Cycling with Disabilities and Injuries

14 Below Zero - Broken Hand
I haven’t been on a bicycle for 7 days. The reason? A couple of cracked ribs. I’ve tried each and every day to cycle, but it hasn’t been possible. When a simple cough is enough to bring tears to your eyes, riding a bicycle is a long shot. A serious blow to my pride but hey, at least I can walk around the neighbourhood. Which is nice.

Many Danish cities have small cars like these to measure the level of comfort on the bicycle infrastructure. I have a better, cheaper idea.

The city should just give citizens with broken or cracked ribs a smartphone, with activated GPS and a live line to a person at the Bicycle Office. Then they just ride around the city. Every time an OWWWW! or groan is heard, the GPS location is registered. That way the city will be able to map the spots that need maintenence. Now broken ribs are one thing, but what of citizens with more serious injuries or disabilities?

So I thought I’d whips together this article with photos of Copenhageners and other urban dwellers cycling with injuries or disabilities or using other vehicles that improve accessibility and mobility.

Like the shot of a Copenhagener in the morning rush hour (above) riding with what looks like a broken – or at least injured – hand, above. Still looking cool as you like.
Bicycle Crutches 02
Then there is this Copenhagener carrying her crutches with her on her bicycle. Fair enough, she might have been heading to the hospital – across the street – to deliver the crutches back.
Double Crutch
Then I remembered this shot from a while back of a girl carrying her crutches and getting doubled by her mum. The bicycle is a versatile tool. I know several friends who, after many years playing sports, have problems with their knees. They are invariably advised to ride a bicycle by their doctors.

Urban Mobility
There is a bike for almost everyone.

If you also make the bicycle the quickest and safest way to get around a city, people will do so – whatever their physical challenges. The bicycle is a freedom machine for many people.
Mobility Five Wheels, Three Arms
The dapper gentleman to the left may have reduced mobility for whatever reason, but he can get out and about with ease on this tricycle. Note his cane sticking out of the back.

I see the man in the right photo quite often. He rides a tricycle and only has one arm. A friend of mine knows him and I’m told that he only has one leg, too. He lost his limbs in a landmine explosion in the country he was born. He still gets about with ease on his wheels. Both of these gentlemen were impeccably dressed.

Bicycle Mobility
This gent is amazing and so is his cargo bike. A retrofitted Nihola lets him ride around the city with no lower arms and only one leg to pedal with. Fantastic.

Rock Star
If you’re a legendary Danish rock star, like Steen Jørgensen (above), you have a certain look to maintain and Steen pulls it off to perfection. The fact that he has no left arm is of little consequence.

Disabled Motion
I took this photo in Tokyo. The man had some form of disability with his legs. It required effort for him to get the pedals to turn but you can bet that it was a fraction of the effort he’d use when walking.

Casting Call Crutch Bike Crutch Bike
The lady on the left has a kind of cast on her leg, but still rides. The two photos on the right are from last winter. The boyfriend was holding the girls’ crutches and she moved slowly along – injured foot wrapped in plastic – on a child’s bicycle they had borrowed. It was icy so the crutches were probably more dangerous than helpful so the bicycle stepped in to assist. They were heading to the hospital down the road.

Vienna Cyclist Sticks
I spotted this lady in Vienna, Austria. Carrying her walking sticks to help her after she got off her bicycle.

This quaint sign on this tricycle reads, “Slightly Disabled”.

What with all the bicycle options for disabled – whether permanently or temporarily – it’s not surprising to see a parking sign like this outside my local library. It reads “Invalid Bicycles”, reserving a space close to the door for those who need it.

Montreal Wheelchair
I took this photo in Montreal. A trike pulling a wheelchair behind. This takes intermodality to a whole new level.

Wheelchair Transport
This retrofitted Nihola (it really is the Danish brand that offers unique variations of their cargo bikes) is designed simply to carry a wheelchair with passenger.

Walker Transport
This gent has his walker in the front of his cargo bike – intermodality once again.

Active Cyclist
You see many trike brands in operation in Copenhagen on a daily basis. This gent had what appeared to be Down Syndrome and he enjoys active mobility on this trike.

