Where better to start our series on Bike Friendly Cities than in Copenhagen – a city with over 215 miles of bike paths that was declared the world’s best city for cycling a few years ago?
We talked with everyone who is anyone in the world of cycling, starting with urban mobility expert Mikael Colville-Andersen,
After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn’t just the smog or the traffic deaths; in a city, cars aren’t even a convenient way to get around.
Traffic in London today moves slower than an average cyclist (or a horse-drawn carriage). Commuters in L.A. spend 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. A U.K. study found that drivers spend 106 days of their lives looking for parking spots.
After his Nazi jokes saw him ejected from Cannes in 2011, Lars von Trier took a vow of silence. In one of the first interviews he’s given since then, Lucy Cheung met him at the Zentropa studio in Denmark to talk about sex, alcoholism and his reaction to the Copenhagen shootings
How was AA?
I went to AA meetings every day for half a year. We supported each other to keep sober. These people kind of become your family. I used all my strength to get sober – now I start to drink a little again, so that I can work. When you shoot a film, it’s hard work, and you tend to drink more.
So drinking is a short cut to your creativity?
I’ve taken other drugs that helped me a lot – that was kind of the way I worked. But drinking is more to overcome some anxiety.
Where does your anxiety come from?
I’ve had it since I was a child. I believe that if you are an artist and you’re drunk (laughing), you’re more sensitive. I have this theory: scientists say that 80% of our mental work is to stop the senses. So we have filters to block useless information. But if you are sensitive, then it means these filters are a bit broken. At least that’s what I see at AA. Sensitivity gives you anxiety. Even when I’ve worked with anxiety in therapy for all my life, anxiety is something that you can handle sometimes, while other times it’s impossible.
What is your method for handling it?
It’s not to discharge it, but to go into it, to make peace with it. This theory is good, but very difficult. I meditate a lot as well. But when you shoot, you don’t have time to do something for yourself, and you tend to drink just to be able to get there in the morning. I remember doing this film (Dancer in the Dark) with Björk, and I was crying – almost kind of giving up. It was such a struggle, and she was so crazy that she always wanted to run away. Then I had to go get her and persuade her to come back. But she was one of the best actresses that I have worked with. When we worked, we had such an intense contact, but when we didn’t work, we were just fighting. It was ridiculous.
Does psychiatric therapy help?
I take a lot of medication. Right now it’s good. Sometimes my psychiatrist says I take too much medicine, and I’m not mentally up to my best.
You’re obviously rebelling against something in each film you’ve made. What are you are rebelling against?
Rebelling is part of my family. If you come to a family gathering, the family says something, you have to say something else. Then my family met my wife’s family, who said yes to everything, but my family often said no. If I see a form or a concept, I’d naturally challenge it, to see if there’s any possibility to gain more from it.
People living in a society like Denmark don’t need to struggle against poverty or dictatorship?
That’s it – I’m in a position where I can rebel. As you said, we are living relatively comfortable lives, although we have had some terrorist attacks which have never happened before. So I can make a film that’s different from films that people want to see, which is important.
What is your opinion of the terrorist attack? Should some jokes be forbidden?
Everyone seems to encourage artists to draw whatever they want, and provocatively see it as “cherishing freedom of speech”. But this isn’t always the case. In Denmark, there are extreme rightwing people who wanted to irritate and humiliate Muslims. Politically, it is a different situation in France, as Charlie Hebdo is a leftwing paper.
Does your sense of humour mean that your films are not always interpreted the way you mean them to be?
A sense of humour can also be used to rebel. It’s more about using it as a tool than about making a film to make people laugh.
Each film you’ve made is a statement. Do you worry that viewers might get it all wrong?
A long time ago I said that I’m indifferent to how my films are used and for what purposes. The only thing that’s important to me is that there are different versions of the last film I made (Nymphomaniac), and it’s important to know which one is the director’s cut.
Why is sex essential to your films?
