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Katharsisdrill @Katharsisdrill

North-west Copenhagen seen from a Christiania-bike

I normally ride the Christiania-bike myself, but today my wife took me to a hospital examination so I was in the trunk and had time to take some October photos.

-bike

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@Katharsisdrill If you had told me this was Oslo, I would've believed you.

@thor - I think that both Oslo and Copenhagen lies close to the tangent in the curvature between equator and the North pole which gives the autumn light a special warm tint. The light is something that I always miss when I am away from Scandinavia in a longer period of time.

@Katharsisdrill There's definitely that, but the thing I noticed the most was how familiar every item was. The traffic lights, the pavements, the tree species, the architecture, the ever-present construction cranes. One difference I know is there that I can just barely see from the photos is that Copenhagen has more bicycles. In Oslo, there are fewer cyclists, and most of them have expensive gear. They seem to think they're professional athletes.

@Katharsisdrill The one problem with Oslo as a bicycle city is that almost nowhere is flat. The whole city slopes down toward the sea. Electrical bicycles may help with that, but they cost more money. The second problem is that our bike lanes are poorly developed, and adding new ones is taking years and years. In many streets, there simply isn't room for them.

@thor - Denmark has reworked the streets for bicycles since the seventies. It is a lot of infrastructural work, and then here's very flat. The narrow streets in Copenhagen center hasn't got bikelanes thoigh for the same reason, they are too narrow. But bike traffic has been favoured a lot and the car-drivers are more aware of the cyclists here than in most other places. My eldest daughter goes where ever she likes on bike and we still feel are reasonably secure :) (she's 16 now and has done so since she was 13-14).

What I would like that you have in Norway is rules that makes electric cars cheaper. Copenhagen has far to much pollution from gasolin-cars.

@Katharsisdrill The EFTA Surveillance Authority wants us to remove the tax cuts on electric cars because they think it goes against the agreement. As you know, Norwegian politicians have always wanted Norway to join the EU, but Norwegian voters are against it. They couldn't do an EU membership without a referendum, so they snuck us into EFTA and the EEA (EØS) instead. This kind of meddling in our internal affairs is exactly why we're against joining.

@Katharsisdrill I think our resistance to meddling stems from having been a pawn of Sweden and Denmark for 400 years. Our independence is only 112 years old, and as a people, we are still fairly excited about that.

@Katharsisdrill The politicians don't care so much about it, perhaps because they feel that they have more in common with politicians down on the continent than with ordinary people. They have understood that the idea of joining the EU is very unpopular, though, so they basically shut up about it these days. EEA/EFTA isn't a good deal for us (as evidenced by Brexiteers being appalled by it), but no one wants to budge, so it's a stalemate.

@thor - For a long time the EU referendums where 50-50% here in Denmark too. I am not sure why all these referendums are always close to 50-50% not only in Denmark but everywhere... But politicians here are also much more in favour of EU than the population.

@katharsisdrill @thor As a politician, unless you are close to 50% you don't really want one, and if you're far beyond 50% you don't really need one.
@katharsisdrill @thor There's a similar answer to why single-seat first-past-the-post votes are so often near 50% and why two-party systems happen. There is something you want to do, there is some form of scale of things people want to do, and you want to get as much of your stuff done as possible while still winning, so you stay close to that 50%.

@thor - Yes, I know ;) Interestingly - we had some Finnish people for dinner the other day and I asked them why they weren't as protective of their independence as the Norwegians - They after all are an even younger nation and has been colonised (maybe not the right word) by Swedes and Russians.

But they just smiled and said little shy groans as is the custom of Finnish people... :)? So I am not sure what the answer is.

@Katharsisdrill The Finns don't strike me as patriotic. I think we had some figures in our independence movement who did crucial things to ignite our patriotism, like Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Henrik Wergeland. It probably also helps that National Romanticism was huge around the time Norway became independent, embedding it into our history to a greater degree.

@thor - Well, maybe, but the Finns did have quite their part of national romanticism. Sibelius, Kalevala etc. and they did show some grim patriotism in the winter-war. I think it is simply their Mummitroll-nature... but who knows.

@thor @Katharsisdrill Yeah, treating cycling as real transportation and making bike lanes and infrastructure is necessary if a city wants to encourage cycling. It's not just the lanes, it's parking and having public transportation like bus & trains that can carry cycles & allow hybrid commuting. It can work for a hilly city tho, like San Francisco.

(Totally in favor of cycling as primary urban transportation. Burning human fat instead of fossil fuels for commuter traffic seems like win win. ;)

@frankiesaxx @thor - It definitely is possible and has many benefits, but sadly it seems that in many countries there is a war between cyclists and car-owners. I have discussed it many times on the internet with furious US and English cyclists that feel harassed by car-drivers and is filled with hatred which is not a benefit in the traffic.

Hopefully the cities around the world becomes better at city-planning and try to learn from each other.

