1. DEAR AUSTRALIAN (FEMALE) ROAD RAGING DRIVER…

    Dear Australian driver, who pulled down your windscreen and yelled "Get out of the way!!" while I was on my way to work this morning:

    I’m just writing to deeply apologize… for giving you the finger. Seriously, that was very immature of me, and I don’t know why I did that…(!!)

    I’ve been riding this road for several weeks, and no other driver has ever showed bad behavior as you did to me, not even the slightest. Contrary, we all try to do our best in traffic, and it’s been going great so far. It’s an amazingly beautiful commute that I do almost every day. When you and I met this morning, the road was empty of cars and I kept a little to the left, so you could easily overtake me if you wanted. So I was very surprised and chocked of your manners. 

    After some thinking, I realised you must be one of those people who has a massive aura of negativity around you and get annoyed with things that no one else cares about. Your life must really suck because of this. You might have had a really bad morning - but you seem to be the only one during my commutes so far who takes it out on other people in traffic. You might be one of those people who drives a shiny car, but lacks everything else. Like love and happiness. Which make me feel really sorry for you. 

    And I figured there must be something severely wrong with you and/or your life, when you didn’t stop at the STOP sign either (STOP means “stop”). I guess that’s what really upset me and made me act like a baby. It scared me that someone like you drive around on our streets without following the simplest of rules. (Perhaps you ignored this important rule as you realised that if you’d stop, I’d end up right next to you. But seriously, I’m not dangerous, and you’re an adult who should be able to stand up for yourself, right?)

    Anyhow, despite your illegal, rude and dangerous manners, I shoudn’t have responded the way I did! Giving you the finger probably won’t give back your hope for humanity, and it certainly doesn’t makes you a happier person or a more respectful driver. I guess it is true what they say, that people’s bad energy and behavour is contagious: you really brought out the worst in me. Which is actually quite amazing that you did, because nothing bring me such joy (regarding how my mornings are) as choosing to ride to work by bike. Perhaps you should try it sometime.

    Anyhow. Next time you pull down your window and yell at me, I’ll promise that I’ll give you a big smile and a friendly waive, perhaps a lollie too. You if anyone really needs it. 

    Once again, I’m really sorry.

    Kind regards,

    Elin xx

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  3. LOVELY MELBOURNE PT 3: VISITING THE PAPILLIONAIRE BICYCLES SHOP

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    Hidden on a small lane in Collingwood, Melbourne, you find this little garage full of treasures.

    Sounds sleezy i know (!) but visiting the Papillionaire shop is like being a child in a candy store. I’m all in for this type of bicycles that makes you sit upright like a queen, they simply have got everything you need. When it comes to select a bike I’m very pragmatic, but I must say my aesthetic eye never minds a nice color and vintage shape. The colors of these bikes range from pastel to classic creme, red and marine blue, making it really hard to decide which one to chose…

    So how did I know of this place? Alan, the designer of the bikes and owner of the shop, is a reader of my blog - and that’s how I got to know him. I did an interview with him in 2011 about his inspiring career swap that you can read here. And when he heard I was coming to Melbourne for a visit, he was more than happy to kit me up with a Papillionaire for my stay. (Australians are a bunch of friendly people aren’t they!)

    Let’s have a look at the beauties and the shop:

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    I had to have a closer look and try some of them. More about that tomorrow!

     
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  5. GUEST BLOGGING AT CYKELSMART.SE

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    (Swedish politicians in action, talking about cycling)

    The other day I made a guest blog post at the swedish bicycle trade organisation’s blog Cykelsmart about the swedish bicycle politics. They’ve started a bicycle network for politicians. And I have to say, it is a delight to see all parties (well, 7 out of 8) represented and interested in cycling matters. Wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago.

    Read my post here!

     
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  7. Cykelutredningen goes real life

    Many cyclists and cycling advocates have been disappointed with cykelutredningen, the Swedish bicycle investigation conducted by the government. Not least have people been upset by the suggestion that when there is a bike path, cargo bikers will be allowed on the road, but not the fast cycling cyclists.

    However… I started fantasizing about the scenario… And all of a sudden, this new suggestion sounds pretty cool. I mean, just imagine:

    Hornsgatan, Stockholm’s most polluted street:

    Or like here, at Kungsgatan, Uppsala’s most polluted street:

    Extremely people friendly streets all of a sudden. I really like these pics, don’t you? (And how you like my photoshop skills, hehe?)

    I mean, by this suggestion, cargo bikes could completely decide the traffic pace in the inner city, right? Cargo bikes could become the new ‘city car’ in just a couple of years. So after a bit of thinking, I was thinking this is probably the most progressive suggestion I’ve ever heard. 

    The cargo bike could definitely be the christmas gift of the year.

    © Put The Fun Between Your Legs

     
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  9. How New York does it.

    New York is one of those huge cities that has had the guts make dramatic changes to their urban landscape in just a few years. Here’s an inspiring video about the transformation of Times Square, how they took space from the road to create bike lanes, and what the businesses and the people think about it.

