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Maxwell M. Addington
Flat Like the NetherlandsOne major aspect of Copenhagen's cycling culture is Denmark's flatness, just like in the Netherlands, where this photo was taken.
Flat Like the Netherlands
By Maxwell M. Addington
Promoting the environmental and societal benefits of urban cycling as a viable mode of personal transportation, the Danish government-sponsored exhibit Dreams on Wheels: Danish Cycling Culture For Urban Sustainability is still globetrotting after eight years.
The project began traveling to cities around the world as a precursor to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. The exhibit has visited cities as far from Denmark as Toronto and Portland, as near as London and Paris, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
The full exhibit is comprised of ten “Cycling Moods” boxes, each containing an example of a Danish bicycle designed for a specific purpose. The bicycles range from a sleek silver Biomega shaft drive city bike to a Christiania front end loading cargo trike to a Leitra all-weather velomobile.
The second part of the exhibit is the “Urban Planning Inspiration Area,” another box with examples of cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly urban designs from leading Danish architects.
As a sideline to the exhibit, Danes and representatives from the host city usually speak about the importance of promoting cycling, and how to do it right.
In a presentation at the Portland exhibit, Danish writer, filmmaker, photographer and bicycle advocate Mikael Colville-Andersen outlined how policy making made driving in Copenhagen so expensive, slow and frustrating that people began riding bikes because it was easier.
To give you an impression of how the Danes have succeeded, about 35 per cent of Copenhagen commuters bike to school or work, according to Klaus Bondam, the city’s mayor of technical and environmental administration.
Bondam also discussed the city’s new plan to get 50 per cent of Copenhagen commuters on a bike by 2015 at a “Cycle for Change” conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Check out the bicycle examples and tour schedule here.
At date of posting, there are no scheduled North American stops. Fingers crossed.