I came from a nudist family. I don’t know what that has to do with sex … it’s the matter of being real. We did it as real as we could by using porn doubles and computer graphics.
Is creating “discomfort” a fundamental part of your creativity?
On the way to making Nymphomaniac, I had been reading a lot. I have read everything Dostoevsky wrote. Now I’m reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, whose War and Peace I liked tremendously. There’s a much longer tradition in book writing, and I had great pleasure reading Joyce and Proust. Lots of the things writers use in books are fantastic; I’m trying to see if I can translate them into films.
Why are all your protagonists female? Do you think you are more in touch with your feminine side?
Maybe. It would be extremely difficult to give the same things to a male lead. Also, I’ve always been a great fan of Carl Dreyer. He always had female leads in his films.
What are you working on now?
I don’t know. The problem is it’s very easy to finance something for a TV series, but I’m not sure if that’s the way I should go.
I don’t think there’s anyone still working based on those rules. What happened was it was intended to be shot on 35mm film, and we had a long discussion in the group about if it was possible. We ended up buying very cheap film – but “being cheap” wasn’t the point. The intention was to create a space for actors where they could do their best work.
Was there a reason the prelude to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde featured throughout Melancholia?
After watching Kubrick’s films, I also tried to use a musical theme in my last two movies. I was meant to direct a Ring cycle at Bayreuth 15 years ago, and I worked there for two years. But the Wagner family were fighting. Someone who had worked with them in the past told me that the family would trick you by saying yes to everything first, then say no. So I confronted them, and they concluded it wouldn’t work out. Years ago, I said: “If I ever should do an opera, I’d like to do The Ring in Bayreuth.” Ah, it’s still so tempting.
Assaf Biderman, founder of Cambridge-based startup Superpedestrian, discovered that in order to increase bicycle ridership, he had to literally reinvent the wheel.
With help from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SENSEable CIty Lab, Biderman designed a wheel that snaps onto the back wheel of almost any bike — road, mountain or cruiser — to transform it into a more powerful, electric-hybrid bicycle.
The technology, dubbed the Copenhagen Wheel, will retail online at superpedestrian.comfor $699 starting Tuesday.
“It makes it possible to bike almost anywhere, and you don’t really have to think twice,” Biderman said in an interview.
With the Copenhagen Wheel, there will be fewer barriers to bicycling; hills will disappear and distances will shrink, he said.
“It’s also something fun and beautiful,” he said. “It connects you with the street and the city in a new way.”
The Copenhagen Wheel features regenerative braking and advanced control systems, and cyclists ride the electric-hybrid bike like they would a normal bike.
The technology learns about the rider and recognizes topography and how hard the rider pedals to determine how much support the rider needs, according to the company. The wheel also comes with a rechargeable battery and can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
The first 1,000 Copenhagen Wheels will be made at the SENSEable City Lab in Cambridge and will sell for $699. After that, the price will increase to $799 and Biderman will look for a more permanent manufacturing facility, he said.
More than 20,000 people registered for pre-sale information on superpedestrian.com, Biderman said. About 12,000 of those people registered during the past six weeks, he said.
Riders who purchase the Copenhagen Wheel will also get access to Superpedestrian’s free mobile app, which monitors physical performance.
Superpedestrian was founded in late 2012 and is backed by $2.1 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital of Boston and David Karp, CEO of New York-based Tumblr.
The company has 14 full- and part-time employees at its Cambridge office and expects to grow to between 20 and 30 by the end of 2014.
Since the advent of the yuccie, they have been spotted all over the world. From Dubai to Antwerp, the Young Urban Creatives are in every corner riding fixies, discussing ideas and enjoying the privilege of suburban comfort.
Now the yuccie has a city travel guide, curated by Skyscanner. It shuns the dirty pits where hipsters hang, and it disses the wanky bars reserved for posh yuppies. Instead, it introduces the areas with attitude within contemporary cities where the Yuccie will feel like they can spend their entire salary on dining out, while discussing trending issues.
