darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds posting in [community profile] bicycles
This picture of an attractive Dane on a bike was posted on BikePortland the other day.

I have since decided that I will signal no other way than the cool way that Mr Copenhagen there signals. (How else could you signal, you wonder? Well, I'm typically more emphatic and full-armed about it because Portland, though bike-aware, does not have Copenhagen-levels of bike-awareness. But screw that. I'm going to be cool Danish-signaling gal from here on.)

The extraordinary editor of BikePortland, Jonathan Maus, is currently posting dispatches from the two great world bike capitals, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. He has mentioned the amazing bike-riding skills of the citizens, and since we're not talking Tour de France racing, I'm assuming he means stuff like riding steadily in slow and crowded conditions, navigating safely around pedestrians, riding handlebar-to-handlebar with your friends while conducting a conversation, gauging traffic, or riding with two kids, a cigarette, a cellphone and no helmet.

No, I'm not being facetious about that last item. Americans think of cycling as a competitive sport requiring speed, power and endurance. (My daily commute is often made uncomfortable and even dangerous by cyclists of that sort.) We don't seem to place much emphasis on casual ease. And let's face it, casual ease requires skill.

I shall henceforth be all about the casual ease. (I'll probably keep the helmet, though.)

Crossposted from [personal profile] darkemeralds

Date: 2013-06-01 12:14 am (UTC)
aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
From: [personal profile] aedifica
Casual ease does require skill! I was noticing recently how I have less of the casual ease than I used to (it'd been a few months since I was on a bike, for various reasons).

Date: 2013-06-01 06:25 am (UTC)
aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
From: [personal profile] aedifica
It's not that I find myself switched into "push" mentality, it's that I've lost the level of skill that lets me do "casual ease." I look forward to getting it back!

Date: 2013-06-01 02:42 am (UTC)
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pebblerocker
Texting while cycling is now specifically outlawed here, as a clarification to the no texting while driving rule. Since my watch broke I've been using my mobile phone to check the time while riding... I hope I don't get pulled over for it.

Date: 2013-06-01 08:24 am (UTC)
temve: Detail of my green bastard randonneur (Randy)
From: [personal profile] temve
Oh yes. Also, amazing European bike-riding skills anywhere outside Copenhagen or Amsterdam require a large smile, to be turned on any time you want to Jedi-mind-trick a driver into doing exactly what you want him to do. For best effects, wear either a floppy brightly coloured skirt while riding a city bike, or a tight jersey on a roadbike *grin*

I still maintain that the portion of our epic five-hour roadbike ride last Thursday that required most bike-handling skills was neither the sill stoplight-infested ascent of 'Heartbreak Hill' nor the breathtaking descent from Bergen-Enkheim that always has me singing Carmina Burana at the top of my lungs to keep my nerves in check, but the bit coming back into the city: the options here are a two-lane bike trail that's full of cyclists on any given day (but especially on a public holiday in May because those seem to come with a subconscious imperative to Germans to get on their bikes, whether or not they do so the rest of the year), and the riverside path that's a great exercise in pedestrian slalom, identify-the-interesting-smelling-foodstuff, clipping in and out of your pedals on the fly, and saying 'ding!' rather melodiously while swearing that next time, you are getting a bell for that roadbike :D


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