Syv Fjell Sykkel

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." — H.G. Wells

Monday, September 12, 2011

Status Update

Found this link today. It is an article from Bergens Tidene on the state of political priority in these parts. More than 2000 cities and towns in Europe will this coming week participate in a "Mobility Week" with a focus on sustainable transportatin solutions and is an opportunity to signalize an interest in improvement. Bergen will not participate dispite direct encouragement from Norways Environment and Transportation Ministers. Check out the article written by Marte Haave of Syklistenes Landsforening.
Today is voting day, hopefully this type of frustrating political lack of action is a thing of the past!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This is Bergen

Party representitives from Ap and KrF seek enlightenment on two wheels. Typical Bergen cycling scenario.

On Monday Norway votes in municipal elections. Check out what Syklistenes Landsforening Bergen has come up with for those who vote with a two wheeled bias HERE.

Do you read "One More Bicycle"? What do you want to see covered here? Comments? Let us know!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Return and Fan Our Fire

We have been inactive as of late due to winter holidays here in Norway and corresponding sans bicycle trips to where the white fluff flows. Stay tuned to this space for an interesting development in Bergen city planning that has added fuel to a fire we were about to start with regards to use of kanalveien as an efficient bicycle transportation route. In a word...MUP. We wont be going out of business any time soon.
Purple routes are proposed MUPs, note crosswalk solution and phantom endings... Full article to come

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ditch Your Tether!

Transportation Alternatives PSA ::a ride with Paul Steely White from Cinecycle on Vimeo.

I nice look at New York City and what is making this metropolise bicycle friendly.
"People are beginning to realize that it is entirely possible and desirable to lead a life without being tethered to an automobile"Paul Steely White tells it like it is.
Bergen is a smaller city, with major transportation issues due to over automobile use. One more bicycle here has an incredible effect on our city. Be inspired.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Refuse to be Herded

First off I would like to share that much of the inspiration for this blog comes from various related sources on the world wide interweb. Previously I have mentioned Copenhagenize and now I would like to refer to the others who occupy space in the list of links to the right. Links provided via this blog are incredible resources for cycling inspiration, discussion of cycling related issues, insight into bicycle culture around the globe and generally wholesome and entertaining viewpoints on the world by bicycle.
The title of this post is inspired by both Bikesnobnyc and an various articles from The UrbanCountry.

“When you’re stuck in your car on the highway because an accident or construction has suddenly transformed a twenty-five-minute jaunt into a three-hour nightmare, or you’ve been sitting in a stopped subway train in a tunnel for half an hour after a particularly miserable day at work, you feel impotent – and nothing is more frustrating than impotence. These are the times when you attempt to bargain with the universe: “If you make this train move now, I swear I’ll be a better person.” Then you try to think of people worse off than you. “Well at least I’m not in prison”. But really, you are in prison, and even worse, you don’t deserve it.”
“Being packed onto a subway or a bus or even stuck in your car in traffic makes you feel like cattle, and that’s an awful way to feel. If you never want to feel like a cow again – physically or mentally – start riding your bike.”
                                                                                                          Bike Snob NYC

