VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BRAIN) Tuesday June 25 2012— The Velo-city Global conference returns to North America Tuesday with a four-day run in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conference is expected to bring in 1,000 delegates from around the world to put their heads together on the best methods to create and sustain cycling-friendly cities where bicycles are prioritized as part of daily transportation and recreation. The program includes four seminar-packed days including segments on: growth in cycle tourism and public bike sharing schemes; increasing cycle and safety on college campuses; the potential of e-bikes as the next growth opportunity for cycling, campaigns; increasing transit ridership through bicycle access to stations and stops; tools and auditing for improving cycling conditions within cities and European successes in increasing cycling; It also includes an exhibition area with about 30 booths covering advocacy groups, public bike sharing vendors and a few bike companies including Norco, Lazer, Trek and Dero Bike Racks.
This week we’re featuring some cool places to visit with our cycling and mountain biking holiday destination guides. From ridden and rated cyclosportives to a lowdown of the best trail centres, there’s enough information for you to start planning your next cycling getaway.
However, if you’re wanting to explore completely new places, venture off the beaten track or benefit from local cycling knowledge, head over to BikeRadar Training and check out the user routes. You can discover which trails and roads local riders recommend, and get inspired about where to take your bike.?
Ideas to get you started
Want to go mountain biking in France but also fit in a Mediterranean beach break? This route was uploaded by a BikeRadar Training member and weaves from the town of Le Rove towards the coast. Dry, dusty singletrack weaves through rich green shrubbery, and climbs are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the sea.
User Jupapy uploaded this 14.7-mile loop, called ‘Rando Le Rove’
Heading to Barcelona to soak up the Spanish culture but still want to get out and spin your legs? AlunAlun uploaded this 17.6-mile road route, entitled ‘Besos-Alella-TT’. Starting just north of the city, this route follows the Bes?s river out to the north-east and winds towards the coast through roads surrounded by forest-covered mountains.
Besos-Alella-TT, uploaded by AlunAlun
Feeling inspired? Then head on over to BikeRadar Training and share your favourite routes with the rest of the training community, or see whether someone has uploaded a map that matches your holiday destination.
The Bicycle as a symbol of progress, of renewal, of promising times ahead. This is not a new concept. Indeed it has been around since the invention of the bicycle. Many bicycle posters at end of the 19th century featured promising themes like liberation, progress, freedom. Here’s an example:
When people in most cultures see art or photgraphy, our brain sees movement from left to right and interprets the piece based on that.
The German historian and psychologist Rudolf Arnheim who wrote, among other books, “Art and visual perception â€“ A psychology of the creative eye” noticed that the way many cultures read – from left to right – has an influence on the way we look at art or photography.
â€˜Since a picture is â€œreadâ€ from left to right, pictorial movement toward the right is perceived as being easier, requiring less effortâ€™.
In the vintage poster, the youthful girl in pure white is tossing flowers about her as she rides from left to right. She is heading towards the future, moving away from us. Perhaps even spreading flowers to encourage us to follow her.
The old, frail woman sitting amongst thorns has her back firmly to the future, head in her hand and almost resigned to the fact that she won’t – or can’t – be a part of the glowing future.
Bicycles often look better when heading off to the right. In the photo shoots we’ve done for bicycle brands, we are always careful to shoot the right side of the bicycle wherever possible, so that the chainguard is visible. It just looks better.
Here are a couple of examples of ‘reading’ a photo.
At top left, the girl in the poncho looks like she is struggling into a snowblown headwind, which she was. At bottom left, by flipping the photo horizontally, she looks like she is sailing on a tailwind. The pedestrians, as well.
At top right, the bicycle users appear to have an easy go of it with a tailwind. Which they weren’t. At bottom right they appear to be muscling into the snow and wind.