Electric Vehicles
Amsterdam Cycle Chic - Wheelie
Spotted in Amsterdam. An electric scooter with the wheelchair on a rack on the back. Compared to other cities, you see so many of such vehicles on the cycle tracks of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Used by people with disabilities and the elderly. It’s a massive market with many brands. Offering urban mobility to people who might be restricted to a wheelchair.

Heading For The City
Cool as you like in Copenhagen.

Bicycle Cane
If it is ripe old age that has reduced mobility, the bicycle still serves a purpose. I see this lady all the time in my neigbourhood. Always walking her bicycle with groceries in the basket. Perhaps too unstable to ride, but using the bicycle as a kind of crutch. Lovely.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Street Photography from the World’s Youngest Urbanist

Lulu Street Photography_40
Everybody sees their city differently. What does the city look like through the eyes of The World’s Youngest Urbanist? Lulu-Sophia keeps delivering a solid flow of pure observations about city life. She also grows up in a home filled with cameras and has free access to all of them. What about putting those two things together, I thought.

Some Canon camera, be it 5 or 7D is usually lying in the window sill at our place. I often find photos on the memory card that Lulu-Sophia had taken of people out on the street in front of our flat. She just started picking up the camera and shooting. A couple of years ago I started handed her the camera when we’re riding around on the Bullitt cargo bike.

I never say what she should take photos of. I just say “take photos if you want”. Totally up to her and no big deal if she doesn’t. Sometimes I don’t notice what she does but when I load the photos onto the computer, I get to see what she sees. And it is quite wonderful.

I’ve made a little set of her street photography work on Flickr?from when she was five but here are some of her shots from the urban landscape. Both from the flat and from the Bullitt.
Lulu Street Photography_38
By and large, she photographs people. Still Life must be like watching paint dry for a five year old. Humans, please. Except, perhaps, for a pretty red bicycle (farther down) that caught her eye.

Lulu Street Photography_5 Lulu Street Photography_26

Lulu Street Photography_41 Lulu Street Photography (2)
People doing things. Transporting themselves, waiting for someone, observing – in their own way – their city. Humans watching humans.

Lulu Street Photography Lulu Street Photography_20

Lulu Street Photography_13 Lulu Street Photography_23

Lulu Street Photography_32

Lulu Street Photography_9 Lulu Street Photography_14

Lulu Street Photography_7 Lulu Street Photography_18
There are many bicycles, mostly because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel in Copenhagen. You can’t take a shot without a bicycle in it. When shooting from the flat, she shoots cyclists and pedestrians.
Lulu Street Photography_12

Lulu Street Photography_42 Lulu Street Photography_17

Lulu Street Photography_16

Lulu Street Photography_34 Lulu Street Photography_2

Lulu Street Photography_11
And of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without a shot of your big brother, Felix.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Lulu and the Life-Sized City

Some of you may remember the article about The World’s Youngest Urbanist – Lulu-Sophia – a couple of years back. Since then, Lulu-Sophia continues to fire off brilliant, simple and rational observations about her life in Copenhagen. Many of them are simple observations.

We were riding down the cycle track along a busy street once and then turned off onto a bike path through a park. “Ooh, Daddy! Listen to how quiet it is all of a sudden!”

Always simple but poignant. Noticing things on her urban landscape that often go unnoticed.

A few months ago, Lulu-Sophia took it to the next level. We were walking and had stopped at a pedestrian crossing, waiting to cross.

We were quiet at the moment. Lulu-Sophia’s urbanist mind was, however, in full swing.

She looked up at me and said, quite simply, “When will my city fit me, Daddy?”

Fantastic. And of course, life as a child in a city is spent staring at the asses of grown ups. Garbage cans are as tall as you. The distance when crossing a street is magnified when you’re that short and your legs are that small.

“Don’t worry. You’ll keep growing and pretty soon your city will fit you perfectly.”

She was content with this answer, nodding and saying, “yeah” as she turned back to look around the streets.

As always with Lulu-Sophia’s observations, she makes me think. Right then and there I started a longer thought process, wondering if my city fits ME. A process that has become constant as I move about my city and all the other cities I visit and work in.

It’s an interesting way of thinking. Does my city fit me? Am I at scale on the urban landscape?