Bikesnobnyc says it often best. We are fast becoming cattle, not only in transportation situations, but also in terms of how we choose to spend our time and finances. Our thoughts and ideals are also herded through the same machine of modern urban society. Our values both material and otherwise undergo a constant funneling towards a perceived ideal from the moment we are born. One of the most prevalent idealism in western society is the status and normality of owning and actively using a motor vehicle for personal transportation in urban environments.
In Norway there are many people we live in rural communities with limited services and with challenging topographical features that make driving a necessity for living. This is not the issue that faces transportation in our cities. In the city you have an element of choice and great resources are strategically allocated to influence the variety and quality of the various choices you have to move about in your urban environment. Furthermore, you ultimately have a choice in how you choose to position yourself in this environment. Where you work, where you send your kids to school, where you spend your free time, it all equates to a question of personal mobility. 
Urban environments originate and thrive on the basis of choice. We want access to jobs, schools, entertainment, consumer goods, friends etc. Your local farmer may only have one road to his property; it may be many kilometers from the nearest intersection, train station or bus stop. His livelihood is dependant on his location, and so is your urban livelihood, but unlike the farmer you have an abundance of infrastructure on your doorstep designed and maintained to get you from all of the things you value strong enough to make the choice as to where you live. Ultimately, choosing to live in an urban environment centers around the values of convenience and efficiency. You can live work and play with greater efficiency, yet you may choose to daily subject yourself to the suffocating restrictions that throwing yourself into the constraints of urban herding entails. 
Here in Bergen the hot topic the last year has been our brand new multi billion kroner light rail system Bybanen. The visionaries at city hall pushed through the construction of the line that runs from the downtown core to Nestun. Already construction has started on the next leg to Lagunen (popular shopping district), with the ultimate goal being Flesland international airport in phase three. We have had the system for less than a year and already it is being heavily criticized for being slow, prone to delays due to mechanical failures and rough weather, frequent collisions with cars, a ticket system that doesn’t work half the time, overcrowding etc. As a brick in a big, well thought out wall of transportation it would have been fine. City hall however has removed both roads (that were efficient bus routes) and bike friendly routes (long stretches along Inndalsveien have been made dangerous to ride) in order to fit double tracks into an already space starved valley landscape. bus routes have been cut with the intent of this new train taking over much of the transportation into the core of the city resulting in overcrowded trains and longer travel times for commuters. At the same time pollution at the now famous Danmarksplass intersection has not gone down (and is now almost exclusively blamed on wood and oil burning stoves in the area despite thousands of cars passing each day) and congestion along the Fjøsanger roadway to the downtown is as bad as ever. Billions have been spent and no one can see a real improvement in public transportation. 
Overcomplicating solutions to simple problems is a political favorite, bicycles are just too simple. As I have mentioned before the Bergen Bicycle Plan of 2010 continues were the previous plan failed to increase bicycle use in this city. To make the plan a reality there needs to be a demand and with soaring gas prices, inefficient public transportation and an increasing population there has never been a better time to flood the city with bicycles and show the world that this is a mode of transportation that needs to be prioritized with real quality infrastructural intervention. Currently much our the local political focus is to improve traffic flow and diversify popular routes (tunnel from Arna to the downtown to take pressure of the Fløyen tunnel, putting Danmarksplass intersection underground, ring roads etc.) with little or no effort being made to decrease the number of cars on our roads. These strategies are incredibly expensive both in terms of kroners and time taken away from addressing facilitating more sustainable modes of transportation. We need real change in our city; sustainable change for a new era where driving everywhere is no longer a right, but a potentially poor choice among many better choices.
You have the power of choice and the power to influence what gets prioritized locally. Governments look to see what is profitable, sustainable and in demand when allocating funds to new transportation projects, upgrades and maintenance of existing infrastructure. Exercise the power of choice in the pursuit of true freedom. Show your local community that you ride, by riding! Be one of the increasing numbers of individuals who no longer choose to take part in the daily herding by car and public transport. Fill the streets and bike paths. Show your elected leaders that bicycles are here to stay and are a growing, sustainable and real presence in your city. Urban cycling should be comfortable, relaxing. pleasant, spontaneous, affordable, punctual, serene, healthy and cheerful. Demand more of your elected officials!
Integrating cycling into your daily transportation routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Look into potential routes to your most frequent destinations, get your bicycle in order (we will cover some of the key point to a good city bike in a future post) and ultimately start feeling the freedom. Every time we ride a bicycle, we need to show others that it can be comfortable and convenient to ride a bicycle. Show them that they don’t need all the gear they think they need. Remember the 5 km rule? Most destinations within 5 km of your home can be more efficiently traveled by bicycle than on foot, by bus or definitely by car. Bikes are cheap, food is cheap and parking is free. Try it, live true freedom, set an example and be an inspiration to your fellow citizens.

“Buy this car to drive to work; drive to work to pay for this car…
                                   You say you want to get out, but you won’t, because it’s a trap.”

Buy this bike to ride to work, ride to work to pay for ………. You get the point.

Ride on!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Punt your Pigs!

