18 Dec 2009

Talking to Mikael… some more!

Posted by Mike Rubbo

Where to go with Australian urban cycling?

This is our second interview with Mikael Colville-Andersen.

I asked my friend, Violeta Brana Lafourcade, a videographer, to go to Copenhagen to see if she could get an interview with the famous Danish blogger. See his blog

Here’s Violeta

Violeta better
Photo by Julio Martínez Aniceto

Interestingly, Mikael got chided for his stylish glasses in the previous movie Violeta and I posted of him. The Guy from Cycle Chic.

This is the  first film with Mikael. The second, Talking with Mikael,  is below

Violeta seems to like equally fashionable specs. But she was only glimpsed in our first movie, no charming glasses visible, and so copped no heat.

I think they both look great, personally.

I was excoriated too in that review. My narration style was described as coming from to a sort of “leering guy”

You’ll note, there’s no narration in this movie. Just a co incidence, I assure you!

Mikael says things here which can be useful to those of us fighting battles for better urban cycling in far worse conditions than Copenhagen.

He offers telling arguments to use on politicians, and pays compliments to the humour with which the Dutch promote their superb cycling culture.

You’ll see a thanks to David Hembrow, whose blog, View from the Cycle path, is a wealth of information about what makes Dutch bike culture so effective and safe, Infrastructure, says David..

Here’s David on a bike path near Assen where he lives.This pic best sells the joys of sit-up cycling, the theme of this blog.

V david hembrow, 400

Mikael ends the film clip on a theme with which David would completely agree, the foolishness of heavy helmet promotion.

Helmet laws tend to allow disinterested Governments to stay away from where the real cycle safety is (abeit expensively) and that’s under the wheels, not on the head.

The sooner we can get our elected officials over their helmetoid fixatis, the better.

In Holland , there’s not a helmet in sight on anyone, even on kids, and yet the cycle injury rate is the lowest in the world.

Denmark by contrast, is creeping into helmet land, something Mikael feels is a mistake

Picking up on what Mikael says, We should offer a deal to our Australian politicians , a deal and a challenge.

You build the bike ways, preferably separated, and we’ll make sure they are ridden to achieve the savings Mikael identifies.

Moreover, we’ll reduce the 58 billion you’ll spend on obesity each year.

Lastly, the fiasco at Copenahagen shows that climate change can’t be achieved top down.

As James Schwartz aptly put it on his blog, Urban Country in a Canadian image, you have the captain of the hockey team making decisions, calling plays, but it’s the guys on the ice who make the game.

We are the guys on the ice. Climate change happens or doesn’t happen because of us.

There is no better way to engage a population in the drama, the crisis of climate change , than to start with their transport habits.

As we all know from our personal lives, so much transport is pure restlessness, that endless searching, foraging, which characterizes us humans.

Place the bike front and center, with pleasant paths to ride on, and it will be astonishing how that restlessness gets soaked up in moving around in the most pleasant and healthy way.

Once, in days past people strolled the boulevards to see and be seen, to take the air, to exercise, rain or shine. (painting by Gustave Caillebotte)


Then, came the car. For a while it was open and people still waved, had the wind in their faces, were part of the scene.

Open car  car..jpg 300

But cars became faster and more enclosed, the emphasis shifted to the machine and not the people.

Waving and greeting, the admiring pause, the word or two, all were gone.

Bring back the bike not just for utility, but as the vehicle of the promenade, and so much will be better. You’ll see!

sweetheart.jpg earl;y bike


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5 Responses to “Talking to Mikael… some more!”

  1. haha! funny I never thought of my glasses as being stylish…loved the video, Mike, keep up the great work.



  2. this message speaks to me….i long for safe, but also gorgeous bike trails around the city….riding makes me strong, fills my lungs, makes my body happy, is calming, joyful….i think youre on the right track with your message of a better way of life for us…(any alternative to obesity or even just carrying a few extra kilos! is good)

    if there is any little thing that my family and i can do to help…..?



  3. [...] Rubbo from Sit-up Cycle, who’s recent video interview with Mikael Colville-Andersen made waves on the internets, posted another great video (check the [...]

  4. Interesting how the dutch are so effective at promoting cycling by emphasizing the POSITIVE.

    It’s so different from what has been happening here! We’ve had so much brainwashing about helmets that most people now believe that cycling is too dangerous! How wrong? It is still as safe as being a pedestrian crossing the street. Yet you don’t see pedestrians putting on their helmets & being worried about their safety.

    We are created such an incorrect perception with this silly compulsory helmet law, that many people have been discouraged from cycling. As a result, cycling has become more dangerous due to the ‘safety in numbers’ factors.

    When you realise that helmets are a thin polystyrene layer that is not designed to cope with any type of serious accident, it becomes clear how ridiculous the whole compulsory helmet argument is.

    What where they thinking when they introduced that law?



  5. Aw, I like the narration in the first film!

    Thanks to you and Violeta for putting these together. Very interesting to watch.



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