He writes:

The stairs and Kvæsthusmolen is owned by the Ministry of Culture and administered by ofeliaplads.dk. They have leased a part of the place to Scandic Hotel for restaurant purposes, but far from it all. On the hotel’s area you cannot make a private event or picnic.

But at the rest of Kvæsthusmolen, you can sit and enjoy yourselves, have a picnic and so on. When it amounts to a bigger event, you have to apply for permission from ofeliaplads.dk just like you’d have to if the area was owned by the city.


We weren’t in the (closed) cafe space near the hotel. We were in the middle of the area. It would be interesting to see a plan showing the exact lease area. The whole area was deserted. You would think that creating some life in the space would be regarded as beneficial to everyone, including the businesses.

But hey. So maybe it’s a free-for-all in this new urban space. Organisations can make up names for it. Hotels can kick you out of it – and, what’s worse, hotels that only have a dismal 3.5 rating on Trip Advisor.

This may be routine in other cities in the world. This is not, however, fitting in the Copenhagen in which I choose to live and work.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

ASI launches new lifestyle bike brand at show

Tuesday Cycles offers cruisers and town-style bikes. PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Advanced Sports International (ASI) is launching Tuesday Cycles, a new lifestyle brand of cruisers, comfort and lifestyle bikes this week at Interbike.  In addition to Tuesday Cycles’ contemporary style cues from the Southern California beach scene, the brand will feature frame design aimed at accommodating riders of all abilities

Eurobike honors top product with awards

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — The Eurobike Award distinguishes products and concepts that stand out for their innovations, new functions and quality. Trade show organizers also bestow 12 Gold Awards and one Green Award for the top products, and most sustainable product. Some 472 entrants applied for an award this year.

TBI, USA Triathlon to present conferences side by side

AUSTIN, Texas (BRAIN) — Triathlon Business International and USA Triathlon have announced that they will collaborate to consecutively present their respective annual conferences: the TBI Conference and USA Triathlon’s Annual Race Director Symposium, both presented by Active Network.