Bicycle culture

2 06 2011

by Vlado Kabat

Cycling is a convenient replacement for cars in cities suffering from never-ending traffic jams, not only for families with lower income, it is becoming a trend in a healthy life style. From the cities that I have visited, two of them stayed in my mind as the cities of bicycles.

First of them is Copenhagen which claims that 36 % of people are cycling to work, school or universities. Cycling is integrated into S-train network and the Copenhageners are allowed to take their bikes on the trains for free. The city wants to encourage even more people to use their bicycles. Police started to operate on the bicycles since 2009 to improve visibility and contact with citizens.

The other city is Amsterdam. There is a huge bicycle multi-storey parking right in the city centre. On the roads, cycling lines have their own traffic lights and turning lanes. People are not bothering with stylish bicycles, most of them are all using old ones without many modern features. No wonder, because one bicycle is cheaper than a one day transport ticket. (We saw bicycles for less than 5€) As typical tourists I and my friends bought the transport ticket instead of riding the bicycle. We had an impression that the trams were used mostly just by elderly, injured or people who were not able to ride the bicycles at the time.




6 responses

2 06 2011

Vlad, this is a great post. I love the photos! I think that the amount of cyclists in a city really does have an effect on its overall quality. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are both great cities, regularly cited as exemplar in terms of urban design. The first time I visited Amsterdam I fell in love with it, for a whole range of reasons. One reason was its lack of cars and abundance of traffic free, pedestrian friendly routes. The small number of vehicles in the street, allow people to meander along streets, wonder in and out of side streets, whilst taking in their surroundings and the sites.

I am keen cyclist when in Newcastle, but unfortunately due to location, a keen driver when at home in Cheshire (in the middle of no-where). I guess this is a problem that England faces; low densities and urban sprawl mean that people are often forced into their cars by the designer. Hopefully this is slowly changing though.

Ps. You should have uploaded the photos of you, after you fell off that bike in Amsterdam!….oh the memories

2 06 2011

5 euro bicycle! It’s cheaper than renting a bicycle for day too. I like the automated bicycle rental system in Berlin or Paris where you can rent bicycles prepared near public transport points and return it whenever or wherever you do not need the bicycle anymore. It makes really convenient for people to use bicycles because you do not have to worry about how to take the bicycle back after drinking or on the way to somewhere else with friends. ‘A large-scale public bicycle sharing system’ is a good way to put it.

One thing I have been thinking to suggest to Seoul City council is to have this kind of bicycle sharing system by using the extensive network of river-side bicycle lanes and existing small bicycle rental shops scattered around the network. Then, I think it would be possible to make one easily without fancy technology and it would be beneficial for the small bicycle rental shops too. Hmmm, I think I should go back to Seoul and do this right away.

2 06 2011
Lizzie Bird

Upload that photo! I think it’s interesting in the UK how cycling in UK cities, building on the model of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, seems to be taking off. More and more people seem to be using bikes in central London driven by increasing tube prices and the congestion charge. It’s interesting the difference in the ‘cycling culture’ between London cyclists and other European cities. In cities like Paris or Amsterdam cycling seems to be quite relaxed, you could cycle in a skirt on city bike with a basket. Cyclists in London seem to be of the ‘serious cycling’ variety armed with fluorescent jackets and a ‘proper’ bike and will stop for no man (woman or child…). But they have introduced the Barclay’s Cycle Hire Scheme:

Newcastle I think is quite an cycle unfriendly city. However over the summer I really want to get a bike and over the last few weeks I’ve been hunting down where to get get a bike from. I started looking at the bicycle centre on Sheilds Road before quickly realising my budget won’t stretch that far. I’ve decided to try Recyke-Y-Bike a community project in Ouseburn that accepts donated bikes from members of the public with most of them are sold to the public So when site analysis for the thesis is done I’m going to be getting myself to Recyk-y-Bike before 10am next Saturday (!) to pick myself up a lovely-not-so-new bike!

3 06 2011

Bicycle is very popular in my hometown. But unfortunately the supporting facilities of the bike are not enough and good quality. I think there will be more and more people choosing bike if the traffic and facility condition are like in the photos. In my opinion, the reason is that people usually prefer the bikes on the consideration of economy rather than the health and environmental issues.
5euro for a bike is quite cheap… I still remember my first bike which my parent bought for me in 1995, it is about 90 euro…

4 06 2011

Recent news on cycling naked!

I think, if you do it alone, it would be illegal.

22 12 2011
Street Furniture

The shelters for DLR have a ‘public art’ installation, Time and Tide by Alison Turnball. Hopefully the start of the cycle culture in London.

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