The New York Times streams live from bicycle rush hour in Copenhagen

| August 25, 2016

An ordinary Tuesday in august turned extraordinary when Klaus Bondam, CEO of The Danish Cyclists’ Federation – a member of Cycling Embassy of Denmark (CED) – was joined by The New York Times and their followers on Facebook on a livestreamed bike ride through Copenhagen. A Facebook page with 12 million followers.

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From The New York Times´ facebook page – a page with almost 12 million followers.

“Hello, this is from The New York Times”
On the 22th of august the Danish Cyclists’ Federation received an email from one of the biggest newspapers on the North American Continent – The New York Times. They had a reporter visiting Denmark and he was amazed by the Copenhagen transportation infrastructure and surprised by the amount of bikes in the Copenhagen cityscape.

The following day a bike ride was arranged following the vast amount of commuters cycling from the center of Copenhagen to Nørrebro passing Nørreport Station designed by another member of CED, Gottlieb Paludan Architects

“What about when it rains?”
For the duration of the bike ride Klaus answered questions posted on the New York Times’ Facebook channel. There were a lot of interesting questions about cycling, parking, and the Copenhagen infrastructure. What we in Denmark perceive as given was questioned several times, e.g. when a follower asked,

“What do you do, when it rains?”

The answer to this particular question has been taught to most Danes, since they were kids with the sentence; “There is no such thing as bad weather, merely wrong clothing”. This example captures the one of the objectives and core competencies of the CED – to tell the explicit story about Danish cycling culture abroad with in-depth knowledge of similarities and differences to other parts of the world.

Cycling – a political hot potato
At the end of the bike ride Klaus and the reporter stopped for a short interview and here the reporter touched upon the difficulties of changing policy. Influencing legislation and getting cycling to the top of the political agenda is not an easy task, as Klaus explains,

“It (cycling policy-making) demands political courage, stamina, and political sustainability to enable policies to survive a change in political leadership.”

Klaus continued by sharing his view on why the struggle for more cycling in Denmark as well as globally is important;

“…it is not only about mobility and climate friendly transportation but also about engaging actively in the discussion about how the future human city looks like.”

The bicycles’ role in developing cities as socially and environmentally sustainable living spaces is central, and the significance of cycling initiatives is continuously confirmed, e.g. within the political fieldwork of the CED.

Unexpected but welcomed interest in Copenhagen cycling
Due to the unexpected internet traffic on The New York Times Facebook page, what should only have been a 15-20 minute live stream became an almost 40 minute segment. This only goes to show that the Danish model is not merely interesting for foreign governments, companies, and organisations, but that regular citizens similarly get mesmerized by the cycling culture of Denmark. Questions came from around the world and this time it was a member of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, who had the answers.

Of course Klaus Bondam was sure to mention The Cycling Embassy of Denmark – see at 29:19 min.

See the video on Facebook here.

Category: Commuting, Cycling, Danish cycling culture, Infrastructure, Media, New York Times

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