Spring Sunshine 05
If I think about Copenhagen, there are certainly places where my city fits me hand in glove. Riding along the busiest bicycle street in the world – Nørrebrogade – and crossing Dronning Louises Bridge on 5 metre wide cycle tracks, wide sidewalks and only a single car lane in each direction… I feel like my city fits me.

In the medieval city centre – like all medieval city centres… my city fits me. Cities were designed to fit us for 7000 years, after all. Things, however, are different now. Ever since we discarded all rationality and started engineering streets for automobiles.

Even in Copenhagen there are far too many places where my city doesn’t fit or makes any attempt to. Consider Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, that vast expanse of political and engineering arrogance with eight lanes of crap slicing through the heart of the capital. Even on the wide cycle tracks on this stretch, I am not at scale.

Big City Nature Intersection My Town Morning Rush Hour
Top left: Hans Christian Andersen Blvd is the place where flowers die, thanks to the emissions of over 50,000 cars a day. Top right: Looking down at an intersection, from above, you lose all sense of city and realise that the engineering Matrix is firmly in control. Bottom left: This should be the ultimate central geographic and liveable point in the city. City Hall Square. Instead, the boulevard roars through like an angry, swollen river, cutting the city in two.
Bottom right: I count around 22 individuals in motor vehicles (excluding the 60 or so on the bus). Look at the space allocated to them, compared to the 50 odd bicycle users.

Vintage Copenhagen - HC Andersens Blvd 1907 Copenhagen Rush Hour Traffic ca. 1950
It used to be different. At left is the boulevard in 1907 – read more about that here – and at right is the late 1940s/early 1950s, with wide medians.

Another place that I don’t feel like my city fits is right outside my flat in the City of Frederiksberg. It’s an intersection in Denmark’s most densely-populated city and yet the city allows over 26,000 “parasites” to drive through. It’s a dead intersection, only used for transport. It’s unique in that it’s the point where north-south and east-west streets meet. It’s also the intersection we used for our Choreography of an Urban Intersection anthropological study.

I use this intersection several times a day and yet I certainly don’t feel like my city fits me. My city doesn’t seem to give a shit. They are keen to prioritize the cars and their parasties by doing things like this. The street in front of my flat used to be so much nicer. And even during my lifetime.

Ved et kryds med over 26,000 fucking biler dagligt. #ffrederiksberg #dkpol #løgn
But they still have the nerve to put up this poster at the intersection. “Frederiksberg – the healthy, pulsing, green heart of the Capital.”

Thinking about other cities, there are some where I feel at scale. Amsterdam, for example. A lot of smaller cities in Denmark and the Netherlands, too. But I’m a city boy so I focus on bigger cities. Most cities have pockets where you feel like you fit, but sadly they are often few and far between.

What about your city? Do you feel like it fits you?

Lulu-Sophia, as ever, inspired me. She instigated a new way of thinking for me – and for Copenhagenize Design Co.. A new goal.

The Life-Sized City. We used to be so good at nurturing life-sized cities. We did it for 7000 years. Now it’s time to do it again. With human observation and design principles.

If you follow me, Mikael, on Instagram (@zakkatography), you’ll often see The Lulu going about her daily business. Often on bikes.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Cargo Bike History – Svajere in Copenhagen

King Christian X Guarded by Copenhagen Bicycle Messengers
Here are some historical photos of a cargo bike life in Copenhagen. Above, King Christian X on one of his daily rides through the streets during the Second World War occupation. He always rode without official guards through the streets and was much loved for it. Here, however, he was guarded by the bicycle messengers from the company Achilleus.

Here is a link to an earlier post about the Svajere – or cargo bike messengers of Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Bike Messengers 1917
The bicycle messengers at the headquarters of the Post & Telegraf service in 1917. Dressed splendidly. The bike messengers – or Svajere – in official service were usually uniformed until the end of the 1940s, when casual wear became the norm.
Illum's Cargo Bike Messengers in Copenhagen 1940s
The bicycle messengers for Illum department store in the 1940s, during the occupation.

Illum's Cargo Bike Messenger in Copenhagen 1940s
A double cargo bike nicknamed Skildpadden – or The Turtle – in the service of Illum department store. 1940s.