”Piggdekk”, the Norwegian word for studded tires and the source of countless Petter Solberg jokes. My daily bicycle commute along the majestic Nordås waters is likely one of the most pleasant this fine city has to offer. Despite my ramblings on about how bicycle infrastructure is a gaping weak point in Bergen town, this stretch offers efficient travel with few pedestrians, few crossing roadways, adequate width and recent improvements in the form of cement barriers between the pathway and roadway to prevent streams fowl automobile fluid infested water from coating our pavement (or entering the pristine waters of Nordås for that matter).
It is along this thoroughfare that a majority of the cities few diehard, year round Gore-Tex clad two wheeled warriors pass each day to and from their rural themed dwellings in the citys perimeter to central places of work. They are their own definition of bicycle culture. Overly practical and alien to a seamless cityscape their bright yellow oversized capes of breathable water repellence flap rhythmically in winter winds and summer breezes alike. They are the definition of the office tough guy, feeding of the empowerment of being a pedaling minority. A breed conceived into an unchecked world of bicycle riding culture. A self defined subculture so practically unpractical you can hear them coming miles away. Their unmistakable hum of mechanical ignorance and misunderstanding of the machine they so eagerly stride, their studded tires.
Studded tires in Norway run in the range of 1000 kroners a pair. Studded tires in Bergen are burning pavement and pocketbooks like a Prius burns logic. We live in a coastal climate where we are fortunate to enjoy year round cycling opportunities. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing for more than a couple of days at a time in the dead of winter and road salt is used with such vigor on our streets that simply brushing your face over your hot dinner after even a short commute can bring out delight in the most monotonous dish. Studded tires are for ice and hard packed snow, none of which occur for more than a few meters at a time for an unfortunate few. Slippery surfaces caused by frost or wet pavement are not effectively dealt with by adding metal spikes to hard rubber tires. Lower tire pressures and soft rubber are on the other hand your weapons in safe speed during the winter months. Grinding your expensive studded tires away on bare pavement while at the same time grinding away any enjoyment of an effortless and quiet commuting experience is not conducive to sticking to your bike through thick and thin. My personal choice is to forgo studs all together and instead opt for aforementioned tire characteristics along with an upright approach to sharp corners and a light finger on the brakes. Relax, look ahead and let your bike interact in a rider controlled fashion with the surface you are traveling on. Dont rely on overpriced equipment to do the riding for you, fill you with false self confident and a dread of hours listening to the buzz and feeling the massive resistance of a misplaced set of studs. Studded tires are not optimal for use on bare pavement and are likely more dangerous cornering on asphalt as they offer very poor grip on hard surfaces. If your commute does in fact warrant studs for a portion of the journey, consider using only studs up front and either swap out the tire or keep and extra wheel with appropriate rubber for 99% of typical Bergen riding conditions. My personal thought on inappropriate studded tire use is that you are either too lazy to swap tires or wheels, ignorant to the incredible discomfort and mechanical disadvantage or afraid to work on your bike yourself.
If you are apprehensive about changing tires check out this helpful video to put an end to your studded enslavement.
You could make your own...
Start rolling, stay efficient and keep riding!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

RidingResource: Copenhagen

Our friends over at (I suppose I cant actually call them friends as I dont know them beyond the warming glow of my 45inch plasma screen from which I ”curate” this ”epic” bicycle blog, but as G Fisher  said before The Trek Bicycle Company sucked out his soul and made him exclusively limited edition, ”Anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mine”) have been on it big time sharing the incredible tale of the cleansing of a car sick city.
40 years ago the Danish capital was a grey pigeon in a dirty inner city park full of grey pigeons when it came to bicycle friendliness and use. Now Copenhagen can gloat of having one of the most bicycle engaged populations in the world with 37 % of commuters crossing into the city each day by bicycle and 55 % of commuters travelling by bicycle within the city proper. These means that roughly 500 000 citizens choose their bicycle as their weapon of mass transit every day cycling a combined 1.2 million kilometers!
Copenhagenize is driven by the notion that "Copenhagenizing" is possible anywhere and One More Bicycle is of the conviction that Bergen Norway is no exception.
Copenhagen has gained its bicycle friendly status through a focused planning program with fast, safe and pleasant bicycle transportation as the goal. Note that Copenhagens bicycle friendly goals were not driven by environmental incentives alone, but also for the better of society, for the people who travel in the city daily. Copenhagen has been used as an example for the New York City Department of Transportation in their efforts to adopt similar bike lanes and bicycle infrastructure as Copenhagen. The city has even been recognised by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for their efforts and has been chosen by this highest governing body of competitive cycling as its first official Bike City. Copenhagen is repeatedly recognized as one of the best cities in the world to live in as well as one of the worlds most environmentally friendly. The best part? They still are not content! By 2015 their goal is to have a minimum of 50% of all trips made to work and school by bicycle, reduce cycling injuries in traffic by half and that a minimum of 80% of Copenhagen bicycle users should feel safe riding in traffic!

Our situation in Bergen is far different from that of our nordic neighbours to the south. Bergen is currently ranked as the second worst bicycle city in Norway, Ålesund is ranked at the benchmark bottom. The city of Bergen has lofty plan of its own to climb the bicycle transportation ranking ladder. In the recent ”Bicycle Strategy for Bergen 2010 – 2019” report it was revealed that only 4% of Bergens citizens travel to work by bicycle, dispite 70% of working citizens living within 10 kilometers of their place of work. By 2019 the city hopes to drastically change this trend and have 10% of transportation to and from work occur by bicycle. They have also mandated to build 5 kilometers of bicycle routes each year during the period and have 1500 new ”bicycle parking spots” by 2019. Previously the City of Bergen has had a bicycle strategy in place, however only 37% of that goal was ever met, and we still only have 4% of citizens riding to work. In this country of continuos internal competition with the blinders on for what is going on in far more progressive nations, the report points to Stavanger as a worthy competitor (currently at 7% of commuters on bicycles and ranked at the 8th best bicycle city in Norway) as well as Trondheim (currently at 9% of commuters on bicycles and ranked at the 9th best bicycle city in Norway). We can do better! Lets ride!(

Copenhagen City of Cyclists from Copenhagen City of Cyclists on Vimeo.