The Humble Danish Appliance

According to the prominent ambassador for "citizen cycling", Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagen Cycle Chic fame, everyone in Copenhagen cycles, but none there identify as "cyclists" per se, "cyclist" being a dreadful moniker used only in less advanced cycling countries—like Australia, I guess. In this unfortunately edited, and hence quite divisive interview on youtube, he is caught saying the Danes take a quotidian view of their bikes, one which those of us living elsewhere would be advised to take note of. We should stop worshiping our bikes, and treat them instead with the indifference we would show to our vacuum cleaners and washing machines, or so the argument runs.

Now I freely admit, most of what I’ve written on my blog, has not been fully thought through. But then I’m not yet road touring my views, as though I’m Jan Gehl, the way Mikael has been lucky to do. The problem with his thesis, is that it gives oxygen to horizontal rivalries between fellow cyclists, pitting sports riders against slow riders, etc.. Mikael himself doesn’t play at that game, but his admirers sure do. The narrator of the above video would hug me on Friday if he saw me commuting on my Velorbis, then lynch me on Saturday for speeding past on my Lynskey. As members of a persecuted minority, we cyclists need to keep cool. It’s those who don’t ride bikes at all, or sympathize with us one little bit, who give us the grief, not members of rivaling bike tribes.  
I cannot end this without exposing my jealousy, through the noble art of exposing another’s hypocrisy. Copenhagen Cycle Chic gives great coverage to what one might call bling for their Dutch bike (baskets, bells, tassels), but suggests no such sources of bling for one’s vacuum. He sells T-shirts and bags that so called "non-cyclists" can use to identify with cyclists of the slow cycling movement. Finally, if Mikael’s own red Bullitt cargobike is just some everyday piece of poop, I would sure love to see this guy’s washing machine! Anything else I might say, regarding for example his eye for the ladies, I know could be turned on myself one hundred times over, so I’ll just say: keep up the snappin’ there fella!

PUBLIC APOLOGY: I decided to amend what was a much nastier version of this post, and in the process delete Mikael’s polite and good humoured response, because it made him look cool, and me look petty. Now I look cool (don’t I?), as I deserve to, given I pay $25 per year for this site. BTW, I nicked that photo of Mikael from his site, which is not very cool.


  1. The green eyed monster???

    Dr Behooving,

    [sycophancy ON]

    It must be galling for you to witness others far less qualified than yourself supping at the international conference table!!!

    I am sure that in the fullness of time the world will realsie the disservice they have done to you (and themselves!) by not calling upon your good (and modest) self to point out the one true cycling way.

    Roberto [sycophancy OFF]

    • Steven says:

      Re: The green eyed monster???

      Why thank you Roberto, you have shown yourself yet again to be the man of discernment I have always said that you are. Your role as chief henchman when I rule the world is secured.
      In truth a 4th place in a big race yesterday has just made me a sore loser here for a while.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi! i am a student at university in the UK, studying architecture and considering my final major project based around the notion of integrating the bicycle into architecture…i’m really enjoying your obscure and stimulating blog posts! Thanks!

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