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Utrecht’s Vredenburg is the busiest cycle path in all of the Netherlands

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Utrecht’s Vredenburg is the busiest cycle path in all of the Netherlands

Old 06-06-19, 08:28 AM
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on the M25 this isn't so easy and one is really stuck.

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Old 06-06-19, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Disagree. In a car and on a motorway one can't stop.

On foot or on a bike one is in control of one's destiny even in the London tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxfX2Y9og8E

One can get out by just standing next to the wall as the trains come every 90 sec, which is unbelievable really.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ0zk4MWCQY&t=178s
Hordes of people!!! Oh the claustrophobia!!!

Seriously, though. I'd rather be stuck in car traffic in a car with a comfy reserved seat, climate control, and the radio playing what I want to listen to than stand up on public transport like a vertical sardine. Been there and done that, as they say.

At least the heavy bicycling traffic would be much more enjoyable than standing in a subway car. Out in the fresh air and in control of my own vehicle as it were.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I also think there is an important distinction being missed by many posters in this thread.

That's being a tourist and cycling around and living there and actually commuting with such infrastructure. These are totally different.
You keep saying that. You are wrong. I suppose it makes you feel better...”superior”...which is okay but you are still wrong. I’ve been to many, many, many places that I’ve never been to before and I don’t have to live there for years and years before I know how traffic works.

There are a lot of commenters saying that it's not nirvana and it's too busy. When I first moved to Stockholm, then Copenhagen, I would have agreed. However, after a few weeks. It makes a huge amount of sense. A quick handdrop and I get on/off the cycleways and do all my shopping. It's actually super nice.
What you are really getting wrong is that the commentators aren’t the problem. The commentators are warning people who have never been that those cities aren’t the cycling nirvana that they think it is.

Coming from commuting in Maine and Texas where it's a barren wasteland for commuting (with the exception of Austin), it's bliss and it makes a huge amount of sense.
What makes Maine and Texas a wasteland of commuting? There are roads there. There might not be protected bikepaths everywhere but I’m not a fan of those kinds of paths...either in the US or Europe. Commuting where there aren’t 30,000 people per day doing it really is the cycling nirvana that people are looking for. Think of it this way: would you rather drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic or drive an open road? European cities with high bicycle commuter counts are much more like the former while that “wasteland of commuting (all of the US in your mind) is the latter.

However, I can appreciate that Midwesterners here stating that it's too hectic in those videos. I think they'd get used to if they gave it a shot in earnest or actually needed it to commute on a day-in/day-out basis. Thus, I can't really hold it against the people in thread without the proper experience.
Nice dig there. Why didn’t you just call us “hayseeds”. Many of us have far more experience than you do. As for “getting used to it”, yes, we could but why? I can “get used” to bumper-to-bumper car traffic as well. It doesn’t mean I would actually like it.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:41 AM
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People left Europe and settled in the New World for many reasons. Pretty sure crowded bike lanes was high on the list.

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Old 06-06-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
They have had years of practice, also if they're from the countryside. It's not ruled by formal rules (cycling side by side is allowed btw @cyccommute), it's more like swarm behaviour and overthinking it doesn't help.
Cycling side-by-side is allowed by whom? If there are no formal rules (confirming what I saw in Amsterdam), then anything is allowed. But informal rules of just plain politeness says that you shouldn’t be riding side-by-side on a narrow path with lots of on-coming traffic or overtaking traffic. It might be okay (but still rude) if there were 10% of that traffic on that path. But on a crowded pathway, simple courtesy would dictate that you ride single file.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
People left Europe and settled in the New World for many reasons. Pretty sure crowded bike lanes was high on the list.
I always wondered why paintings of the Mayflower didn't show any bicycles on board. Bunch of anti-cyclists on that boat, I'm sure.

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Old 06-06-19, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I always wondered why paintings of the Mayflower didn't show any bicycles on board. Bunch of anti-cyclists on that boat, I'm sure.

