I cycle to work every day. More often than not, I see more bicycles than I see cars on my way. Probably this is due to the fact that the time I ride to work, is after the initial morning rush hour. Even so, it’s still pretty good for a capital.
Mostly there are only benefits to this Copenhagen cycling culture, the most important of all being that Mother Nature really enjoys the lack of fumes.
On the other hand, it’s not a very clever or intelligent culture. In fact, most people riding bicycles in Copenhagen act like mindless drones.
On the off chance that you, the reader, are a bicyclist in Copenhagen / Denmark, please keep the following in mind for your next ride.
Five Pieces of Advice for Riding Bicycles
- Obey the most basic of laws
Red light means “stay put”. Green light means “go”. The light is there for a reason. If you think you can get where you need to be faster by crossing the red light, you’re probably wrong. Street lights are usually synchronized, so all light posts in the same direction are green at the same time. Crossing the red light will most likely just get you to another red light.
- Slow bicyclists, know your place
There are few things that annoy me more than slow bicyclists that mindlessly stay in the fast lane. I’m not allowed to pass you by on the inner lane, so you’re effectively blocking the way for that growing column behind you. Pull in, for the love of god, pull in!
- Don’t smoke while cycling
I generally don’t mind people smoking. But I do mind it if they’re smoking while riding their bikes. Especially if they’re blocking your way like #2. First, there’s the why: Why not wait till you’re where you need to be? Are the cravings really that bad? Surely the enjoyment must be better at point B? Then there’s the how: How can you breathe smoke, while riding a bike? Some air must be needed in those busy lungs somewhere?
- Scooters, you’re not all powerful
Some scooters drive on the same part of the sidewalk that is reserved for us cyclists. Most of them think “hey, I’m on a scooter, I’m faster than all of these morons”, and expect the fast lane to be their property. I shouldn’t have to overtake them from the inner lane, just to demonstrate their weak ratio of acceleration. If you must use the cycle lane, atleast follow the same rules we do. That means #1 and #2.
- Look for the cyclist green light
In Copenhagen, most larger crossroads have special light posts just for cyclists. They’re just like the normal red/green light posts, except they’re smaller. They commonly turn green in advance of the large light posts, yet cyclists that have problems with #1 usually don’t know this. That means an unnecessary wait for those of us who do.
Did I miss anything?
In a few days, I will be moving away from the part of Copenhagen that is known as "Vesterbro". While I am looking forward to this, it also represents the end of an era. Thus, Noscope October is dedicated to the fond, and not so fond memories I have of life at Vesterbro.
While Vesterbro is in a constant state of change, it does represent "classic Copenhagen". It's got the pulsing energy of city life, a diverse sub culture, but also whores, hustlers and drug-addicts.
I have come home from work many times, only to ask a few people on my doorstep to please have their fixes elsewhere. I cannot count how many times I've gone to pickup my bike to the smell of someone who just marked his territory. I have seen many tragic cases, many struggles and many fights.
Those are the not so fond memories.
Yet, it is not without a sense of genuine sadness, that I move from Vesterbro to Amager, in a few days. It's hard to put a finger on what exactly it is I like about this place. The memories? Perhaps. The sounds? Unlikely. The smells? Not bloody likely.
In fact, it's pretty hard to explain why at all, one would miss my part of Vesterbro. So I have created these pictures, to try and tell the story.
I have focused on capturing the sense of a summer nearing its end. The kind of special melancholic feeling that allows for a precious, yet terribly sad memory.
Other images of Vesterbro
While I am unsure as to whether I succeeded graphically this month, I am satisfied that I was able to focus on the fond memories. This is quite unlike the time I moved, from Nykøbing Falster to Vesterbro in May 2002. My "4800 nykøbing" Installment was definitely focused on the negative memories, and was almost sarcastic in its expression.
Soon after my moving to Vesterbro, my interest in the big city was sparked. This resulted in "1701 cph v". Rough edgy pictures that pretty much represented my emotionally tumultuous state at that time. Yet the imagery from 1701 cph v was distinctly more positive than 4800 nykøbing.
March 2004 would again use imagery from Vesterbro, this time packaged in an almost comically sugar sweet packaging. The "Happyjoy Issue" would show warm pictures from around the Copenhagen lakes (which is near, and part of Vesterbro), but also an intentionally shrouded picture if Istedgade, the main street for prostitutes to hang out on.
I hope that by making these images, I can save not only the pictures, but also the emotions and memories of a place, in some form of time-capsule I can revisit when I grow old.
The beautiful musical track is called "Bones", and was composed for the 4800 nykøbing installment. It is composed by Kate, and can be downloaded on her project page. While not part of her band Melusine's The Aqua Path, that CD does contain more ambient music, and is definitely worthy of purchase. Make it yours for 10 USD (+ shipping) at cdbaby.com.
I started Noscope March around the 25th of february, with the idea of making movie posters I could submit to sites such as www.bloodforoil.org, or the likes.
I made one poster, which came out ok. You can see the poster here.
But I got so depressed when making it, that I took a walk and took some photos. The "Happyjoy Issue" is what came out of it. Something easy and pleasant to look at, with lots of sugar on top.
Such things are good for the eyes.
The music is by Kate, (www.n-heptane.com). You can download the song here.
The cryptic title refers to where I live now, and where these pictures are from. The intention, while making these images, was to create a strong connection to my May 2002 issue, "4800 nykøbing", where I lived at that time. The difference would mainly be that May 2002 was about leaving a place, this issue is about settling a place.