Byposten Bike Messenger Company in Copenhagen
The bike messenger team at Byposten messenger company.

Bike Messengers on City Hall Square in Copenhagen
Bicycle messengers from the telegraf service lined up on City Hall Square.
Dapper Bike Messengers in Copenhagen
Brilliantly dapper.
Young Bicycle Messenger in Copenhagen Copenhagen Bike Messenger from the Post and Telegraph Service 1941
Young bicycle messengers. Ca. 1940s at left and 1941 at right.
Copenhagen Bike Messenger - Svajer Copenhagen Bike Messenger - Svajer Copenhagen Bike Messenger
Heavy loads.
Copenhagen Bike Messenger
A “svajer” giving free rides to kids in the neighbourhood, 1942.
Svajerløb - Cargo Bike Race on Israels Plads
The legendary Svajerløb on Grønttorvet – now Israels Square. The races were organised by a man with a messenger company and the money raised was used to send the young bike messengers to summer camp. The races were popular events in Copenhagen. They were revived in 2009.

More about the Svajere – then and now – right here.
Svajerløb - Cargo Bike Race on Israels Plads Svajerløb - Cargo Bike Race on Israels Plads

Svajerløb - Cargo Bike Race on Israels Plads

Svajerløb - Cargo Bike Race on Israels Plads

Svajer Cartoon-005 Svajer Cartoon Svajer Cartoon-001 Svajer Cartoon-002 Svajer Cartoon-003 Svajer Cartoon-004
Cartoons about the feisty bike messengers.
Quiet Moment for Copenhagen Bike Messenger - Svajer
A quiet moment with a pipe.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Lulu Interpreting Bicycles

Cargo Bike by Lulu
So, Lulu – aged 4 (the world’s youngest urbanist) – says to me, “Daddy, what should I draw?”

I said, “How about a cargo bike?”

Off she went.

Here’s her interpretation. How she regards our cargo bike and its role in our daily lives. Love it. Says it all.

Lulu Bicycle Drawing
Here was her first interpretation of a bicycle. Danish design minimalism. Deconstructing a bicycle to its basic ingredients. Well… except for pedals.

Lulu Bicycle Drawing
Here was her first interpretation of herself with her bicycle.

Lulu Bicycle Drawing
And this was her first interpretation of a cargo bike – using our Bullitt as inspiration.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Svajerløb 2012 – Danish Cargo Bike Championships

Svajerløb 2012_2
Last Saturday was this year’s Svajerløb – Danish Cargo Bike Championships here in Copenhagen. The races were run at Carlsberg, like last year and it was fantastic day. Above are all the participants at the end of the day.
Svajerløb 2012 - Hans from Larry vs Harry
Hans, from Larry vs Harry, started the proceedings by welcoming everyone and then yours truly took over the mic as announcer.
Svajerløb 2012 - Italians
One of the best things about this year’s races was that we had so many people from abroad who made the trip to participate. Above is Francesco, who brought two of his Bicicapace bikes and his his family and he took part in the Individual Two-Wheeler race and the Team Relay.

There was also a wider selection of bike brands participating. Batak was there again this year and there were Omniums, Longjohns, Shortjohns, you name it.

Svajerløb 2012 - Specator Svajerløb 2012 -Spectator
Our kids were the best spectators, of course. Don’t let these quiet moments fool you.

Svajerløb 2012 - Team Relay Medallists
Here are the medallists of the Team Relay. Team Bullitt confidently defended their gold medal from 2011.
Svajerløb 2012 - Two Wheeler Champions
There was drama in the Individual Two-Wheeled discipline this year. The race went right to the wire. Jumbo from By-Expressen – a Copenhagen messenger company – took the honours on the top podium this year, dethroning the otherwise untouchable Claus Bullit (behind the beer bottle at left)
Svajerløb 2012 -The Two-Wheeler Final
Here is the line-up for the final. 12 bikes. Bullitts but also a short-john and an Omnium.
Svajerløb 2012 - Claus Bullitt
Claus Bullitt was first into the loading zone after the first lap.
Svajerløb 2012 -The Champion
It was Jumbo, however, who squeezed past him on the last stretch on his Omnium cargo bike.

