a Monday in Hell

Not much bicycle riding in the last few days as I had to stay home with a sick child and the only cycling in the saddle activity I managed to squeeze in was a round trip to the Bicycle Film Festival Greatest Hits on Friday evening. Upon arrival at Arkitektur- och designcentrum I was greeted by an american man smoking a cigarette just outside the building. “Hi, what’s your name?” – “I’m Pierre.” – “Where are you from?” – “I’m from France.” – “Where in France?” – “I was born in Roubaix but…” – “Really? I’m working on a film about Paris-Roubaix. My name is Brendt Barbur by the way. Founder of the Bicycle Film Festival”.

We talked for a while and when Brendt asked me, the amateur cyclist born in Roubaix, whether I had watched a Sunday in Hell or not, I did not really know how to answer and after something like “euhhh…. yes… maybe… no” I had to admit to being a bad student coming to the festival rather unprepared.

I had seen some of the movies of the greatest hits already but some were new to me and the two hour program felt way shorter than it was. The evening ended with Lucas Brunelle’s Off The Grid but even though I know he’s a regular contributor to the Bicycle Film Festival (I respect that) and his movies quiet exciting to watch I still don’t see the point of glorifying reckless riding and, furthermore, still don’t understand the whole meditation and metaphysical bullshit the guy can come up with for a full 20 minutes.

I rode home through hipstermalm and somehow managed to stay on the bike despite all the drunks and taxis using the bike lane for everything but cycling and suddenly it’s Monday. I have the whole day for myself and decide it’s time to work on the fundamentals. I have to watch a Sunday in Hell or I can’t keep blogging about cycling and tell people I’m from Roubaix each time the Queen of the Classics pops up in a discussion. And so I did just that. I just enjoyed a Monday in Hell.

“bike”, an exhibition with and about the bicycle

bikes, an exhibition with and about the bicycle

On June 19, the architecture and design center (located next to the Museum of Modern Art) will open an exhibition with and about the bicycle. The bike and cycling are highlighted here as pages in the history of design and culture, as design objects, as lifelong companions and as an opportunity for urban planning, faced as it now is with an urgent need of redirection. The exhibition will close on October 5.

During that period several side events will be organized such as:

  • Tuesdays in July from 5pm to 8pm: bicycle-themed after work at Café Blom
  • August 3 to October 5: family Sundays from 1pm to 3pm (make bike accessories for yourself or your bike)
  • July 5, August 6 & October 4: bike before breakfast from 6am to 9am (bike out in the early morning and discover the architecture of Stockholm together with a guide)
  • August 13, 15, 30 & September 6, 13, 20, 27 & October 4: biking academy from 1pm to 3pm (learn how to ride safely in traffic, for kids)
  • August 12 to 16: culture festival (make bike accessories for yourself or your bike
  • September 2: cycle cities (a seminar ont the sustainable and bike-friendly cities of the future)
  • October 3 & 4: film festival (movies, bike and fun)
  • In June, August & September, Tuesdays from 4pm to 7pm & Sundays from 12am to 5pm: bring your bike and learn how to repair it

For a more detailed program please visit http://www.arkdes.se/articles/cykel (only in Swedish but Google Translate is your friend).

I will be late!

That would be the subject of the email I sent to my boss together with a picture of my bike upside down – the rear wheel laying on the pavement – this morning as I stood in windy & chilly Stockholm in front of the first flat tire of 2012 (with the fixie).

I could have had a flat on a worse location but the view over Skeppsholmen and Kastelllholmen did not really ease the frustration when, all pieces apart, I realized I did not bring the right spare tube with me (the vent on the one I had in the bag was just too short for the high profile rim).

I will be late

Hands covered with a sticky mixture of dust and chain lube I mounted everything back together and was considering my two options: I could leave the bike there and pick it up in the evening (if it were to be found) or I could push the bike on the last 2 kilometers to the office.

I chose the latter and made it to the door in half an hour or so just to realize I had forgotten my card to the building. I finally makes my way in after a call to the receptionist and heads to the bathroom for a thorough “clean this oily mess” session when it hits me: “I forgot my lunchbox at home!” (lunchboxing is another very important sport in Sweden – probably as popular as ice Hockey – but that’s off topic).

It took me one hour and fifteen minutes from home to the office (when it usually takes around 20 minutes) so yes it definitely was the worse morning I ever had commuting by bike to work. But now that everything is fixed (new tube and new tires but I will write about that in a coming post) I must say that I can’t wait to ride tomorrow morning. Who says I’m a masochist?