This morning was the perfect mix of these little things that make me glad I ride my bike to work instead of going underground: blue sky, dry air, clean & not overcrowded paths. Sure it was -2 ℃ when I left home but it’s not that bad for mid-November up here.
Even though the weather forecast looks alright for the coming days I know it will get worse sooner or later. I probably won’t make it alive if I keep on riding slick summer tires so I got myself a second pair of wheels (I can’t be bothered to swap tires now and then through the winter, I’d rather have two sets ready and just swap wheels). I haven’t made my mind whether I’ll go for studded or non-studded cyclo-cross tires on the winter rims though. Any suggestions?
Since yesterday (November 8th, 2012) a new bicycle sharing system – Djurgårdscykeln – operated by JCDecaux & Kungliga Djurgårdsförvaltningen is running on Djurgården and is open 24/7 all year round.
The 50 available bikes are not part of the existing SVD Stockholm City Bikes network but can be used (for free) if you already got a City Bikes card or an active public transport (SL) access card. If you are like me and have neither of those cards you can opt for the 3 day access costing as little as 10 SEK.
There is currently one docking station located by Cirkus close to the main entrance to Skansen, the famous open air museum. You can rent a bike for 3 hours at a time and up to 8 times within 24 hours.
Since it seems to be nearly impossible to teach cab drivers how to drive and behave the Department of Transportation in New York City initiated a campaign to prevent (or at least reduce) doorings. 26,000 stickers are to be placed on the windows and doors of the city’s cabs to remind people to check for cyclists before they exit the vehicle.
I’ve stopped counting the number of times I had to ride on the road because of a taxi parked on the bike path unloading passengers: this happens pretty much each and every day (Skeppsbron would be the worst of all on my route). I sometimes stop by and try to talk to the drivers but, as if they knew they’re being stupids, they often just pretend not to see me or, even better, act like they know better and raise their voices.
Those “Look! For cyclists.” stickers (I read about then on londoncyclist.co.uk) might not solve the real problem but if they can just make people think twice before opening the door I think it’s worth the rather cheap investment. Do you think they should be put on Stockholm’s cabs? Or on all cars even?
I found that picture in the newspaper last Friday but unfortunately could not find the online version on DN.se.
Tommy Åberg was riding his bike on Blekingegatan (south of Stockholm) when he came to a police car parked on the bike lane. He thought something wrong was going on (like a robbery) at first and decided to have a quick look around. But the emergency seems to have been of a completely different nature: the law enforcers needed a little sugar kick and were just buying some candies.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with Södermalm. Either it’s in a different timezone than the rest of Stockholm and they don’t know we turned back the clock one hour for winter time (and forgot to reprogram the street lights) or the island was hit by Sandy on its way to the US and electricity has not returned yet but on thing is for sure: it’s pitch dark on Hornsgatan between Slussen and Mariatorget after 16:00. Below is what one could see from the saddle yesterday evening. Pretty much.
If you thought Stockholm was an idiot free city let me get this straight: you’re wrong.
The more bikes around in a city the more bike thefts & demolitions and – the cyclist in you will agree – there is nothing more annoying than not finding your bike where you left it in the morning or (and that’s maybe even worse) finding it smashed into pieces after a day at the office.
But even in an idiot free Stockholm a bike would not have a long life expectancy if it were to be outside 24/7. While it has a pretty easy life during summer, it has to deal with rain, snow, ice and salt most of the winter.
There’s fortunately some landlords that have sacrificed a couple of square meters from an indoor parking (basically the surface previously occupied by a single car) and built a parking for a dozen bikes instead.
I’m pretty lucky since my office is located in a building owned by such a landlord & I can leave my bike indoor behind a secured door during the day. One drawback though. Such a facility encourages people to cycle to work and the parking is often very crowded.
I’ve been on and off my beach cruiser since 2006 until it got stolen last summer in front of the house and I was facing a not so difficult choice: go on with a public transport pass for 790 SEK a month (120 USD) or get a new bike.
I chose the latter and bought myself a rather cheap – I did not know if that was really what I wanted – fixed gear bike. Almost four months later, still alive, I enjoy my daily commute (9 kilometers one way) to work a little more every day and thought I could share my experience with you who are reading these lines.
Stockholm is one of those cities where you can very easily go from A to B on a bike and like 150,000 other cyclists I just can’t stand the subway anymore (I’m not even talking about riding a car).
From beautiful and easy rides in the summer to freezing cold and slippery roads in the winter, welcome to Stockholm, Sweden.