Svajerløb 2012 - Ladies Champion
In the Ladies Individual Two-Wheeler final, Charlotte bettered her second-place from last year and took gold. Fanny from Klara Geist in Berlin took second and Hans’ wife, Signe, took third, but wasn’t present for the ceremony.
Svajerløb 2012 - Vintage Cargo Bike Champions
Here are the winners of the Vintage bike discipline – only old school cargo bikes allowed. The silver medallist, Trevor at left, is from Australia. Which makes him the Australian Champion, of course. Good onya.

Svajerløb 2012 - Fanny Svajerløb 2012 - Music
Fanny and Willi, from Berlin, provided the music and speaker system on their Bullitt, with one of their great Klara Geist speaker systems.
Svajerløb 2012 - 3Wheeler Medal Ceremony
Medal ceremony for the Three-Wheeler discipline. Leif dominated the field and walked away as Danish champion for the fourth year in a row on his Kangaroo. Somebody, please… give him some competition! Second and third place went to two Berliners on Christiania Bikes.

Svajerløb 2012 - Hans und Arne Svajerløb 2012 - 3Wheeler Medal Ceremony_1
Here they are at left – Hans and Arne – going for a practice spin. And here are the winners (at right). Leif got a medal, but we’re sure he’ll remember the Cyclelogistics cargo bike pencil holder even more.

Svajerløb 2012 - Lasse and Steve Svajerløb 2012 - Brandon
Steven from Grid Chicago – going for a ride with Lasse from Bicycle Innovation Lab – was in town for the event, together with Brandon, at right, dressed in true Svajere style for the day.
Svajerløb 2012 -Birte Svajerløb 2012 - Bride to Be
The audience darling, however, was Birthe. She was on a bachelorette outing with a group of girlfriends, being ridden around in a Christiania bike. They came past and entered the Team Relay with a team called Team Love. That’s the spirit! We enlisted the services of the bride-to-be during the medal ceremony, handing out the medals and cheek kisses to the winners.

Svajerløb 2012 - Bullitt Wheelie
This guy popped wheelies on his Bullitt like it was nothing. Riding back and forth on the back wheel. Only a handful of people on the planet can pull this off. God knows I’ve tried. Impressive.

See you all next year!

History of the Svajere – Copenhagen’s original bike messengers.
More on Svajerløb 2009
More on Svajerløb 2010

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Car Industry Strikes Back – Ford

Nothing like a good Car Industry Strikes Back article to kickstart your day. Our reader, Krzysztof in Gdansk, Poland, spotted this advert for Ford Poland in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. You’re going to love this desperate attempt by Ford to sell some vans.

The main text at the top left reads, “Ford Transit – a machine for saving money

Then, below, Ford tries to alter reality by writing; “Delivery bicycles do not exist. You don’t need to switch to riding a bike to save money.”

Yes. They just wrote that. Delivery Bicycles Don’t Exist. In all seriousness. And then they paid to have it published in a newspaper. If Poland has an advertising standards commission, someone should let them about this advert. Lying, as far as I’m aware, isn’t allowed in advertising.

The text continues with optimistic texts about how you can “Save on buying”, “save on petrol”, “save on service”, etc. “The usual blah blah blah you’d expect from a commercial“, as Krzysztof put it in his email to us.

He continues, “Now I know commercials go a far way to bend facts and I know delivery bikes are not popular in Poland (in fact I’ve seen just 1 or 2 in
Gda?sk so far) but come on… I felt like someone was lying while looking me straight in the eyes. This ad is something I just couldn’t pass by.

When you live in Copenhagen, with 40,000 cargo bikes and you are involved with the Cyclelogistics project to promote cargo bike use in European cities, this advert is so stupid it’s amusing. As ever with this Car Industry Strikes Back series, we can see that they’re worried. That they see the bicycle as serious competition. And well they should. It’s last century versus this century and we’re winning it.

Paris Bike Culture - La Petite Reine
Cargo bike delivery in Paris.

Vintage Russian Cargo Bike - Home Flower Delivery
Vintage Russian cargo bike delivering flowers.

