Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Spring has definitely sprung in Vienna today and there are people outside cafes sitting in the sun.

In the photo you can see the elegance of the design of the Katzenschutznet and the resemblance to the Xihoumen Bridge. Sissi has realised that the new net is impenetrable and is looking at other options. She is wondering if she can actually jump on to the roof from the table.

The people in Copenhagen are just crazy about bicycles. I have never seen so many cyclists or bicycles. They seem to cycle everywhere – even in the middle of winter.

There are vast bicycle parking lots all over the city where hundreds of bikes are left – some to die by the looks of them. I assume that they belong to people who live in apartments and don’t want to take them in and out all the time. And I have never seen rustier bikes – ever. I guess if you leave a bike outside in Copenhagen it is not going to do it much good.

And many of them are not locked or chained – but who would want to steal them? The cyclists don’t wear helmets – but as in Vienna there are dedicated cycling paths – and there appears to be the same sort of car-bicycle cultures as there is in Vienna. That is – cyclists have as much right to be on the roads as motorist.

I had my first decent ride here for a long while on Monday when I went to have a massage. It was cold and windy – but still enjoyable. As Spring has finally arrived I am looking forward to long rides soon on the Donauinsel.

I would NEVER ride in Sydney except on the (very few) dedicated cycle paths which are generally not associated with main roads. I imagine there are more dangerous places to ride than Sydney but have no wish to go to any of them. Kabul springs to mind.

I was fascinated this week by a study undertaken by John Pucher, a US professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The report in the Sydney Morning Herald says:

“SYDNEY will never be a bicycle-friendly city until it develops a ''second cycling culture'' which encourages relaxed European-style riding without the compulsory use of helmets, experts have warned.

Instead of advocating racing bikes with drop handle-bars, or mountain bikes with flat bars, cycling groups should encourage the use of traditional upright European styles, often called Amsterdam bikes, to make cycling a mass, utilitarian activity where bikes are used for shopping, running errands and commuting.”

I wonder if Professor Pucher has ever ridden a bicycle in Sydney? Not wear a helmet? In Sydney? Crazy stuff! He should be advocating Body Armour.

My solution to the problem would be to build cycle paths. If you have these then people will use bicycles. Look at Vienna and Copenhagen. The only way I would ride a bicycle on Sydney roads would be if it was welded to the top of a Hummer.

Cate is going to Moscow for a week so I am going for the weekend. This will mean no Blog on Monday - you will just have to tough it out!


  1. Your pictures are amazing. Are you a photographer?

  2. Ah Katie you are much to kind. I am just a guy with a camera. For real photography you need to visit Merisi at

  3. Yes, Copenhagen is good for cycling. Your hotel throws a bike in with your booking fee so you can cycle out to get some Carlsberg or to see the Little Mermaid.

    But Vienna is good too, you can cycle round and round the Ring all day.

  4. Thank you, Badger, you are very generous!
    I hope you had some fabulous days in M!