Average Copenhagen Cyclist

Submitted to Human Impact
Uploaded 2 Mar 2008 — 6 favorites
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© Mikael Colville-Andersen
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Photo Info
UploadedMarch 2, 2008
TakenJuly 21, 2007
ModelCanon IXY DIGITAL 80
Exposure1/1500 sec at f/3.2
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length7.109 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

What you see in the photo above, taken in Copenhagen, is something we call a "cyclist".

Not a "bicycle commuter", nor a "utility cyclist". Certainly not a "lightweight, open air, self-powered traffic vehicle user". It's a cyclist.

The Copenhagener above is not "commuting" - or at least she doesn't call it that. She's not going for a "bike ride" or "making a bold statement about her personal convictions regarding reduction of Co2 levels and sustainable transport methods in urban centers".

She's just going to work. On her bike.

And that's what she's riding. A bike. A "cykel" in Danish.

It's not a city bike or an Alternative Transport Vehicle or a "Dutch bike" [whatever THAT is... not even the Dutch call them Dutch bikes, not to mention tens of millions of Chinese] - it's just a bike.

When she bought her bike at her local bike shop she didn't have a "fitting" at the "full service workshop and showroom". She probably walked into the shop and said, "I need a bike". The chap working there probably shrugged, glanced her up and down and said, "you'll be needing a 52cm".

"I like the black one, over there..."

"That's a 52cm"

"Great. How much?"

And off she went with her new bike. He didn't offer her any fancy, expensive "bike gear" or "accessories" and he didn't try to dazzle and confuse her with inaccessible, nerdy technerd babble in order to make more money. He doesn't even have "cycle clothes" in his shop. He assumes she has clothes in her closet at home. A wooly hat for winter. A summer dress for... well... summer. She needed a bike. He owned a bike shop. It was over in 20 minutes. Although he probably adjusted her seat for her.

The bike she chose was a black one. Probably a good, reliable Danish brand. It certainly wasn't a "TerraTurbo Urban Warrior X9000". It was just a bike. What it is called isn't important to her. Just the fact that it works.

She doesn't know how much it weighs. Nobody she knows or has ever met could tell you how much their bike weighs. Likewise, she doesn't know how far she rides each day. It isn't interesting. She rides at a good pace, not too fast to cause a sweat, and the ride is nice enough. She likes the fresh air and she often sees friends on the bike lanes. She loves crossing The Lakes and seeing the transformation from season to season. That will suffice.

She doesn't wake up and make a decision to "commute by bike to work today". It's just a part of her day. She just walks out of her flat and gets on her bike. If it has a puncture, she'll walk it down to the local bike shop to get it repaired and then take the bus or train to work. Picking it up in the afternoon.

She isn't an activist, doesn't belong to a cycling organisation with a long acronym and she doesn't even realise that she lives in a "bike culture".

She's just a cyclist. Riding her bike to work. She'll be doing the same tomorrow.

Just ride your bike.

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