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Old 01-01-13, 07:44 PM   #1
GeraldF
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80% of Danes store bikes outdoors year round

According to Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagenize Consulting, approximately 80% of people in Copenhagen store their bikes outdoors 24-7-365. This despite the fact that bike theft is rampant. When asked for advice on combatting rust, he replied, "the more rust the better."

One thing interesting to note is that the Danes generally ride extremely heavy bicycles. On the surface this would seem like a barrier to making cycling convenient, but it actually is one of many reasons that so many people ride in cities like Copenhagen. If bikes there were lightweight, more people would carry them indoors, in turn making utility cycling inconvenient. Just as there's "safety in numbers" in terms of riders, a similar phenomenon occurs regarding theft. If there are 500 bicycles locked up overnight within a one block radius, what's the chance that YOUR bike will get stolen? Again, theft is commonplace in Copenhagen, but the Danes accept it rather than fear it.

Obviously, any of you out there that spent $1,000+ on a luxurious, unnecessarily lightweight racing bike would never lock your bike up outdoors overnight. This post is geared more towards those with a utility bicycle used for quick errands to destinations generally 0.5 to 3 miles away. Having a bike locked up in front of your doorstep is a HUGE convenience for anyone who'd otherwise have to carry the bike up steps.

This is totally hypothetical, but I really do think that if bikes weighed as much in the US as they do in Denmark, cycling numbers would skyrocket in US cities. Basements and garages thwart all attempts to lure in would-be riders.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-01-13, 08:03 PM   #2
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I suspect it's not simply the weight of the bikes, but the fact they're designed to be parked outdoors -- chain cases, kickstands, fenders, etc.

They're bikes that don't need to be brought inside at night.
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Old 01-01-13, 08:12 PM   #3
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I'm guessing there are other factors at work besides the weight of the bike. Worked with an IT consultant from Denmark a number of years ago - apparently the price of automobiles there compared to the US is .... ridiculous. So bikes may simply be heavier because they're intended to be utilitarian wheras here they're largely for recreation.
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Old 01-01-13, 08:15 PM   #4
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I suspect it's not simply the weight of the bikes, but the fact they're designed to be parked outdoors -- chain cases, kickstands, fenders, etc.

They're bikes that don't need to be brought inside at night.
I just wish bike shops offered more bikes that came with things like chain cases and fenders.
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Old 01-01-13, 08:19 PM   #5
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The majority of the bikes built for the Danish/Dutch market are built to be stored out of doors. Powder coating over galvanized frames, stainless steel fasteners as well as fenders and chain cases. They also cost more, but IIRC there is a 150% luxury tax on cars in both of those countries, so spending a $1,000 on a bike is a drop in the bucket. They also have insurance that will pay for the bikes, unlike here in the US where you have to put them on your homeowners/renters policy, quite often with a rider and then battle the insurance company for a payment.

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Old 01-01-13, 09:13 PM   #6
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I don't think there are any hills in Copenhagen! That makes a difference, too!

I have a monstrously heavy Amsterdam bike, a luxury model with an 8 speed Nexus rear hub. The biggest problem is that it is geared way too high. I use gear 1 all the time and really never 7 or 8. I need to switch sprockets! There are hills every where I go where I live!

My bike has roller brakes too, which I am a bit dubious about. It's a great city bike but not so good for the mountains!
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Old 01-01-13, 09:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GeraldF View Post
According to Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagenize Consulting, approximately 80% of people in Copenhagen store their bikes outdoors 24-7-365. This despite the fact that bike theft is rampant. When asked for advice on combatting rust, he replied, "the more rust the better."

One thing interesting to note is that the Danes generally ride extremely heavy bicycles. On the surface this would seem like a barrier to making cycling convenient, but it actually is one of many reasons that so many people ride in cities like Copenhagen. If bikes there were lightweight, more people would carry them indoors, in turn making utility cycling inconvenient. Just as there's "safety in numbers" in terms of riders, a similar phenomenon occurs regarding theft. If there are 500 bicycles locked up overnight within a one block radius, what's the chance that YOUR bike will get stolen? Again, theft is commonplace in Copenhagen, but the Danes accept it rather than fear it.