The flag at the top is the party flag for the Samajwadi political party in India. Their rising star, Akhilesh Yadav, recently won a landslide election in the Uttar Pradesh state elections. Yadav campaigned tirelessly and he rode hundreds of kilometres around the state on his bicycle and organised bicycle rides. Reuters has an article about his rise to power. He thrashed the heir-apparent in Indian politics, Rahul Ghandi of THE Ghandis by appealing to the working classes, sleeping in villagers huts and aligning himself with the demands of the regular citizens. And the man can even text and cycle at the same time. He’s got our vote.
So a bicycle is a fitting symbol for the party. For any progressive party who aspire to be agents of change.
Let’s hope Mr Yadav becomes a Hero for India and is ‘extra durable and shining’, as the decals on this Indian bicycle spotted in Copenhagen declare.
I have no idea if the designer thought about the positioning of the bicycle on the flag at the top of the article. Based on this Left to Right perception, the bicycle isn’t heading away from us, carrying us to a better future and all the other metaphors you can think of.. The positioning of it – in our perception – suggests that it is going in the opposite direction. Going against the flow, or against the grain, as it were. Which can be symbolic in a positive sense for a political party wishing to embrace change and deconstruct the status quo.
This started out as an article about Mr Yadav and his party’s use of the bicycle as a symbol. A discussion started here at Copenhagenize Consulting, however, about how bicycles are positioned in signage and pictograms.
If we suppose that a bicycle heading from left to right is ‘positive’ symbolism for our sub-conscious perception, then surely bicycle pictograms and signage should feature this directional placement.
We all went over the window to look at the Danish standard on the cycle tracks outside.
Oops. Right to left. Although the logo of the City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Office “I Bike CPH” features a bicycle in the ‘positive’ direction, as does the S-trains in Copenhagen – at least on the right side of the train. As well as this pictogram for the Bicycle Seat Belt on the train between Copenhagen and MalmÃ¶, Sweden.
Then we had a look through our archives from around the world.
In Vienna the bicycle is featured right to left, although the light signal avoids any metaphorical complication by sending the bicycle right towards us. That seems positive when you ‘read’ that pictogram. At right is the symbol for The Green Wave in Copenhagen, with the bicycle user in metaphorical direction equality – could be heading towards us or away from us. I’ve always percieved this as the bicycle heading towards me, come to think of it.
Stockholm can’t seem to decide.
The French are sending the bicycle backwards, then forwards to a progressive future and then back again.
Barcelona is right to left. Except on the train signage. Confused?
This pictogram in Amsterdam is right to left, as is the street sign.
Sao Paulo is right to left, although on the sign stating that Volkswagon sponsored the bike lane through a park the bicycles are left to right. And yes, we love that irony.
This pictogram in Washington, DC seems to send cyclists back out into traffic. In Montreal, middle, and Italy, at right, it’s right to left, too.
So here’s a crazy Copenhagenize idea.
Let’s get all subliminal. Let’s flip our bicycle pictograms on the streets and signage to send a sub-conscious message to all those who ‘read’ them. It’s an inexpensive solution to influence perception of cycling.
Send the bicycle from left to right – not only so we can see the damned chainguard – but to broadcast the symbolism of a progressive future.
TUCSON, AZ (BRAIN)â€”ProBike Tucson has had to overcome its share of obstacles on the way to opening its doors this month.
There is a car share company in the States called Zipcar. Car sharing is good. I use a car share programme here in Copenhagen – okay… only about 3 times a year, but hey. It’s there when I need it. Once again, it’s interesting to note and track the rising resistance of the car industry and related auto-centric industries to the rise of the bicycle in our cities. It comes as a bit of a surprise that Zipcar would go after bicycle culture in a campaign, but here they are, doing it. Zipcar is, of course, on Twitter, if anyone is interested.