As for the hills: I see many old people cycling here in Copenhagen and I think that the electrical bike is a great way to help the elderly in cities like Oslo and San Francisco to get on the bike. The post-deliverers here in Copenhagen have big, heavy Christiania-bikes with electrical help-motors.

@Katharsisdrill @thor The US does have a car culture and there can be a lot of hostility to cyclists and pedestrians, especially outside the major cities.

Part of it too is that drivers in places where cycling isn't the norm actually don't see cyclists because they aren't expecting them to be there. Cyclists will think the driver saw them b/c they looked *right at them* and didn't even slow down, but their presence doesn't register to the driver at all.

@frankiesaxx @thor - Yes that is exactly the argument i hear. it is very much a matter of traffic-culture. Local Copenhagen drivers are more aware of the cyclists than people from the countryside, and I have often heard that provincial drivers see the cyclists as confusing, threatening and even dangerous even though the opposite is true.

@Katharsisdrill @frankiesaxx @thor Outside of NL (which is 40 years ahead of UK with regard to road planning) I get the impression that DK, DE and UK are still to an extent dithering between "cycling as hobby/tourism" and "cycling as transport" when providing facilities, much depends on the region you are in (mine is quite good by UK standards, perhaps because it is on the North Sea coast very close to NL, DE and DK.)

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

I am not sure about the Dutch coutryside, but it is very much a thing between the depopulated countryside where you have to have a car to get your children to school and do the shopping because they closed all local institutions and shops, and then the citysprawl or city where the bike is the most efficient transportation. But of course it is also about national politics. Sweden is very different and not at all welcoming for bicycles, even theough for example Malmö is just on the other side of the water from Copenhagen.

(They are doing a lot of effort these last years though as only the Swedes can.)

@Katharsisdrill @frankiesaxx @thor The Dutch appear to have as many cycling facilities in the more rural as in the urban areas; as well as bike superhighways going though hundreds of km across the country - but they do benefit from having a small relatively flat country to work with and a strong pro-consensus attitude in politics.

SE and NO are geographically very *big* by European standards (although perhaps populations are concentrated in certain regions?)

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

The population of Sweden and Norway is very much concentrated around the cities in the southern part of the countries. They have extraordinary fine natural areas where you can camp and make fires where you want (or you can in Sweden at least). Bicycle track in these areas would probably mostly be for tourists I guess.

@vfrmedia @Katharsisdrill @frankiesaxx @thor I'm absolutely not a nationalist, and often critical on the Netherlands and the Dutch, but... the situation for bicycles is very great indeed. The summon had to be the world largest bicycle parking lot in #Utrecht.

youtube.com/watch?v=ynIRAhoqoB

theguardian.com/world/2017/aug

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

It doesn't make you a nationalist to be proud of things happening in your country :)

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor Why should I be proud on things happening in a country I was born in and live in, I have nothing to do with? You can be proud on yourself, your children or other things you are directly involved in.

But I'm happy the city of Utrecht decided to build this bicycle parking lot.

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor No, you can't. Proud/pride is for something you achieved yourself or a group of people you are directly involved in.

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

Seems a bit academic, but I suppose that you are part of humanity :)

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

Well it is definitely not logic which I just showed, but I'll buy the anti-nationalist part.

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

But I guess that you can just swoop the word 'happy' for 'proud' and you would still get my original meaning.

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor I'm proud I found this definition 😀

"proud
praʊd/

adjective

1. feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.

2. having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance."

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

English is not my first language so I will capitulate and just go for happy then.

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

Logic and language is not perfectly coordinated systems anyway.

@jeroenpraat @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

The Utrecht bike-parking makes me happy (or is it proud as a European ;)) I would like the Copenhagen city-council to make some better bicycle parking at the main station. That place is a mess.

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @thor Yeah. We still can't take our bicycles on trains though. It's so annoying. Of course SJ... *sigh*

@frankiesaxx @vfrmedia @thor - Trains are the stepchild of transportation in this age.

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @thor And that's so annoying. I would happily spend 2x-3x the time to take a train rather than fly, even if it cost the same. But SJ is terrible. We don't even have any high speed trains north of Sundsvall. And they're also super unreliable--you absolutely can't take SJ if you actually need to be somewhere within several hours of predicted arrival time.

@frankiesaxx @vfrmedia @thor

And I was planning a train and boat trip to Finland...

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @thor We took the old ferry to Vasa, and our bicycles rode free. :) Then they were able to go on the train in Finland also. I think we just had to purchase an extra baggage ticket or something. It was a couple years ago.

@frankiesaxx @vfrmedia @thor - sounds great! I really would like to go to Finland. Iceland and Finland are the only two Nordic countries that I have not visited, and my wife has many friends in Finland that has offered that we could lend their sommarstuga. (She has been to Finland several times)

@Katharsisdrill @vfrmedia @thor Helsinki was gorgeous this past August. I was there before in March or early April and it was a lot less attractive! XD

@frankiesaxx @vfrmedia

Spring in Scandinavia is always the most barren period. The first edible local vegetable is in June. And I think that also reflects elsewhere in the nature. Spring is my least favourite period - I do enjoy it when the light return though.