Obviously, any of you out there that spent $1,000+ on a luxurious, unnecessarily lightweight racing bike would never lock your bike up outdoors overnight. This post is geared more towards those with a utility bicycle used for quick errands to destinations generally 0.5 to 3 miles away. Having a bike locked up in front of your doorstep is a HUGE convenience for anyone who'd otherwise have to carry the bike up steps.

This is totally hypothetical, but I really do think that if bikes weighed as much in the US as they do in Denmark, cycling numbers would skyrocket in US cities. Basements and garages thwart all attempts to lure in would-be riders.

Thoughts?
You can buy bikes just like they have in Denmark here in the US. They sell about as well as an icemaker does to an Eskimo so I dare say it is very unlikely bike sales woukld sky rocket. Secondly we have "hills" even long over passes that will bring a bike like they sell in Denmark to a dead stop. Lastly you need to consider how the American consumer would feel about seeing something like this every month or so. http://www.demotix.com/news/1128886/...#media-1128860 No I don't think going back to the old tanks we once rode will increase bike sales here. Better folders might. I know for a fact if the best I could do is get a old Omafiets then I would buy a E-bike and pay to have a place to lock it up. By the way a Omafiet is not inexpensive. so if you don't care if it gets ripped off take a look at what the cost is when some takes one from out front of yourt place. http://www.workcycles.com/home-produ...ch-granny-bike

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Old 01-01-13, 11:30 PM   #8
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I expect their Other Bike. which may be the weekend race bike, goes upstairs..

Tell me more about the housing in CPH..
certainly smaller square footage per house, than Texas,

any socialist community bike sheds?

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Old 01-01-13, 11:41 PM   #9
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I just got back from a ride on my 1966 Raleigh DL-1; this bike is similar in many respects to the Dutch bikes. It weighs about 50 lb. It's ponderous to ride, and yet... I love the ride. I just checked the cranks and they are 180 mm long. 180 MM!!! That's huge. You can get away with that on a bike that is not built for high-speed cornering and has a 46" wheelbase, meaning toe strike is not an issue. That extra crank length gives a little easier push-off, a little more leverage when climbing. Sure you can do that with gearing, too, but the longer cranks are a noticeable part of the feel of the bike. There is a long, broad sweep of the crank that gives better torque just by leaning into it a bit with your weight.

They are just different from the typical bike found in America, and the differences make them better suited to use as the family car, rather than the weekend sport coupe.
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Old 01-01-13, 11:53 PM   #10
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I just wish bike shops offered more bikes that came with things like chain cases and fenders.
Transportational and utility cyclists wouldn't mind these items, recreational riders are indifferent, and anyone that has aspirations of competing or into 'fitness' riing aren't going to be interested in anything that adds weight.

Guess who makes up the largest share of the LBS market?

Also of note is that those countries invested heavily into the cycling infrastructure decade or three ago- not on a town/village level, but at the national level.
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Old 01-02-13, 12:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by GeraldF View Post
Obviously, any of you out there that spent $1,000+ on a luxurious, unnecessarily lightweight racing bike would never lock your bike up outdoors overnight. This post is geared more towards those with a utility bicycle used for quick errands to destinations generally 0.5 to 3 miles away. Having a bike locked up in front of your doorstep is a HUGE convenience for anyone who'd otherwise have to carry the bike up steps.

This is totally hypothetical, but I really do think that if bikes weighed as much in the US as they do in Denmark, cycling numbers would skyrocket in US cities. Basements and garages thwart all attempts to lure in would-be riders.

Thoughts?
I'm not sure where to begin with this thread, but I'll start here because some of my other comments have been mentioned. A +1 to jputnam, for example ...