In true Yuccie fashion, the city guide will also be coming to life on Periscope — with Skyscanner’s #24hPeriscope live world tour broadcasting in each city from 10pm AEST (1pm GMT) on Friday, July 24.
1. Plagwitz, Leipzig
It has the hype and it has the yuccies. The Plagwitz district, an old industrial area in Leipzig, Germany, is where the action is happening. Abandoned buildings and post-industrial rubble have been carved out to create galleries and cultural spaces. It is an entrepreneur-with-an-eye-for-design’s dream.
2. Savamala, Belgrade
This city in Serbia is going through a revival and yuccies are flocking to the Savamala district, where workshop spaces and creative hubs are blooming. Although it has had a difficult past, things are starting to look brighter for Belgrade — with startups growing above ground and below, in the city’s tunnel system.
3. Vesterbro, Copenhagen
If you want to be the epitome of cool, look no further than Copenhagen in Denmark. Join the Danes in the Vesterbro district as they cycle around, sip organic lattes in vintage leather chairs and peruse antique bookshops.
4. Eilandje, Antwerp
The creative urbanites are transforming parts of the city of Antwerp, Belgium — and one such thriving area is the industrial port. It’s got on-trend cuisine and educational art exhibitions that will add to your yuccie life.
5. Hornstull, Stockholm
If you are after uber-cool, Stockholm in Sweden is waiting. The city is overrun with hipsters — especially in the Östermalm district and the SoFo — but to find your own kind, head to Hornstull. The place is buzzing with excitement and creative energy, as startups and young people flood the streets and businesses. Take a shot of espresso (aquavit), browse the flea markets or party through the night at Trädgården, one of the hottest clubs in the city.
6. Witte De Withstraat, Rotterdam
Amsterdam has nothing on Rotterdam. The city in the Netherlands is a hub of trendy folk, cosmopolitan vibes and interesting activities. Yuccie sightings are frequent around the Witte de Withstraat, where they can be seen discovering quirky crafts, donning designer clothes and taking a stroll through an art gallery.
7. Nevsky Prospect, Saint Petersburg
Russia’s second largest city is a perfect mix of old and new, from the UNESCO historic centre and iconic sites through to the new spaces opening down small alleys. Nevsky Prospect is the spot to visit to work out what is hot or not from the creative types moving between the office and workshops. You can spot a Russian yuccie in the Hermitage Museum complex discussing creative and political theologies.
8. Islington, London
Leave Shoreditch and Brixton to the hipsters, Islington is where yuccies choose to play. Areas that were once hotbeds for trouble are now home to the urban creative types. Islington has a rough and ready vibe, but be quick — a pressed juice store will come in only a matter of time. Make sure you stop for a spot of brunch — the meal between breakfast and lunch — to claim your prize as a true British yuccie.
9. SoMa, San Francisco
San Fran is the start-up capital and SoMa (the area south of Market Street) is where yuccies have made a home. They collaborate in co-working spaces, jog along the bay, are immersed in social media and eat organic meals. San Fran was made for the modern yuccie — from tech to art, this city has it all.
10. Sternschanze, Hamburg
As the dirty hipsters pack into dingy underground Berlin watering holes, the stylin’ yuccies have found their own place in Germany. The bustling port city of Hamburg is where it’s at, with creative entrepreneurs flocking to the Sternschanze district, which is considered the epicenter of Hamburg’s cultural explosion. In a mix of bohemian chic and urban style, the design shows, cafes, galleries and boutiques all turn on the charm.
11. Zona Tortona, Milan
The fashion capital, Milan, of course attracts the best breed of yuccie. The Italian city is packed with trendy areas such as Brera, Isola, Hangar Bicocca and Fondazione Prada, where yuccies mingle with their own kind. But the newest trendy kid on the block is Tortona, an area where the annual Fuorisalone is held, a festival of culture, cool and art. The centrepiece of Tortona is the museum of culture (MUDEC); hang here and feel authentic.