Interesting mix of people for sure:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...wer_passengers

I wouldn't mind being trapped in a pub with them for the evening.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Sorry, that was a generalisation. Probably not a good one either. In the end, I feel like Utrecht doesn't have the tourist pull of AMS. (To be honest, I actually hate AMS due to the tourists but end up going occasionally.) I have some collaborators at UU in biophysics, which is extremely strong. I like the city quite a bit but it doesn't have that capital feel, which is nice in some ways and not nice in others.
True, it has absolutely no capital feel, it was the most important city when the country was still very unimportant, contrary to Amsterdam. Nothing much happened to it afterwards so it has that medieval cozyness and scale in the old parts. It's a bit odd in the sense that it's almost only there for itself and doesn't have much of a centre function to a region like most of the considerably smaller and bigger cities. But it's nr 4 of the big 4, it's substantially bigger than nr 5 to 10, so I guess it's got a very big population for how much city it is. The UU is one the biggest universities but the ones of Leiden en Groningen are simular in size and there's not much difference in quality or how respected they are, but they are not equally important in every field of research. I believe Utrecht has a reputation on things with the prefix bio more than most others. My uncle was a genetics scientist, and after a PhD in Cambridge Utrecht was the place to go, that I remember. All that cycling doesn't help for the capital feel either, most of Amsterdam doesn't have it either. I usually get a capital feel from wide lanes and huge appartement blocks leading up to the centre of power, where buildings and monuments are a constant reminder of the power and the glory of the state, which just isn't very Dutch I guess.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Cycling side-by-side is allowed by whom? If there are no formal rules (confirming what I saw in Amsterdam), then anything is allowed. But informal rules of just plain politeness says that you shouldn’t be riding side-by-side on a narrow path with lots of on-coming traffic or overtaking traffic. It might be okay (but still rude) if there were 10% of that traffic on that path. But on a crowded pathway, simple courtesy would dictate that you ride single file.
It's allowed by law. Technically under the condition that you don't impede other road users but that's translated to moving over or making space when the cyclist behind rings his bell. Informal rules and plain politeness say you can't just ride as fast as you want where it's busy. Side by side allows for more traffic to flow through, it's a bit like the Autobahn, you're allowed to drive 300 km/h but you're not entitled to, it comes with the situation. The situation on parts of the commute is that others want to get to their destination too and they would all be slowed down if they accomodated the fastest riders.

Where I live there's less cars and buses than in Utrecht and Amsterdam and less cycle paths in the city centre because of that. People often ride with 3 next to eachother, depending on the nature of their conversation. It's impolite to shut one out of the conversation just because you're cycling.

Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I always wondered why paintings of the Mayflower didn't show any bicycles on board. Bunch of anti-cyclists on that boat, I'm sure.

They left the Netherlands because it was too liberal, so that adds up.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post

They left the Netherlands because it was too liberal, so that adds up.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:53 AM
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I grew up in NYC where everything is congested. I was glad to move out to New Jersey and start commuting by car. But before long, I learned that the freedom was an illusion, and it's more irritating than taking public transit. One thing that got on my nerves the most was that the danger to life and property is much greater in a car. When someone does something stupid or inconsiderate, it is a potential wreck or injury or death. Not so on the subway.

I've been on crowded subways and in motor traffic and bike traffic and even foot traffic. All forms can be irritating, but I'd rather be irritated on a bike than anywhere else.
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Old 06-06-19, 11:01 AM
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i wonder where this person got his busiest bikepath in netherlands numbers, admittedly i did not watch the whole vid but for the minute i saw it didn't look like anything above your average bikepath traffic in any dutch city.

as for some comments i read while skimming through thread i'll do give some answers per topic.

ebikes: someone mentioned ebikes and commuting speed looking slower than em. for the past couple of years ebikes have been getting more and more popular specially in the 50+ population. they tend to usually ride at the lower end of their ebike speed capacity, as i tend to pass em pretty often.

clothing: There isn't a mentality of taking extra clothing for your commute here, you just do some math as to how long it will take you to get to work at a pace were you won't overheat/sweat and leave home at appropriate time.