-- $1000 buys you an entry level road bike. Hardly "a luxurious, unnecessarily lightweight racing bike" ... try tripling that price and you'll be on the doorstep.

-- I hardly think that adding weight to a bicycle with cause the number of cyclists in the US to skyrocket. The weight of the bicycles in Denmark, and other European areas, isn't the reason why there are more people on bicycles there. Go ... spend a few months in Europe. You'll see.
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Old 01-02-13, 12:28 AM   #12
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Amsterdam historically, taxed frontage width.. so the buildings were narrow to lower the Tax Assessment.

The utility bikes get locked to the front fence, or canal guard rail. because the interior stairs were narrow..
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Old 01-02-13, 03:08 AM   #13
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I don't think there are any hills in Copenhagen! That makes a difference, too!

I have a monstrously heavy Amsterdam bike, a luxury model with an 8 speed Nexus rear hub. The biggest problem is that it is geared way too high. I use gear 1 all the time and really never 7 or 8. I need to switch sprockets! There are hills every where I go where I live!

My bike has roller brakes too, which I am a bit dubious about. It's a great city bike but not so good for the mountains!
Very easy to change the cog out on the rear to lower the total overall gearing. Roller brakes work just fine. I have them on my big city bike, a Redline R530, the bike fully loaded with me and groceries can top out close to 400# and the brakes bring me to a full stop just fine in all kinds of weather. Yes there are hills in Denmark, if you search Copenhagenize Blog he shows a Danish city that has some serious hills and still has a very high cycling share.

People in the US will spend large sums of money, but not on utility bicycles. Most people that see me riding and ask are flabbergasted that a bicycle can cost more than whatever they sell for at WM these days. Also our infrastructure doesn't lend itself well to the general public riding to and from places like grocery stores in many places.

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Old 01-02-13, 06:05 AM   #14
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I'm thinking the US equivlent would be a college campus. I'm sure that at least 80% of college campus bikes live outdoors year round too.

We get a lot of questions regarding what makes a good college campus bike. My advice has always been to get something that's semi-disposable so you don't have to worry excessively about weather or theft.
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Old 01-02-13, 10:13 AM   #15
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I do not believe it is the weight of the bikes that play a role in its popularity, or rather like of it, in the US. It is the mentality that you have to break through. Americans, for the most part are convenience addicts. There is a convenience store and a fast food place in nearly every corner in the cities. And the price of fuel, I believe, is the cheapest in the globe.
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Old 01-02-13, 12:14 PM   #16
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I just wish bike shops offered more bikes that came with things like chain cases and fenders.
About five years ago, I decided it was unlikely I'd win the Tour de France and I set a couple of bikes up for just riding, with fenders, fatter tires, taller stems and in one case a chain guard. It's easy to do on almost any bike (racers can be tricky to fit with fenders), and parts are readily available. No reason not to do it if that's what you want.
FWIW, my bikes have lived outdoors, under a patio cover but otherwise exposed, for many years with no ill effects except to the Brooks saddles, which I've occasionally forgotten to cover.

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Old 01-03-13, 06:31 PM   #17
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I just wish bike shops offered more bikes that came with things like chain cases .
And you can do your own bloody maintenance too!

I've had euro-style bikes come into my free bike clinic. Chain cases,IGH,roller brakes,sooo not fun. There's simply no excuse for rear wheel removal to be a full-on process involving multiple tools. At least with my Brompton I can fold it up and Metro it home.

You want your chain protected? Here. Tern uses the same wire conduit covering you can get from Home Depot. Put a little waterproof grease in there and you're good. And it doesn't require extra tools when you pull the rear wheel.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:38 PM   #18
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If all bikes were 60 lbs, I'd probably quit cycling.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:21 PM   #19
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If all bikes were 60 lbs, I'd probably quit cycling.
Maybe this might be one of the reasons bicycling didn't survive in this country. Schwinn made those very heavy "Speedsters" back in the 1970s that were high geared turning people off. Alot of bikes made back in the 60's and 70's were very high geared and yes, this can be resolved but most did not make any changes. The change they did make was in buying a car.

