Outside Copenhagen's central train station, where people often leave their bike for the weekend, plenty of cyclists are fed up."There just isn't enough space," says Kirsten Hoeholt, a ceramic artist. "It's not just here that it's a problem, it's all over town. We need better parking facilities."
Yes, life is hard in Copenhagen, where evidently it is possible to live as a ceramic artist, and where adversity means a lack of bike parking when you want to leave town for the weekend after a hard week of crafting. In fact, the problem is so great it's even forcing people to think occasionally:
Another cyclist told me she had struggled to find a place for her bike. Equally, it can be tricky to find your machine amid the clusters, unless you remember exactly where you left it.
Uh, it can be tricky to find anything unless you remember exactly where you left it. That's how leaving stuff behind works. These people must be terrible with keys--which is to say nothing of parenting, since remembering where you left the little fuckers is basically 90% of the job.
Anyway, it's not really all that hard to remember where you parked your bike. For example, this one time I went to the mall on Black Friday and a bunch of people parked their bikes all around mine, but I made a mental note of its location so finding it again really wasn't a big deal:
Sure, here in America we have a similar problem losing our cars in parking garages like in that "Seinfeld" episode, but our government compensates us by letting us run over anybody we like without any legal consequences. It really helps us blow off steam and channel aggression that we might otherwise use to shoot people. Actually, maybe a license to kill with their bikes would make the cyclists of Copenhagen as happy as American drivers are--though Mikael Colville-Andersen would probably disagree:
According to Mikael Colville-Andersen, of the Copenhagenize Design Company, cycle parking is the "last great bastion" that cycling-friendly cities have yet to overcome.
"No city has cracked it," he says. But he adds: "It's a challenge that other cities should beg for."
So basically, bike parking is the Fermat's Last Theorem of urban bicycle planning:
("I have a truly marvelous solution to this pile of shit which this caption is too narrow to contain."--Pierre de Fermat)
Really, though? No city has cracked the bike parking conundrum? I refuse to believe that. Perhaps he just doesn't want to acknowledge his hated enemies to the southwest:
Just look at the smug smile on this guy's face as he loads his bicycle onto a well-designed rack and then prepares to embark upon a convenient and efficient rail journey in a country that outranks the United States on the Human Development Index:
We woulda beaten 'em too if it wasn't for stupid Florida.
And it should go without saying that the Japanese are solving the problem with robots. Check out this automated underground bike parking system in Tokyo:
This would never work in any American city, where I'd give it maybe two hours before some moron got himself stuck in there.
It's also worth noting that the biggest threats to bicycles in Japan are apparently 1) Weather and 2) Pranksters:
This seems like a long way to go just to thwart some pranksters. What kind of pranks are we talking about here, anyway? Are we talking squirting-flower-on-the-handlebar level japery, or are we talking really involved turn-someone's-bike-into-a-tall-bike-while-he's-getting-coffee kinda stuff?
Either way, there's something to be said for the "Out of sight, out of mind" approach:
Burying stuff I don't want to deal with is exactly what I do with my feelings.
But while Colville-Andersen claims no city has found the solution to bike parking, once city councilperson is doing the unthinkable and collaborating with the enemy:
"We try to steal as many good ideas as we can, and we have a very good working relationship with [city planners in] Holland", says Andreas Roehl from Copenhagen city council, noncommittally.
The bit about stealing ideas may be true, but the relationship between these two tiny cycling nations is anything but "good," and just last month a drowned Danish cycle spy was found handcuffed to a Dutch bike in a canal in The Hague. Consequently, the Copenhagen city council has been forced to wait until things cool down before resuming their espionage, and in the meantime they've been trying to come up with their own ideas--though this is the best one they've had so far:
A few years ago "bike-butlers" were introduced in some areas. The butlers pick up bicycles that have been knocked over, pump air into flat tyres and give the bike-chains a bit of oil, to thank people for parking properly.
Meanwhile, here in New York City, the Citi Bike fleet is set to double thanks to a buyout:
In fact, you can already see the results:
(Citi Bike? Doubled.)
There are also rumors of expansion, presumably pending a feasability study confirming that the neighborhoods in question have in fact been thoroughly gentrified:
Rubinstein reported that REQX plans to double the size of the Citi Bike fleet to 12,000 bikes. In July, the expansion was rumored to reach up to 145th Street in Manhattan and into western Queens and another ring of Brooklyn neighborhoods adjacent to the current service area. Annual membership prices are expected to increase about 50 percent.
This makes sense because, looking at the current Citi Bike station map, there are still a lot of areas you can't even remotely afford to live in anymore that are not yet served by the program:
Surely this will change soon. Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings, and every time a rent stabilized tenant is ousted from an apartment building a street gets one of these little Citi Bike push pins of gentrification. It is our Manifest Gentry that, one day, everything from the East River to the Cross Island Parkway will be a sea blue.
Lastly, there seems to be talk about a(nother) women's Tour de France, though mostly in the context of why there can't be a women's Tour de France:
The call for a women's Tour de France continues to gain momentum, with Tour organisers ASO holding the first edition of La Course on the final day of this year's men's race. Race director Christian Prudhomme has already told Cyclingnews that it wouldn't be possible to have the events run at the same time.
I'm torn. On one hand, it's ridiculous the women don't have their own race. On the other, I wouldn't wish that drug-addled shitshow on anybody.