It was Jym Dyer on Twitter who pointed us in the direction of Zipcar’s “Sometimes you just need a Zipcar” campaign, pictured above in situ, from his photostream on Flickr. As he puts it:
“These people apparently live in a world where bike messengers don’t exist, so nobody has figured out how to carry papers on a bicycle. Apparently baskets, racks, xtracycles, worktrikes, and bike trailers don’t exist either, because you have to carry architectural models on your handlebars. The only alternative, apparently, is a 5-door car. Architects who can’t envision carfree spaces are a big part of the problem.
Indeed. The campaign also has a Facebook page where you can add your own dialogue to the photo. I suggest everyone get in there and turn back the automobile tide with their wit. Because there are a whole lot of misconceptions in there.
Jym also pointed out that the architectural model the woman is holding – besides being butt ugly – has an entire ground floor dedicated to car parking. Sooooo last century.
So. How would these well-dressed – and shockingly visionless – architects get to their meeting? Zipcar obviously can’t envision how the bicycle has been used for over a century in our cities. Let’s help them out, shall we?
At left: Two lawyers outside the Copenhagen City Courts, carrying all manner of legal documents on their bicycles.
At right: A decent front rack – with or without a box – could make it simpler to transport the architectural model – and other things.
Front racks come in a variety of sizes – I even use it for transporting my kids’ bikes from time to time. And everything else under the sun.
Here’s an average load for me and the kids. Two plants, two metal cupboards, a doll and a bunch of other stuff on the Bullitt.
Like Jym said, what about bicycle messengers? Either a traditional cargo bike or a larger version, like La Petite Reine in Paris (pictured), or a variety of other versions.
Zipcar isn’t just playing the anti-cycling card. They’re slapping a whole bunch misconceptions out there.
Oh puhlease. Zipcar’s advertising people really should get out more often.
Thankfully I’ve never experienced this clichÃ© but the last two times I’ve moved flats, I did it on cargo bikes:
And you may remember this film of our friends moving flat in Barcelona by bicycle.
Transporting musical instruments by bicycle?
At left: A musician arriving at a cafÃ© in Copenhagen for a gig. A couple of those Christiania bikes and those boys need not take the bus.
At right: A musician setting up to play on a square in Copenhagen with his cargo bike as transport.
Here’s a Copenhagenize Flickr set about music, musical instruments and bicycles.
Okay, this one is, in a way, one of those things that’s not like the others. To get to the lake/stream, you may want something more than a bicycle depending where it is. But why wouldn’t that canoe fit on the subway? They could just stand up, pressing it against the ceiling. If they DID want to transport it by bike, it wouldn’t be THAT difficult.
That yule tree is not that much shorter than the canoe and that sofa is certainly less handy – and heavier.
Now here’s a question. Do Zipcars come with detachable bike racks as standard? Nah. Didn’t think so. Every taxi in Denmark must be equipped with two bike racks. If you need a taxi and have a bicycle to transport, the driver gets out and takes out the rack from the trunk, sticking it into the standard holder on the back of the taxi. Wouldn’t THAT be a good idea for Zipcar and other car share programmes?
How about just be a little bit forward-thinking and selling car share WITH bicycles? We blogged about a great little film from Dublin that promotes combining the two. The bike share programme Go Car teamed up with Bear Bicycles.
By the way, I’ve heard that Paris is getting a large-scale Zipcar-ish car share programme with electric cars. Don’t Zipcars still run on oil? Sheesh. Isn’t it 2011, or what?
Here’s more from Copenhagenize’s The Car Industry Strikes Back series.
You think YOU have problems with people obstructing bike lanes?! This is how they do it in Barcelona. Saw another woman another day 20 metres along doing the same thing, with a yoga mat on the bike path.
I tweeted as such yesterday, but Liveable City Requirement #1 really is being able to ride around the city with my nine-year old on safe, separated infrastructure.
So far it’s been back and forth to the beach each day but we do have other destinations on the agenda. And we’ll need a break from the beach – it’s bloody hard work body-surfing, building sandcastles, playing beach tennis and football, etc.
