Summer is over, blogging can start again!
In the beginning of the Summer we spent a couple of weeks in Stockholm and Copenhagen, both example cities when it comes to quality of life, public space and well-being.
Copenhagen struck me the most, thanks to its fantastic cycle lanes, infrastructure and places to innovate, dine, drink and hang out. We were lucky to get some insider tips from my good friend Kristoffer, that helped a lot!
Still, I often hear from people that "Copenhagen is great, it's the cycling walhalla". Suddenly, even car freaks start to enjoy cycling. The natural reflex, even from tourists, is to leave their car at home and to cycle multiple kilometers in the city, even when it rains! For them, it's almost a tourist attraction to see all those Danes cycle day in day out.
That brings me to the most critical point: policy makers in Copenhagen have designed their city on the human scale. It's not 'Disneyland', it's not made like this because cycling is 'fun'. No, the city serves its citizens, with fantastic parks, places to swim, streets where kids can play and cycle lanes that almost hug you as a result.
Once home, tourists get back in their cars and tell each other that they had a great cycling holiday. Point final. The car life continues. And you cannot blame them. Since our policy makers have made it so difficult to cycle that you are still considered to be a lunatic when you tell them you "came by bike". Company cars, terrible infrastructure, non-visionary politicians, .... It's a dangerous, conservative cocktail that needs to be served in the gutter for once and for all.
The potential to get people on a bike exists, you just have to provide them with the luxury that they encounter in 'cycling city' Copenhagen. Simply waiting for thousands of daredevils who take the streets of Brussels (and Flanders & Wallonia) is a bit too optimistic, I believe...