dropbars: dropbar commuting is pretty rare most just take their dutch style "omafiets" with basket and rack to throw their stuff in/on. that said take any weekend or after office hours just outside any city center and you will see tons of people fully kitted on roadbikes riding solo or in groups.

helmets: helmets are very rarely used here specially when commuting. it is mostly the realm of those fully kitted individuals riding for fun and exercise after working hours.

riding behaviour/traffic: there is a simple rule here, hear a bell or scooter horn and merge to the right to let them pass. most of the time you are riding along path with at least one person you know so you end up just chatting and biking side by side until whoever is on left hears a bell and merges momentarily. not that hard really. as for the person sayign about amsterdam biking being nerve wrecking, withing a radius of 2 km from central station to the south., will be the busiest bike paths you will find. lots of delivery guys on scooters in a hurry, lots of tourists being completely overwhelmed and lots of people breaking some sort of rule to get to where they need to be faster. i find it pretty fun to be honest. if you need to pull over put your hand out signalling you are pullign over to warn whoever is behind you and it's all good. and do not pull over to keep your bike on bikepath whiel you stand and search google maps, then you're just being a dick. hop on to sidewalk and check your maps then hop back in bikepath.
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Old 06-07-19, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by phile View Post
.
what do you think at the VanMoof? I saw a few in person and they looked nice but more design than function. was I wrong? The pricepoint for the basic model was OK at around €700 w/MwSt.
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Old 06-07-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
what do you think at the VanMoof? I saw a few in person and they looked nice but more design than function. was I wrong? The pricepoint for the basic model was OK at around €700 w/MwSt.
i have abused it for going on 2 years and have no complaints. there is a chain of long stay hotels aimed at students here that use em as their bike that comes with every room. basic model, has zero complaints.
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Old 06-07-19, 01:05 PM
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I see a lot of VanMoofs in my neighborhood. They look like more design than function, but I really don't know.
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Old 06-07-19, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by phile View Post
i have abused it for going on 2 years and have no complaints. there is a chain of long stay hotels aimed at students here that use em as their bike that comes with every room. basic model, has zero complaints.
My CrossCheck has a chain of long stay as well, I hear the LHT has chains of even longer stays
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Old 06-09-19, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
what do you think at the VanMoof? I saw a few in person and they looked nice but more design than function. was I wrong? The pricepoint for the basic model was OK at around €700 w/MwSt.
I like the look of their mixte and I like what they were claiming to do, basically they wanted to rethink and redesign the practical Dutch urban bike, but I doubt they succeeded.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I see a lot of VanMoofs in my neighborhood. They look like more design than function, but I really don't know.
Just noticed one of these in my building bike rack. Should be interesting to see how much it ends up getting used.

(That said, people probably think I don't ride very often, because they probably don't realize I have 3 bikes on the racks, plus another 2 in my apartment...)
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Old 06-11-19, 05:55 AM
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When I first moved to Atlanta in the 90's the traffic was almost overwhelming but after a few days driving in it I quickly figured out how to blend in and do the same illegal moves all the thousands around me were doing and became more comfortable driving in it. I would imagine if I found myself riding in a city like Utrecht I'd see the same feeling and adjustment period.

That said, I don't enjoy crowds like that so I don't think I would enjoy that aspect of the ride but from other videos I've seen about their network of trails I would enjoy that type of riding.

My city seems to be slowly trying to turn themselves into a version of the Netherlands. We now have over 120 roundabouts and more on the way which moves traffic really well. There are several roads that are getting "Road Diets" and they are adding in some protected bike lanes all be it very short in duration. The other big investment has been in our MUP's. We know have over 200 miles worth and I think another 10 miles worth are being built this summer. I primarily use the MUP's for recreational rides and my bike commute to work.

I have seen an increase in riding more for pleasure than commuting but still its an increase. With the development of our new city center the primary section of the MUP that runs through that area is also getting a major makeover and it will be interesting to see how the mix of bikes, pedestrians and scooter/inline skaters blend.

