Long live the pedestrians. / Länge leve fotgängarna.

New tactic from our fellas across the border. Volvo pander the motorists worst enemy, the pedestrians, in their ads for a new (orange!) car. “Long live the pedestrians”? Are they making fun of us? (Enlighten me please.)

Volvo anno 2010

Anyhow, by reading more about the thoughts behind the ad, apparently they’re thinking outside the shell (literally). Some how this car detects pedestrians hidden from the drivers view while driving slowly around the city. “…driving slowly…”? I think we already found a fault. Even worse, they hope to improve the urban environment by adding this new wonderful car…

And did James Dean ever imagine he would front a Swedish car-campaign?

Nostalgic moments

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Sykkelstimen

I won’t translate this poem by the Norwegian poet Rudolf Nilsen, but in short it describes the morning atmosphere in the streets of Copenhagen. Rudolf Nilsen died only 29 years old in 1929, but his work made history in Oslo. You can hear some of his beautiful songs here.

Rudolf Nilsen:
Sykkelstimen

(Snapshot fra Kjøbenhavn.)

Et sus av sykler på Rådhusplass!
Trafikk—konstablen — den Urias
—går rundt og rundt som en snurrebass!

For klokken nærmer sig stygt mot ni,
og alle piker må henge i
så sjefen ikke får no å si!

Kontorer venter sal alvorsfullt
med bøker, skrivemaskin og pult
de tusener templer for mammonkult.

Og alle mammons prestinner skal
gi møte hver i sin tempelhall
og telle penger og skrive tall.

ja gid, de har det så travelt, så!
Men skjønt det gjelder å trå og trå,
så er det mangt som må passes på.

For vinden tar ofte skjørtet med
og viser frem — ikke kun et kne,
men mer enn mannfolk bør få se!

Og er enn brystene bare kart,
så vipper de i den hårde fart —
og likevel må det kjøres hardt!

Ja, alle syklende blomster små
har mangt og meget å tenke på.
Og snart vil rådhusets klokker slå!

Det smiler atter en morgenstund
med store tenner av gull i munn:
pesetas, dollar og franc og pund!

Kilde: På gjensyn

How to avoid conflicts…

Allowing all to move in the speed of desire.

Copenhagen 1937

I’m now spending my last days in Copenhagen before returning to the not so bicycle friendly city of Oslo. So it suits with this old travel video from 1937 (“Copenhagen – a FitzPatrick Traveltalk”). Look at the traffic – the bicycles, the tram, the walking people and the few cars. It seems like they all float together, though with a helping hand from the constable. An obvious change in the city image today is the absence of a tram, increase in amount of cars and the bicycle lanes and traffic lights, but the amount of bicyclists is still large. They’re everywhere, and you can still see people cycling with furniture in Copenhagen…

Enjoy this wonderful image of the Danish capital.

Danes and their bicycle culture…

Here’s another reason why Danes would win the “bicycle culture-competition”. Their bicycle culture reflects in all kinds of media, and making songs about bicycling seems like the most natural thing to do. Or at least in earlier times…

These videos are both in danish, but the last one might be nice to watch even for non-Scandinavians…

This first one is with Povl Kjøller, which made children songs in the 70’s. This way he helped making the bicycle a natural part of many Danes’ childhood and education.

This one is from Poul Henningsens much debated Denmark-movie from 1935.

Monty Python on wheels

So it’s weekend, and I thought it would be perfect to start it off with some classics from our good friends in Monty Phyton… Enjoy!

THE CYCLING TOUR

BICYCLE REPAIR MAN

PICASSO ON BICYCLE

 

Cycling in the Netherlands in the 1950s

As my retrospective mood is here to stay for a while, apparently, I give you this video of wonderful bicyclists of the 50’s Netherlands. It’s oh so pretty. :)

Retrospective cycling

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Høst & Søns Forlag 1954 - Copenhagen, City of Youth

I just bought this picture book of Copenhagen from 1954 at the book store Paludan in Fiolstræde. It starts with announcing Copenhagen as the “City of Youth”, and continues showing lots of beautiful b&w photos of the city and it’s people. A surprisingly nice book, and on page 58 I found this sweet description:

Cyklen er i Danmark det almindeligste befordringsmiddel. På den tilbagelægger man strækningen mellem hjem og arbejdsplads! Om morgenen og efter fyraften er hovedstadens gader et kimende kor af cykelklokker, og henrivende virker synet af de mange unge kvinder med blæst i håret, som med bare ben i skoene træder pedalerne.

The bicycle, Denmark’s most common means of transport, links home to work. In the morning and when work is done the streets of the capital are a jangling chorus of bicycle bells. With the wind in their hair, and playfully filling their skirts, the girls make an attractive sight as they peddle along with bare legs.

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Stylish bicyclists crossing Dronning Louises bridge in the early 50's.

A short note on history to go with this retrospective post:

This was probably just before the bicycle, for a couple of decades, got run over by the car in the city streets. During The Second World War the bicycle had a peak as major transport mean for people and goods, but between the mid 50’s and 70’s the bicycling declined drastically simultaneously with the increase in motorists. The “bicycling society” would need a new (oil) crisis and a significant environmental movement to get back on track…  (kilde: wikipedia)

…it wouldn’t be too easy to “trick” the rest of us.