Friday, April 28th, 2006:
Bike-watching in Helsingborg
What I think:
It's pretty cool the way that many people commute around this fine city purely by the magic of pedal-power; it's healthy, it's efficient, it's good for the environment, it's relatively safe (there are fewer maniacal drivers here than in larger cities), but it's not for me. I walk almost everywhere; otherwise, it's a cab.
But I admire those who can be bothered to get their bikes out (sometimes carrying them down a flight or two of stairs), cycle to their destinations, and find suitable places to lock them up, fairly confident that parts won't get stolen (this is not London). Good for them, I say.
Then I started looking at the bikes many people ride. They look plain, boring, old-fashioned - ugly. OK, many people do have nice cool modern ones, but a lot of people (yes, even young people) ride bikes that look like they were designed by ABBA's great-great-grandparents.
I've been told that the "classic" look of these bikes is considered a chic and trendy thing; that owning one of these is a status symbol, of sorts. Have a look at this fine example of Swedish cycling trendiness:
Mama, I want one.
I want the tight Lycra shorts that go with it as well, pretty please.
Ooh, actually, can I have one of these instead?
Perhaps the singer from Roxette will let me sit in the basket while she joyrides around having "the look".
I'm told that they're comfortable, durable, and dependable. I guess that they're considered the cyclists' Volvos. But this "look" is dreadfully outdated, and these monstrosities do not belong in this millennium. It's definitely time that the Swedish government did something about it. In fact, I think it was time they did something about it around 1920. That's what I think.