Wish I could nap on the way home, like Lulu-Sophia yesterday. But then my kids are used to napping in cargo bikes:
I’ve ridden a Bullitt in a number of cities – including New York and Tokyo – and the stares you get from passersby are always amazing. Even though Barcelona is really a bicycle-friendly city and the sight of a mum or dad with two kids on a bike with them is something you see all the time, the Bakfiets still raises eyebrows. People wave at us, smile at us, all through the city. Constanly. Lulu-Sophia thinks it’s odd but we’re working on getting her to wave back.
Any of our readers know where we can rent decent bicycles? We’ll need one for me and my daughter – so a child’s seat is required – and a smaller bike for my nine year old son. I don’t fancy the standard tourist rentals. Maybe there is another option that you all know about?
We’ll do as the locals do, of course, although the example in the above photo is not a practical solution in the long run for getting to and from the beach each day, as well as riding around the city.
Something like this for Daddy-o and SuperGirl. And the kid’s bike, too. In a perfect world a Bullitt or another cargo bike would be great.
Please let me know if you have any tips.
I like cities and holidaying in cities. I was a bit late in arranging a holiday this year but I had Barcelona, Bordeaux, Montreal and Paris in mind. I was turned on to the HomeExchange.com website by a friend here in Copenhagen who uses it regularly. I can certainly recommend it. If you don’t know it already, it hooks people up for home swapping. You borrow someone’s home in another city and they stay in yours during the same period. No nasty hotel bills and a great way to see a city from a local perspective. With all that said, we’ll be staying at a friend’s flat in Gracia but there were many great swaps between Copenhagen and the other cities.
I have a list of cities that I fancy, of course, but planning a holiday with the kids I realised that I was looking for cities that are bicycle-friendly. Some other cities were on the list, but when I realised that there was little bicycle infrastructure there, they got bumped off the list. I want to be able to ride with my son and daughter on safe bike lanes. It ended up being Barcelona because of the beaches and liveableness of the place, but certainly also because of the public transport and the bike infrastructure and many 30 km/h zones. I’ve been to Barcelona a number of times over the past couple of years but I’m looking forward to embedding me and the kids in the city and experiencing the liveableness first hand. What makes the city and the neighbourhoods so lovely? We’re going to find out.
Looking forward to hooking up with friends in the city as well.
The bicycle infrastructure in the city is far from perfect, far from Best Practice, but my god it is well-used by the city’s Citizen Cyclists. You’ll see a rush hour for bicycles in Barcelona that would be considered an alien sight in most cities in the Anglo-world.
Those pesky on-street bi-directional lanes are in place on many streets and while they are far from optimal, they are really used and send positive symbolism. Most of the bicycle users in the city are regular citizens who aren’t out to pump up their testosterone levels so the pace is civilised. What’s more, riding around the city you really get the feeling that the motorists are adapting well to seeing so many bicycles on the streets.
On this street, and many others, these blocks are used to separate the bike lanes from the street and prevent cars from driving in them. My local friends say that especially in the morning there are delivery trucks parked in the lanes on commercial streets but I never saw one car in a bike lane.
Barcelona has painted lanes across intersections, like many cities in the world these days.
Combining bicycles with trains is also incredibly simple. The crew from the Cycle Chic Bloggers Conference headed by train from Plaza Catalunya to the small city of Saint Joan DespÃ, about 10 km away. My first question was whether so many bicycles were allowed on the train. My Barcelonan friends just shrugged. Sure. Why not? We didn’t even need a ticket for the bicycles. We ended being about 20 bikes in two cars on the train for the trip. Brilliant.
On the trip back from Saint Joan DespÃ we took the tram to Barcelona. Again, all of the bicycles fit on board, no ticket was required and nobody minded that we took up a bit more space than normal. Not even the conductor who came on board to check tickets.
And what could be better than seeing a cargo bike selling fruit by Port Vell?! And a Christiania Bike, no less!