The big argument that always starts this time of your around here are the drivers who complain about cyclist riding on the roads and not the MUP's. I just know that my riding has increased dramatically due to the network of trails we have. Last year I started to bike commute because of the improvements allowing me a safe way to get to and from without really having to be on the roads since I only go around a 12 mph pace.
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Old 06-11-19, 06:07 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I like the look of their mixte and I like what they were claiming to do, basically they wanted to rethink and redesign the practical Dutch urban bike, but I doubt they succeeded.
It's a design specimen really. I usually saw them around design stores in European capitals but never saw them in the wild. They look cool and the pricepoint is cheap for a capital dweller.
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Old 06-11-19, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
It's a design specimen really. I usually saw them around design stores in European capitals but never saw them in the wild. They look cool and the pricepoint is cheap for a capital dweller.
I believe the idea behind the design was to show sturdiness, simplicity and practicality in it's shapes. The design kind of works in showing what it's about. They claimed to make a Dutch city bike but that's probably more for international marketing where their real aim is. I've seen a quite a few older ones and they don't look like they will last very long. They went a bit over the top with the tech features at least once so I don't know about the simplicity. In practicality they seem to have some good ideas, like a space for a chain lock and the brake cables tugged close to the frame (cables are vulnerable in tight and busy bicycle racks), but they also lack things like a full chain case, a truly upright position and interchangeability of parts and accessoires also helps after a while. Maybe that's why the older ones look so bad.
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Old 06-12-19, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I believe the idea behind the design was to show sturdiness, simplicity and practicality in it's shapes. The design kind of works in showing what it's about. They claimed to make a Dutch city bike but that's probably more for international marketing where their real aim is. I've seen a quite a few older ones and they don't look like they will last very long. They went a bit over the top with the tech features at least once so I don't know about the simplicity. In practicality they seem to have some good ideas, like a space for a chain lock and the brake cables tugged close to the frame (cables are vulnerable in tight and busy bicycle racks), but they also lack things like a full chain case, a truly upright position and interchangeability of parts and accessoires also helps after a while. Maybe that's why the older ones look so bad.
that integrated lock space thing was cancelled out quite awhile ago. i see a lot of those older models around and found it interesting. from what i've seen the brand pretty much focuses on their e bikes now and have the non electric counterparts as simple models to corporate clients. ( the student hotel, tommy hilfiger, etc)

the proprietary accessories is a paint though. had to pay around 80 euros for my front rack.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:31 PM
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I spent 5 days in Copenhagen. I was too intimidated to use a bicycle. In the center, it's a highway with seemingly lots of unwritten rules about passing, signaling, etc. As a tourist it would have been chaos, not knowing where I'm going. The cyclists all had agendas and destinations while I would have just been going haphazardly and interfering with the locals.

I will try next time though.
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Old 06-19-19, 03:45 AM
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@zenolee I hear what you're saying... it's a bit like being a straggling tourist on the sidewalks in New York or Tokyo you're gonna piss of a lot of more proficient pedestrians... when you're in a busy space where people conduct their daily lives, as you describe certain behaviour is expected and you learn to read the flow. By all means everyone don't adhere to the customs in CPH, but trust that they're frowned upon as well. Here's a basic rundown: A complete guide to bicycle etiquette in Copenhagen. ...it's really not too challenging - as a rule of thumb, if you keep to the side and remember to signal before you suddenly stop - you'll probably do okay. Those of us who go fast are very used to slow and or inexperienced bikers in our city... out of pure self interest we'll avoid collisions just fine

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Old 06-19-19, 09:25 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by zenolee View Post
I spent 5 days in Copenhagen. I was too intimidated to use a bicycle. In the center, it's a highway with seemingly lots of unwritten rules about passing, signaling, etc. As a tourist it would have been chaos, not knowing where I'm going. The cyclists all had agendas and destinations while I would have just been going haphazardly and interfering with the locals.

