the bike snob abroad

Eben Weiss is the blogger behind, a massively popular cycling blog, so if you are a two-wheeled commuter (without an engine obviously) and haven’t heard about him yet you probably should pay a visit to his blog right now, read some and come back here when you’re done. You have 5 to 10 minutes (you don’t have to read back to 2007). I’ll wait for you here.

The Bike Snob Trilogy

Now that you’ve formed your own opinion I can say I don’t really enjoy the blog myself. I actually don’t read it anymore as I find the posts too cluttered to even be readable. But Eben Weiss is not only a blogger but also a book writer and his books are just brilliant.

I read his first two books a couple of months ago and really enjoyed them despite the fact they picture life as a bike commuter in New York City (and in the U.S. in general) which sometimes (but not always) is pretty far from my local experience. And then comes the third book. The Bike Snob is going abroad and is visiting Sweden! Alright Eben Weiss did not actually spend time in Stockholm and went to Gothenburg instead but it still counts for something doesn’t it?

Long story short (I don’t want to spoil anyone) it was just very pleasant to read his experience as a father on parental leave who takes his young kid for rides. Since I plan to do exactly the same (take time off when I get a kid and take him or her for bike rides) Eben Weiss could not better describe the things I am very much looking forward to. His experiences in Gothenburg, London and Amsterdam are entertaining too and pretty close to mine.

Bike Snob Abroad: Strange Customs, Incredible Fiets, and the Quest for Cycling Paradise (see the cycling bicycle books page) is “a fierce and entertaining critic” (as The New York Times puts it) and I can only agree. Whether you are a bike commuter or not, you live in Sweden or not, it’s a book you should read but if you’re a bike commuter and live in Sweden, it’s a book you must read.

I doubt you will ever read this Mister Weiss but if you do this is an invitation to Stockholm for you and your little family. I can’t pay for the flights but would be happy to host, put some fun between your legs (it sounds scary I know but we’re actually talking bikes here) and give you a tour.

The previous books of the “trilogy” are Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling (also listed on the cycling books page) and The Enlightened Cyclist: Commuter Angst, Dangerous Drivers, and Other Obstacles on the Path to Two-Wheeled Transcendence (see also on the books about cycling bikes list).

bike lanes network gets 250 million Swedish kronor upgrade

As more and more people choose to commute by bike the city of Stockholm needed to revisit the relatively low investments made in the cycling infrastructures over the past few years (decades?).

Even if Stockholm is a rather nice city for bike commuters some had to leave the bike home (long before the winter came and commuting by bike became a real challenge) because of overcrowded lanes (150,000 cyclists every day) and the risks it might mean for someone who is not use to handle a bike just like another part of the body.

Long story short, the Committee on Transportation will go through a first 246 million Swedish kronor (38 million U.S. dollars) batch of improvements and initiatives next week out of the 1 billion Swedish kronor (157 million U.S. dollars) budget set aside for cycling infrastructures.

new bike lanes on the horizon

Stockholm’s cycling network is getting major attention right now (Lilla Västerbron, Kymlingestråket, Perstorpsvägen and Flatenvägen are first on the list and planned for 2013) and will develop together with other big projects and changes in Stockholm’s landscape (Slussen and Hagastaden for instance).

All of that sounds good to my bike commuter ears but there is no such thing as a free lunch and here’s the catch.

Stockholm will gradually become a better and safer city for cycling. But it will eventually get crowded in many places and we just can’t make bridges wider for instance.” – Ulla Hamilton, traffic commissioner

This post is my own interpretation of this article published in Dagens Nyheter on January 30, 2013.