23 June 2010

The tallbike trumps the burning witch

Today is Sankt Hans Day. An old tradition here, that involves the burning of a witch (I know, it doesn’t sound nice, but it really is cosy), singing around a bonfire and maybe making “snobrød”. White dough rolled into long “sausages”, twisted on a stick and baked in the heat of the dying fire. But as it turns out, this post is going to be about what easily distracted me from this task: the discovery of a fairy tale like mutant on wheels called the tallbike. I was lucky that the owner was nearby, his name is Hans and he told me that he built the bike himself. And every day he rides it to work, from way outside the city and back. I could not imagine stopping for a red light on this one, but he said that it is all about timing the ride, avoiding the red lights, and if need be, support himself on a light pole. 

Only two weeks ago I found this amazing print by German street artists Various & Gould, at the Brooklynite Gallery. It has been high on my hit list ever since, and I never imagined that this fairy tale bike really existed. But it does. It turns out there are about 10 of them in Copenhagen, and every once in a while they have races and games much like the ones in Ivanhoe, you know, trying to poke each other of the horses/bikes. What I would not give to see that live... 

On another bike-related note, there is a big global closed-to-the-public bicycle conference taking place in Copenhagen these days. Some of the bicycle love is spreading to the streets, and I will do my best to catch the parade of alternative bikes tomorrow, before I join the bicycle party in the meat packing district. Oh, and did I mention: summer has arrived. There is no telling how it will hold up, but I am now officially in a summer mood. Light dresses, bare feet, big glasses and all.

Tallbike (2009) by Various & Gould

Allways take bike pictures from the right side, he said, and turned it around for me.

Details matter.


No hands. Check out the audience, haha.

All eyes on Hans & the tallbike.

 Update: Hans has left at link to a slide show of the Bike Wars!


  1. Hello Sandra and thanks for the chat at Dronning Louises Bro :)

    The drawing of that tallbike is really stunning..

    Oh' and I'll try and remember to tell you the next time there is a Bike Wars in Copenhagen.
    You can find some photos from Bike Wars here:

  2. Hello Hans! Thank you for that cool link, so funny, I hope you remember to let me know when the next War is on. :-)

  3. Cosy witch burning... mmhh. But I know the bread on stick thing, too. Delicious!
    Hans is amazing! What an acrobat to mount a bike like this.

  4. Well, the idea of burning witches is not pleasant. But when you grow up decorating the puppets with your grandmothers clothes, and look forward to this event, you don't really think about what it really meant in the brutal past. I guess this is the Walt Disney version of the original event. From all of us... :-D


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