Montreal Cargo Bike Delivery_2 Cargo Postal Service Rio Cargo Bike Culture_5 Rio Cargo Bike Culture_1
Left to right: Supermarket delivery bike in Montreal.
Citizen Cyclist in Copenhagen carrying stuff.
Royal Danish post.
Rio de Janeiro and Rio, again. Two of 11,000 cargo bike deliveries in that city.

Flea Market Transport Fruit Bike Ice Bikes Espressomanden Cargo Bike
Left to right: Copenhagener moving stuff to a flea market.
The Fruit Bike, Copenhagen.
Ice Cream Bikes at Copenhagen Zoo.
The Coffee Bike by Espressomanden, Copenhagen.
Cargo bike in Amsterdam.
Newspaper Bike Sao Paulo Cargo Bikes (2) Cyclelogistics KOM 012 The Sushi Bicycle Vendor The Bikeman
Left to right: Newspaper bike, Copenhagen.
Cargo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Crêpes bike, Copenhagen.
Sushi bike, Copenhagen.
Bike repair bike, Copenhagen.

And so on, and so on.

The Cargo Bike Culture photo set kind of thumbs its nose in the general direction of Ford.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Getting Carried Away

Chair Transport
Been busy lately. Running behind with articles but doing lots of great projects with Copenhagenize Consulting. I figured I’d post some of the photos I’ve taken recently. Citizen Cyclists carrying stuff around is the theme.
Shoes Suitcase
Shoes and a suitcase.
New Suitcase Heading Home Stag Night
Suitcase and a group of friends on a stag night by bicycle. Two cargo bikes filled with beer.
New frame heading home.
Copenhagen Perfection Lulus New Bicycle
Kids’ bicycles in transit. That’s me and Lulu-Sophia on the right, taking her new (used) bike home.
Guitar Strasbourg Cargo Bike
Transporting a guitar by trailier in Copenhagen and a trailer by trailer in Strasbourg.
Zagreb Cyclelogistics-003 Zagreb Cyclelogistics
The City of Zagreb has a respectable fleet of cargo bikes for cleaning the streets. As well as for bakery deliveries.
Bicycle Crate Zagreb Cycle Chic Danish Ambassador and Annie
Cool wooden crate in Copenhagen. Cool Danish Ambassador to Croatia, and his wife, on a Christiania Bike in Zagreb.
Muffins on the move.
Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Early Cargo Bike Learning II

Cargo Bike Training
We’ve written before about how cargo bike culture starts early in Copenhagen.

Here are a couple more examples from last week. Above, heading home from kindergarten, a Copenhagen kid gets to try and ride the family’s Christiania bike along the cycle tracks.
Bike Share
And this was spotted on my way home from picking up Lulu-Sophia from kindergarten. A mum sitting on the back rack and letting her kid get the feeling of the ride from the saddle of this Nihola.

The Secret Life of Cargo Bikes
Here’s a glimpse into the secret life of cargo bike compartments. This one – one of many – was parked outside the kindergarten. All the essentials for a kid’s life. Including a magic wand.

Things I Bring Home On My Bike From Kindergarten
I use the Velorbis to pick up Lulu-Sophia at the moment. Well, Lulu and friends, of course.

Things I Bring Home On My Bike From Kindergarten 2
The classic hook on the back racks of Danish bikes comes in handy when transporting a lunchbox. Although apples are doable as well – among many other things. Here’s more on these hooks on our bikes.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Montreal Cargo Bikes

Montreal Cargo Bike Delivery_1
I was in Montreal last week, after visiting Halifax for the Kickstand Sessions. I was pleased to see a number of cargo bikes on the streets. This chap, above, was delivering goods for this supermarket, below:
Montreal Cargo Bike Delivery_2

Montreal Cargo Bike Delivery (2)
These two cargo bikes were parked outside a shop in Mile End, on Bernard Street.
Montreal Cargo Bike_1
And this gentleman was riding around with his son on his Nihola cargo bike.
Montreal Nihola
Which he was also doing last summer, when I was in town.
Montreal Tour la nuit 041
Here are some other cargo bike photos from Montreal. Quelle ville!
Montreal Tour de l'Ile 031

Veló Montreal 002

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.