    Makes me think about streets like Hornsgatan and Sveavägen in Stockholm. Two streets where the car lanes are huge, there’s car parking on both sides, and the bike lanes are narrower than the cheapest IKEA-bed (in other words: not so comfy). Moreover, Hornsgatan is one of the most polluted streets in Europe - basically a cocktail of cancerogenic gases - and could need a bit of a remake, least to say. 

    What are the decision makers waiting for in Stockholm? It’s about time to be a little progressive and not just build another road. Start making the Stockholm region less car dependent.Cause I’m telling you: Being listed as the most congested cities in Europe is not a compliment. (Not even London is on that chart.)

     
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  11. A Letter From Berlin…

    My friends Ellie and Nikita has moved to Berlin! They just sent me these pictures to let me know they are doing all right (in other words: they’ve bought bicycles).

    Berlin is on my top 5 list of favorite cycling cities. For many reasons. The bicycle climate itself is very friendly. There is space. Berlin is blessed with wide streets and few car commuters, and most pavements - except the narrowest ones - have cycle paths. They don’t separate cyclists and pedestrians (or cyclists and cars) very well but the pavements are often big enough and there’s often one cycle lane in each direction anyway. In complicated intersections, the cyclists have their own traffic signals. There’s some kind of Ordnung: People seem to be aware of each other regardless if you walk by foot, go by car or by bike (which is handy for everyones blood pressure). Moreover, the city has an excellent transportation diversity (an excessive tube and commuter train system, trams and great walking possibilities) which keeps the percentage of car use balanced. Rolling on a bike in Berlin simply means high quality daily life.

    At the moment Ellie and Nikita live in Kreutzberg, which is one of the dark purple areas on this map which shows how many percentage of total trips are made by bicycles. These numbers are from 2008, so they are a little old, but surely rolling in the right direction…

    One interesting thing with Berlin is that it is HUGE, geographically. And yet cycling friendly. Long distances or tired legs are easily solved by taking the bicycle on the tube or commuter train on the way home. 

    I have another friend in Berlin, who has lived there for years now, Toomas. These are his thoughts on cycling in the city:

    I love biking in Berlin, but it’s not just about the bike-friendly infrastructure, even if many streets have cycle lanes and some have cycle paths. When I compare to other cities I’ve biked in, Berlin stands out with the green; parks and street trees all over the place, with the flatness; you can get almost wherever you want quite easily, and also with the respectful awareness of the car drivers; even if they might hate you, they see you. Oh, and the numerous bike shops, they add to it. But I guess it depends who you ask, you will get different answers and reasons for loving to bike in this city.

    It’s said the city of Berlin is very proactive nowadays when it comes to cycling. Twenty years ago, Berlin faced the same challenges that countless cities face today: Bicycling was an afterthought, something reserved for students and hipsters. However, the city’s sustained, long-term commitment to the so called 5 E’s of bicycling: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning has produced a renaissance that’s pushed cycling into the mainstream.

    A few other progressive facts about Berlin you might find interesting…

    • On January 1, 2008, Berlin introduced an environmental zone that banned vehicles with highly polluting emissions from an 88 sq. km. inner-city area. 
    • Berlin has a goal set to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. The average goal for European cities in the Siemens Green City Index is 15%.
    • The Berlin Solar Campaign was launched in 2000 by the Berlin Senate’s department of administration for urban development. It offers grants for solar panel installations.
    • 19 buildings at Potsdamer Platz are topped off with green roofs and rainwater is collected for reuse in toilets, watering of green areas, and an artificial pond. Why? To control urban flooding, save city water and create a better micro climate. 

    (Source: Siemens Green City Index 2012)

    Go Berry!

     
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  13. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LEND A 100 PEOPLE A BICYCLE?

    I made a guest blog post over at Cykelsmart.se a few weeks ago about a bicycle campaign in Stockholm, my thoughts on the results, some nifty health benefits from cycling and the importance of realizing: Putting money into cycling is an investment with great economical value.  

    However I realized I didn’t mention it here, so, here it is!: It’s all in Swedish but might make sense as a google translated version.

    xxxxx

     
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  15. Upright Bikes Allright.

    I’ve made a guest blog post over at Australian Papillionaire Bicycles about the beauty of upright bikes. Have a read and happy friday cycling!

     
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  17. thick bicycle marks, my ass.

    i must say i like the arrangements with well marked, separated bike lanes between slussen and gamla stan in stockholm. its great if politicians realise that more and more people chose to bike (and that biking makes happier people). what i simply don’t understand is why the bicycle marks on the ground are SO THICK - do they want to make us racer bikers sterile?? the almost 1 cm high marks are every 7th meter. not so comfortable. people chose the bike because its fast and feasible, in fact the quickest way of travel in a city. people don’t choose the bike to loose things from the bicycle basket, to get sore bums, flat tires and a grumpy face. i say; make the bike lane with red or green asphalt at critical places, built in the bicycle sign in the asphalt, and you’ll see people will know it is as a bicycle lane. you won’t get the nobel price for it; its been successfully used in amsterdam and copenhagen for ages. but you will get very happy bikers - and pedestrians.

    i think i’m going to ask. first i’ll have to rehab my ass and
    find my missing belongings, but i’ll get back to you with info on this one!

    xx

     
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