I will try next time though.
Careful there or you’ll have some guy come along and tell you that you are an embittered old man who only wants to be a hermit who also knows nothing about bicycling because you haven’t ridden in enough countries.

Originally Posted by nuxx View Post
@zenolee I hear what you're saying... it's a bit like being a straggling tourist on the sidewalks in New York or Tokyo you're gonna piss of a lot of more proficient pedestrians... when you're in a busy space where people conduct their daily lives, as you describe certain behaviour is expected and you learn to read the flow. By all means everyone don't adhere to the customs in CPH, but trust that they're frowned upon as well. Here's a basic rundown: A complete guide to bicycle etiquette in Copenhagen. ...it's really not too challenging - as a rule of thumb, if you keep to the side and remember to signal before you suddenly stop - you'll probably do okay. Those of us who go fast are very used to slow and or inexperienced bikers in our city... out of pure self interest we'll avoid collisions just fine
The problem isn’t the bicycle traffic, necessarily, but the way in which people romanticize places like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, or just those countries in general. Just as you wouldn’t classify New York and Tokyo as “walking nirvana”, you shouldn’t necessarily classify those places as “cycling nirvanas”. Yes, there are a lot of bikes and a lot of bicycle infrastructure but that’s part of the problem...a very large part.

To be clear, I’m not saying to not ride there but you should go with your eyes open and informed. It takes nerves of steel and not a small amount of skill to ride in those kinds of crowds, especially if you aren’t used to riding in those kinds of crowds. In my experience, few people who are used to riding in the US...and those who consider these places to be cycling nirvanas...are used to riding in that kind of traffic.
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Old 06-19-19, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Just as you wouldn’t classify New York and Tokyo as “walking nirvana”, you shouldn’t necessarily classify those places as “cycling nirvanas”.
In a metropolitan context I would totally classify New York (at least Lower Manhattan where I did most of the walking) as a walking nirvana... just as CPH is easily bicycle-commuting heaven compared to pretty much any other +2mil metropolitan area.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Yes, there are a lot of bikes and a lot of bicycle infrastructure but that’s part of the problem...a very large part.
That's a bit of an absurd statement to me, you'll need to elaborate.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
To be clear, I’m not saying to not ride there but you should go with your eyes open and informed. It takes nerves of steel and not a small amount of skill to ride in those kinds of crowds, if you aren’t used to riding in those kinds of crowds. In my experience, few people who are used to riding in the US...
It is a little amusing to witness this alarmist framing of biking in Copenhagen and other urban centres with similarly developed biking cultures. Kids 7-8 years of age are biking to school daily on the very lanes you are describing as essentially hazardous. Granted these kids may well have greater intuition for this kind of traffic than someone whose experience is limited to being a lonely enthusiast rider in an otherwise automotive landscape... nevertheless I have to cry hyperbole here. If your ambition is to drive fast, then yes - I'd say some experience with the flow of mass bicycle traffic is certainly warranted... but anyone can fairly safely plug into the flow at moderate speeds around 15kmph. Highly inexperienced tourists constantly do so... not gracefully... and also annoyingly to natives like me... but generally harmlessly.

The bigger problem by far are these new electric mini scooters and the insurgence of electrical bike ownership propelling senior citizens to speeds of 25kmph they otherwise would never reach, nor are cognitively equipped to handle... "fortunately" they're usually themselves the primary victims when things go wrong.

Bottomline, as a native Copenhagen'er who has lived in several major cities I disagree with your "romanticising" comment; living with cycling culture as second nature and a ubiquitous affordance throughout society is an absolutely immense quality of life factor essentially prohibiting me from living longer periods mostly anywhere else at this stage. In the past I've lived in Vancouver, St. Petersburg and London... where inevitably after some time withdrawal symptoms set in followed by claustrophobia simply because motorized traffic dominates life. It's a freedom we take for granted here, that you immediately notice losing in other urban locations, with a resulting sense of existential constriction.

Last edited by nuxx; 06-19-19 at 11:20 AM.
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