12. Woodstock, Cape Town
The neighborhood of Woodstock shares its name with the legendary festival, so it is little surprise this is where the hip city folk are heading. In this South African neighborhood, artists are turning their work into small businesses and shaking off the hipster vibe. The Internet economy lifestyle is strong here, and yuccies have settled in for the long haul.
13. Greenpoint, New York
Enjoy a business lunch of kale and anchovy salad at Fieve Leaves, or munch on some avo-toast for brunch in between writing a new blog post. This area of Brooklyn is where social media managers, marketing gurus and emerging artists come together to enjoy a yoga class in designer lycra pants and shoot some Instagrams of their Moroccan scrambled eggs.
14. Vila Madalena, São Paulo
This area in the west of the concrete city is making a name for itself as a cultural hub for intelligent and creative Brazilians. A Brazilian yuccie is a little flamboyant with an energy that is infectious, and they come to the street-art covered neighborhood for an after-work beverage, to eat at Chou or to visit the libraries and galleries.
15. Cihangir, Istanbul
Istanbul’s yuccies have their finger on the pulse like in the other major cities, but these ones like their coffee Turkish style. They dine in fashionable restaurants, start cool businesses and have created a hub of talent in the city. They breeze around the cobblestone streets of Cihangir and chat about their new business idea before partying the night away with the yuccie set at an on-trend nightclub with the DJ of the moment.
16. La Confluence, Lyon
The historical and gastronomical centre of Lyon has enticed the yuccie trendsetters away from romantic Paris and straight into its grip. It is no wonder; the French city is the birth place of cinema. The industrial area of the city, The Confluence, has seen abandoned buildings converted into eco-friendly spaces for mingling with other yuccies. A swell of galleries, workshops, cultural events and arts centres has made this area into a young urban creative’s ideal home.
17. Sant Antoni, Barcelona
Spanish yuccies don’t want to be living with the hipsters in the Gracia district of Barcelona, so they have packed their bags and set up shop in the neighborhood of Sant Antoni. The area is going through a cultural renaissance of late, and the urbanites are ready to embrace the change. Yuccies are opening businesses and creative spaces, as the transformation from tradition to modern rolls on.
18. Alexandria, Sydney
Australia was made for yuccies, with its creative vibe, open landscapes and modern hubs. Newtown is the known home of hipsters, while the breed spread as far as Bondi in the east. Now, the yuccies have had their say and are embedding themselves in the former industrial area of Alexandria. Young designers meet at The Grounds for chai lattes and lentil du puy to go. To really fit in with this crowd, sign up for the “coffee academy” where you will learn to create the perfect yuccie brew.
19. Nakameguro, Tokyo
Tokyo is an eclectic, overwhelming mix of professionals, yuccies, chic geeks, start-uppers and entrepreneurs. To locate the young urban creative clique in the Japanese city, head over to Nakameguro. It is a step away from the bustle of the city, and the locals ride around on vintage bikes, work in coffee shops and fashion themselves in op-shop wear. For the full experience, check out 0fr for international fare, zines and photography journals.
20. Design District (D3), Dubai
Between the desert and the over-the-top luxury, there is an area in Dubai called D3 where yuccies congregate. The usual haunts can be found here — including galleries, workshops and boutiques — but top of the order should be popping into Ghaf Kitchen, where you can grab some street food, brunch or a beetroot and goats cheese salad. Although the area is still being developed, with the power and money of Dubai this trendy hub is sure to get it right.
Europe is home to historic cities, world-famous museums, and phenomenal restaurants. But there are also gorgeous hidden beaches, phenomenal ski resorts, and stunning natural formations like canyons, waterfalls, and gorges.
We’ve come up with the ultimate bucket list of travel destinations in Europe.
From biking along the canals of Amsterdam to tasting Chianti in Italy’s Tuscany region, here are 25 things you need to do in Europe in your lifetime.
Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in the south of France.
Hit the slopes at Innsbruck, a breathtaking ski resort in the mountains of Austria.
Dance to house music at an underground nightclub in Berlin, like Tresor.
