27 December 2016

The big kiss

On top of the list Things I Forgot To Share 2016, is the big kiss. Remember the troubled bike and pedestrian bridge that kept getting delayed? Inderhavnsbroen, or The Kissing Bridge, as it was nicknamed for its sliding function, just didn’t seem to catch a break. It was close, but no cigar for years, until one summer day.

On July 7th the internet starting buzzing: it is opening today! The City first denied such an event, but eventually caved and announced the good news: the bridge is ready for traffic. The grand and official opening was scheduled for a month later, but what was the sense in postponing such a blessing, for thousands of daily commuters? 

The bridge is a crucial link between central Copenhagen, Christianshavn and Amager, without which cyclists and pedestrians have been forced to take a senseless detour alongside heavy traffic. Needless to say, we had been aching for this kiss. So bad.

This new connection forms a straight line from the lakes, a popular bike-route which has prompted the city to widen the bike lanes. During construction we share the available infrastructure, and on this happy day that coincided with a red carpet EU event. Crossing a red carpet on bike, on the sidewalk with smiling police officers standing by. Surreal.

Oh, Copenhagen

Compared to the space the cars next to it takes up (wastes), this widening is not much, but to cyclists it makes a huge difference. It reduces tension and creates safe passage for riders at all paces and of all sizes.

A few shots of the almost-there-hold-it-hold-it bridge.

Pedestrian side of the bridge. A bridge that really feels more like a road, with a wide, bidirectional lane for bikes and separate space for pedestrians. What it may lack in grace, it makes up for in functionality.

Beautiful underbelly, tickle, tickle.

Copenhagernes picking up on the rumors, flocked to witness the first kiss.

First two to cross the bridge: Mayor of trees and bikes Morten Kabell and Klaus Bondam, of the Danish Cyclists Federation:

Second two to cross the bridge: the girls!

A fine moment in Copenhagen history.

The wise delay of this post, gives me the opportunity to follow up with the effect of our much anticipated piece of infrastructure. Six months in, it is deemed a resounding success. Numbers of daily users have by far exceeded all expectations. In November the city announced a count of 14.150 cyclists on the Kissing Bridge, in just one day! It has been attributed a crucial part of the reason bikes outnumbers cars in Copenhagen, for the first time since the 1970s.

No one cares how it long it took to get here, or at what cost. A kiss this good is totally worth it.

Kissing links:

08 December 2016

The Bicycle Doctor

Last week I hit the brakes hard by the sight of a parked cargo bike, with an oversized wooden beer crate. So good! I had to fight a honking woman in a toxic pile of metal, to get my shot with the proper distance, but it was totally worth it.

The bicycle doctor, Nansensgade

(If ever there was a brewery less deserving of such an honor. Let it be an ode to the vintage edition. The old brewer Jacobsen gave so much to Copenhagen: art, beauty and nature. It is only the current administration, blinded by greed, destroying everything at warp speed. May they burn in hell.)

The fantastic bike was parked next to a bike shop in Nansensgade in central Copenhagen, where I was greeted by the Bicycle Doctor, Odai Darweesh. This is a small and ultra cool bike shop where you can get your bike repaired, or have a new one built from scratch. You start by picking either a new frame, or one of the vintage 1980s frames, which will then be completely restored and looking as new.

The bicycle doctor, Nansensgade


On a wall you may choose from spare parts, like the cut out heart crank (custom made by a Danish metal smith) or the wooden handlebars (handmade in Poland).

The bicycle doctor, Nansensgade 
Custom made wooden handlebars.

The bicycle doctor, Nansensgade

The heart crank with a blurry shot of the good doctor, diagnosing a customer's bike.

The Bicycle Doctor is from Syria (did I mention: foreigners make everything better). And as he speaks English, a young boy asked his mother what the man was doing? The mother replied that he was a bicycle doctor, which is now the name above the door.

The bicycle doctor, Nansensgade

But back to the amazing cargo bike, with the giant wooden crate: it is hand built and can be made in any color and with any logo you desire (I am thinking the perhaps coolest Danish brewery Mikkeller needs at least one). It is fit on a long john frame, and is reportedly not too heavy to push. They cost around 20.000 DKR, but the prototype is for sale at 14.000 DKR. Santa, baby...