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Old 01-03-13, 10:27 PM   #20
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If all bikes were 60 lbs, I'd probably quit cycling.
+1

In reality it more than likely isn't the bike but rather the amount of infrastructure that will cause a greater increase, if ever, in the US.
I think, and it is only my opinion many people and newer riders need to spend a bit more time looking at the history of bicycles in the US and see if we were even exposed to Heavy bikes like they now see pictures in Europe, Holland and Denmark. Look at some of the bikes that were made by Columbia, Schwinn and Western Flyers by western Auto. Then ask those of us who rode and owned some of them how we feel that they stack up to even an average commuter bike offered by Giant, Trek, Jamis, Specialized or many others. Some of us remember those old bikes and wouldn't trade on of our new Hybrids, touring, race, MTB or even Beach Cruisers for one.

It isn't the difference between the bikes it is the difference between the people of the different nations. One is not better than the other they are different. I can remember when Davis California was a bike Mecca and when it had the infrastructure and support that made it that way. But even there cycling is falling off a bit even with the infrastructure. It is my opinion if we had more bikes like the Dutch Bikes we would have even fewer riders than we do today. If the best State in the Union according to the League of American Bicyclists is DC with 3.13 percent and the worst state is Arkansas at .06 percent I don't think we can afford the bet on 50 to 70 pound bikes as a solution.
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Old 01-04-13, 04:28 AM   #21
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And you can do your own bloody maintenance too!

I've had euro-style bikes come into my free bike clinic. Chain cases,IGH,roller brakes,sooo not fun. There's simply no excuse for rear wheel removal to be a full-on process involving multiple tools. At least with my Brompton I can fold it up and Metro it home.

You want your chain protected? Here. Tern uses the same wire conduit covering you can get from Home Depot. Put a little waterproof grease in there and you're good. And it doesn't require extra tools when you pull the rear wheel.
From what I gather in Copenhagen and Amsterdam there are many, many small cycle shops to take care of the maintenance. The bulk of my bikes have fenders, chain guards and IGH, a couple do have full chain cases. They aren't that difficult to change tires on or make adjustments, just require different methods and take a bit longer. With the current crop of kevlar belted tires I seldom have flats anymore.

Aaron
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Old 01-04-13, 07:29 AM   #22
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And you can do your own bloody maintenance too!

I've had euro-style bikes come into my free bike clinic. Chain cases,IGH,roller brakes,sooo not fun. There's simply no excuse for rear wheel removal to be a full-on process involving multiple tools. At least with my Brompton I can fold it up and Metro it home.

You want your chain protected? Here. Tern uses the same wire conduit covering you can get from Home Depot. Put a little waterproof grease in there and you're good. And it doesn't require extra tools when you pull the rear wheel.
My understanding is that a chain in a completely enclosed casing is fully greased and requires servicing only once per year. I can handle that. Course I'd recommend self sealing tubes and tires with flat protection cause the whole operation would be a lot like changing a flat on an ebike - a real PITA.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:30 AM   #23
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Thanks for the post. Sometimes we need reminding how fortunate we are to live where we do. I'm so grateful I live where folks that have bikes have them because they want them as opposed to having to have them. It's also a blessing to have a place to properly store and protect them. Sometimes its the small things in life that aren't so small afterall.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:02 AM   #24
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If all bikes were 60 lbs, I'd probably quit cycling.
I like light bikes as well as the next guy, but occasionally it occurs to me that many of us ride for exercise, so what difference do a few extra pounds make?
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Old 01-11-13, 12:33 AM   #25
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Thanks for the post. Sometimes we need reminding how fortunate we are to live where we do. I'm so grateful I live where folks that have bikes have them because they want them as opposed to having to have them. It's also a blessing to have a place to properly store and protect them. Sometimes its the small things in life that aren't so small afterall.
Who is "we" and where is it that "we" live???

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