Hug the cliffs while driving along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and visit the charming towns of Positano, Ravello, and Salerno.
Pass a day in the beautiful Tivoli gardens and amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Walk across the 612-year-old Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.
Snap a photo at the Azure Window, a natural Limestone arch on the Maltese island of Gozo.
Stay up all night partying on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Test your speed on Germany’s famous autobahn.
Take in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea from the Greek island of Santorini.
Play a hand of blackjack at the Casino de Monaco in Monte Carlo.
Hear the roar of Jägala Fall in Estonia, called “the Niagara Falls of the Baltics.”
Marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
Lounge on the stunning beaches of Lagos, Portugal.
Bike alongside the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Stroll the historic fortified city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Seek out Botticelli’s masterpieces, “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera,” inside Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.
Play a round at Ballybunion, one of the most iconic golf courses in Ireland.
Marvel at the Moorish architecture and tranquil gardens of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.
Smell the tulips at Keukenhof, a vast flower garden in Lisse, the Netherlands.
Catch a show at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts festival.
Test your limits and peer out from the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
Drink a beer from a stein during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
Explore the ruins of Rome’s stately Colosseum and imagine the gladiator fights that once packed the arena.
Sip on a cocktail in a glass made entirely of ice at the ICEBAR, a bar inside Sweden’s ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi.
Copenhagen has long been leading the world in citizen-pleasing infrastructure, and the country has yet again outdone itself. In June, it welcomed the Cykelslagen, or Cycle Snake, an elevated cyclist roadway over the harbor to eases congestion.
Credit those numbers to a culture that encourages cycling, but also to an infrastructure that does the same, with traffic lights timed for bicycle speeds, cobblestone paths with smoothed shoulders, and parking systems that position unoccupied cars as a buffer between cycle lanes and moving traffic. So many people cycle that it’s become a quaint issue to find parking for the two-wheelers.
Cykelslagen (pronounced soo-cool-klag-en) adds just 721 feet of length to the city’s 220 miles of bicycle paths, but it relieves congestion by taking riders over instead of through a waterfront shopping area.
“Underneath, there’s a harbor front, so there are slow moving-pedestrians,” says Mikael Colville-Anderson, CEO of Copanhagenize, a Danish design company. “It wasn’t a smooth commute for the cyclists. The people on bikes want to get home and the pedestrians want to saunter.”
Pedestrian-cyclist conflict was never an issue, but cyclists couldn’t pedal at a constant speed, and they had to deal with stairways. The new roadway, which runs one story above the ground, lets them move without interruption. At just over 13 feet wide, there’s plenty of room to pass even a double-wide cargo bike.
The Cykelslagen winds around the harbor front, in juxtaposition to the grid-like architecture of the area. This element of the design is, for all its beauty, purposeful. Bicycle roads have a maximum allowable gradient to prevent riders from picking up too much speed, and to allow riders on cargo bikes to ascend easily.
Making it curved adds length so the elevation changes can be gradual. The project cost 32 million Danish krone ($5.74 million). It was designed by architecture firm DISSING+WEITLING and built by Ramboll Group, an engineering company.
On top of its practicality, Cykelslagen makes riding a bike more fun and enjoyable. “You can see the Danish facade crack and people smiling,” Colville-Anderson says. “Even the driest city planners are saying, ‘this is so cool.’” Riders who take Cykelslagen in the mid-afternoon during the summer get to see the daylight filter between two nearby buildings.
When viewed from the harbor front below, pedestrians can watch riders flicker as they move along behind the guardrails. “It tickles all your senses,” Colville-Anderson says.
Now the city just has to tackle a new problem: Youths who think it’s fun to dive off the Cykelslagen into the harbor below.
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My observations as an artistic, writer, blogger, computer geek, humanist, mental health activist, lifelong learning and researcher of life living with lifelong severe depression, anxiety, social anxiety with agoraphobia, PTSD, A Nervous Breakdown, as well as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse and Rape.