22 January 2011

Copenhagen French

It stresses me out that I have been neglecting things here, but I had to take a couple of days out for my work (I'll have to tell you about it sometime). The sun was out today, the sky was blue and the colors jumped at you from all angles. After this long in the dungeon, it was almost like Nirvana. With the improved light conditions I immediately jumped on my bike to re-shoot the yummy piece of Bert from the other day... can you believe someone already stole it? It is such a disappointing mentality. This piece was placed so that everybody passing it (and almost half of Copenhagen do at this spot) would be a little happier just looking at it. But even if you don't care about everybody else, if you so admire the artist, how can you live with yourself if you steal his work? This is the number one reason I have never succumbed to kidnapping one of the Bert nipples I so love. Shame on that petty person, really.

I also found my crappy old seat cover missing this morning, it is amazing what some people will steal just because they can. I am considering tying some of my unwanted hall clutter to my bike just to see how fast it goes. I'll keep you posted on that of course.

Anyway, here is a glimpse of the fantastic light, the only people who take pictures of this are the tourists. My bike was parked nearby, and when I looked up I was reminded of the... shall we say misleading segment on Denmark, by the CBS show 60 minutes, claiming that all Danes live in a fairytale. All you need to sell this misrepresentation is throw in a picture like this:

Welcome to the land of milk and honey, haha. Aren't you happy that you know better?

And welcome to the real world:

F*ck bicycle helmets. This shot made it to a cool post on the Copenhagenize blog. We really need to wake up and respond to the growing number of crazy laws imposed on us here. Like the proposed mandatory helmet law. Or the ban on music for bicyclists.. seriously? It is hard to believe that so few of us speak up about this, and this protest right here is one of the reasons why I love street art. Misa and his ever present greeting comes with tailor made messages that I somehow almost always agree with. Here's another:

F*ck narrow-mindedness. (His French, not mine, so I don't have to beg for pardon do I?)

And while we are on signs, I bumped into this one the other day:

The official sign states that you are allowed to enter only if you have an errand here. And as dictated by the street this now includes love. I sort of like that. 

(I can't tell you how ready I am for spring!)


  1. ahhh this post made me smile! I went to the beach yesterday and it was so hot. I got caught up in a wave twice (the ocean is quite cold though) and regretted not to have brought my bathing suit. If I have to go back to live in France this summer, I will certainly regret this!

  2. Ah, Carole, that is so good to hear. I had fun writing it too, but that does not necessarily guarantee a similar reading experience. You should totally make the most of living by the sea for as long as you make it last, swimsuit and all. But be careful with the big waves now..

  3. We had a day of very nice light on last Monday (as evidenced by my bike sitting at the dry cleaner: http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/5386608884/), and again on Saturday as well (as evidenced by this nice moss outside our apartment: http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/5385994243/), it felt soooo nice. It's dark and grey here most of the late autumn and winter, and I forget how much I really like sunlight (not heat, but sunlight).

    There were two laws proposed in Oregon this year regarding bicycles: one to prohibit carrying a child under age 7 on or in a bicycle, and another to prohibit wearing headphones while cycling. So far, the first one has gotten so much protest, it has been withdrawn, and has become a request for a research project instead. The headphone bill is going ahead into legislature, I think, but is expected to be easily voted down, thankfully. Notably, there is no effort to forbid carrying young children in automobiles (where they are at higher risk), or to force people to drive with their windows down so they can hear the traffic around them.

    The best part, is that both of these laws were proposed by people who saw, either a person on a bike wearing headphones, or a person on a bike with a child, and thought to themselves "hm, that looks dangerous, let's make a law against it." There was no other reason for it, no studies, or data showing that such behavior actually was dangerous, or even that there had been significant number of traffic problems where such people were involved. Just one person's opinion, and it could possibly become law.

    And, as those two people said, "that's just the way the system works." Fantastic.

  4. Hi Dave, for me it is also the sunlight that is the most important. And we are deprived as you know, but it sounds like we are not alone..

    I just don't get this growing tendency to legislate on bicycling. What is next, I wonder, how to walk straight? It is funny (as in not) that you also have this bill on the table with the headphones, and especially so in a country where anyone can own a gun.

    The helmet law better not happen here. Or the headphone law either, it's crazy that they even have the balls to bring it to the table. As anyone who have looked at the studies can testify, there is no basis for the fear campaigns at all. It's all and only about making money selling gear.

    I'm glad the first proposal carrying children on your bike was at least put to rest. Small victories counts too.

  5. Usually our winter looks mostly like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/5373377824/

    Grey, dark, and rainy (that's a Christiania bicycle, by the way).

    So far there haven't been any proposals to require bicycle helmets for adults here (it's already required if you're 16 years or younger), but we'll see how that goes - you already see stupid people on online newspaper articles making comments like "I wish the police would give tickets to those stupid cyclists not wearing helmets." To which someone responded "we'd prefer the police give tickets for things that are actually illegal." I feel like helmet use in Portland has actually declined a little bit lately, as more people are using bicycles just to go run errands to the grocery store and the library and whatever - for which they (rightly) don't feel a helmet is necessary. It's mostly the "work commuter" crowd that wears all the whole cycling gear.

  6. It is funny how when I first stated blogging, I never thought I would have to defend the bicycle culture. But the more I learn, the more I understand the need to get involved, to ensure that others will reap the same benefits that I have enjoyed and taken for granted.

    The hysteria has happened fast too, I just spotted a 10 year old official catalog the other day from the City of Copenhagen, where biking was described as a healthy pastime with no danger to speak of. Front page cover: big happy family on bikes, no helmets. How did we get from there to here, I wonder?

    But the fantastic thing about blogging (one of many) is that you realise that you are not alone, and that you can make a difference. At least I believe we can. :-)

    (the picture with the Christiania bicycle looks just like it could have been taken here)

  7. Yeah, I feel like in America at least, there is much more concern for making money than the long term benefits or detriments of the choices made, and in that case, of course it's much more profitable to sell cars and insurance and health care and health insurance and then of course all the products like bicycle helmets and child car seats and things which are only needed, or perceived to be needed, because we allow cars to drive really fast, and there is a lot of money to be made in all this fear and confusion, even if one day it all blows up and collapses, the people involved want to get as much as possible out of it while they can.

    So yeah, I think it really is important to be a part of the discussion and try to inject some rationality into all of the hysterical dialogue going on.

    The Christiania is owned by a friend of ours, and that photo is at a wonderful little breakfast place in our neighborhood - which, like your neighborhood, is a bit run-down, but has some of the best things in the city (especially restaurants!), is quite compact, and feels very cozy and interesting.

  8. It is funny how I do get this Copenhagen vibe from your end of the world. There is something instantly likeable about a town to me, that embraces bicyclists. Very cosy (and I enjoy your road trip pictures on tumblr too).

  9. Oh, you're reading my tumblr blog too? Good! :) Which ones do you mean by "road trip" photos?

  10. I follow your twitter links where they take me sometimes. The road trip I was thinking about was the post where you turned your wife's bicycle in and walked back. Nice to see everyday snaps from a new city.

  11. Yeah, it's really nice walking sometimes, as I definitely notice things I wouldn't even when riding a bicycle :)

    I really liked these few:



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