Friday, September 28, 2007

Strike Bikes Built Under Workers' Control

135 sacked workers at the Bike Systems GmbH bicycle factory in Nordhausen,Thuringen (in the old GDR) have resumed production of bicycles under workers' control, by occupying the factory since 10th of July 2007.

If you are thinking of buying a new bike in the near future, have a look at their Strike Bikes web site. Click on "english" to get a babelfish-style translation. For 275 euros - under £200 - you get a city bike with a state of the art hub dynamo, three gears, and reverse-pedal braking. The workers are trying to build up 1800 pre-orders by 2nd October to create a viable basis for production under workers' control.

You can email your support to

Monday, September 24, 2007

20MPH urban speed limits

On a cycling forum earlier today, I asked the question "Can anyone give me a decent reason why the urban speed limit shouldn't be dropped from 30mph to 20mph?"

The replies (and arguments) which followed throw up some interesting and useful figures.

Bikes fastest for commute in Edinburgh

TWO wheels beat four during the latest "commuter challenge" to find the quickest way to travel into Edinburgh city centre.

The annual time trial to see which is the fastest way to get to work saw bicycles and motorbikes take the honours in four races from the edge of town to Frederick Street.

Motorbikes came out on top in the journeys from Ocean Terminal and the Ingliston Park and Ride. But the cyclists, who were described by event organisers as typical commuters rather than competitive racers, were fastest on the trips from Newcraighall Station and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The slowest journey was in a car from Newcraighall Station, taking 43 minutes to travel the 5.3 miles.

- Bikes roll ahead in commuter challenge

I can ride home from work (west end to Haughton, about 2.5 miles) 8 minutes faster on my bike than it can be driven during rush hour.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Contested Streets - Copenhagen

I've just finished watching this fantastic ten minute film about traffic in Copenhagen. You should watch it too:

Here are some notes I jotted down while watching it, to give you a flavor:

* Commuting traffic: 1/3 bike, 1/3 public transport, 1/3 private car
* Very few helmets
* Normal clothes, including skirts
* Baskets
* Some fantastic bikes!
* 4 lane road, with heavy traffic, reconfigured to take space from cars to give to bikes - same capacity as before, but slower and safer
* About five minutes in, pedestrianised shopping area - with bikes!
* Removed car parking, to create a "people street"
* Pedestrian-priority street - open to pedestrians, bikes and cars - two way for bikes and people, one way for cars - a mix of users, cars go really slow. Less rigid on pedestrians or car streets, now mixing them safely
* Bike investment is small money compared to cars investment
* Do it a bit at a time; never have a big plan to switch from cars to people, because you'll lose the election - people will think it's impossible, but it isn't.

[Found on the cycleliciousness blog.]

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some other blogs

* Bikecentric: ride, write, recycle
* gwadzilla: Rants on Cycling and on Life
* cycleliciousness: Copenhagen Bicycle Culture

Some great links from the comments on an earlier post about Copenhagen girls on bikes.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cycle Chic - Copenhagen Girls on Bikes

"Social Documentary in High Heels", is one way this blog has been described. It's about bicycle culture in Copenhagen, Denmark. 35% of the population - 550,000 people - ride their bike to work or school each day. Bicycles are such an integral part of our culture and there are many aesthetic aspects on the streets at any given moment.

Perhaps we can inspire people in other countries to commute by bicycle or lobby for better bike conditions in their cities by providing a portrait of a city that lives and breathes bikes.

At the very least, enjoy the view from our saddles.

- Cycle Chic - Copenhagen Girls on Bikes

This is what cyclists look like when cycling becomes 'normal'.