@Katharsisdrill @frankiesaxx I think it is the same throughout Northern Europe, in the UK this time is historically known as "the hungry gap" (the term is still used on the local community farm as there are less crops to distribute then)

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx

It is of course - same latitude. It was just because we discussed Finland.

@Katharsisdrill @frankiesaxx I think today we are much more isolated from it due to constant/free trade with Southern Europe and the Middle East - but were this to break down for any reason during early spring it might be noticeable again...

@vfrmedia @Katharsisdrill I think we still notice. We look forward to the first local strawberries! And there are still seasonal veg that show up and then disappear from the shops. We do have pumpkins now, and a couple shops even have squash year round... but there's still a noticeable difference in the amount and variety. And fresh chantarelles are very seasonal.

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx

I once tried to eat just local Danish plant food. In March I was going crazy and I cried when I tasted the first strawberries in early June.

@frankiesaxx @thor @Katharsisdrill UK trains are expensive (compared to NL/DE costs for same distance) and not all can take bikes but a lot of the off peak ones now can. However it depends on the train staff whether they let you on or not, also I ride an e-bike (normal 250W EU standard power) and its unclear whether its classed as a normal bike (allowed) or a moped (forbidden!); and the rules vary between train operating companies!

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor @Katharsisdrill If it's legally a bicycle, then it shouldn't be a problem. I've taken mine on Greater Anglia trains and nobody cares. The problem is places like Tottenham Hale where you land on the far platform, there's no lift and so you have to navigate escalators and stairs which is interesting with a heavy E-bike.

@jbond @vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @Katharsisdrill I'm not following the discussion anymore. Could you guys perhaps remove my name from the mentions?

@jbond @frankiesaxx @Katharsisdrill the current abellio(sp?) / Greater Anglia is a UK venture of Nederlandse Spoorwegen so it matches up they are more bike-friendly than previous National Express (I also live in this region) where things were never 100% clear; although there is still the issue with steps/escalators in London that you mention!

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @Katharsisdrill Not so much bike friendly as uninterested. You do have to pick your moment and go off peak though. The trains are never often enough or big enough so bicycles in commute time is impossible.

@jbond @frankiesaxx @Katharsisdrill just had a look on the Greater Anglia website out of curiosity and the warnings of serious delays in Ipswich reminded me instantly exactly why (in spite of being a Londoner) I very rarely travel to London (or TBH anywhere outside of cycling range) nowadays - I've no need to do so for paying work and its not something I consider as fun any more for a wider variety of reasons...(irrespective of whether I could take my e-bike along)

@vfrmedia for moped vs bike, in Ireland the law is about whether you are required to pedal for the motor to work. If you don't have to pedal, then it's an mechanically propelled vehicle, ie it's a moped. If you have to pedal for the motor to go, then you have a human powered vehicle, which has pedal assist functionality, ie bicycle. Perhaps there's a legal difference like that you could use?

@ebel UK now has same rules as Ireland (and rest of EU) - there was some ambiguity about e-bike laws until 2008/9 which actually allowed UK ebikes to run without pedalling.

The train company in my area also changed in that time and is more tolerant of bikes in general (its parent company is the Dutch national railways!)

Also modern e-bikes aren't often immediately obvious as such compared to one from the mid-later 2000s..

@frankiesaxx @thor @Katharsisdrill the UK has got a lot better in the last decade or so but there is still tension on the roads, it has got to the stage where cops now carry out semi-undercover operations to catch drivers who do not give cyclists enough room. They are given a warning and a choice to take part in an education session with the Fire Brigade and Council who explain correct spacing, or get points on their license). Some angry drivers even refuse the education and take the points!

@vfrmedia @frankiesaxx @thor

How sad really. Traffic should be about how to get about most effectively, not a battlefield. But I am glad to hear that there is progress. I follow a few UK bikers on Diaspora :)

@vfrmedia @Katharsisdrill @thor Hah. Well, then good. Get them off the road faster.

As a driver, cyclists make me nervous, mostly because as a cyclist I'm very aware of how squishable I am, and all the varioius things that could go wrong (bad pavement, foreign objects, mechanical failures, etc. that could make me lose control).

And as a cyclist, drivers make me nervous b/c I know they may not notice me, or they may be on the phone, eating, drunk etc.

I want self driving cars. :)

@frankiesaxx @vfrmedia @thor

I want more trains :) I love to go by train and to be able to bring my bike too. It is the most comfortable long-distance way of travelling in my opinion.

@Katharsisdrill Nice blue sky! Hope the hospital examination went well

@loveisanalogue - Both the sky and my body was fine and alright - Thank you for your concern :)