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(Rad)Fahrvergnügen

July 14, 2010

Although I’m making peace with my new life in small town America, I can’t help but think fondly of all the bicycle eye candy I’d encounter on a daily basis while living in Germany. Life in Austria, where I previously spent two years, was no different. You really didn’t have to look very hard or very far – most corners and sidewalks were littered with beautiful bicycles and the bike lanes were always in full commotion. These are just some shots I snapped on my last walk through Munich, on my last weekend there, as I was making my rounds and saying my goodbyes. Please indulge my bit of nostalgia…

I especially enjoyed seeing so many personalized bikes. I pretty much stand out with my bright green cruiser, wicker basket, and flower decor in a sea of what seems like undistinguishable mountain bikes at most places in town here. I used to love walking around and taking in the many painted, decorated, and embellished bicycles of Munich. I’m sure that there are plenty of places in the Unites States that have a similarly thriving and unique bicycle culture, and, judging by a number of bike blogs I love to follow, those places are alive and doing well. Here’s hoping that more of this catches on in the rest of America.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2010 15:07

    Ah, such gorgeous photos – reminds me of being in Germany and Denmark just last year! European bikes are so pretty and have such character. I don’t know why most people in the US don’t prefer those over road bikes. Of course, I think it’s also an availability issue since bikes like those aren’t prevalent in bike stores in most cities. And unfortunately probably won’t be until there’s more of a demand. That green bike with the painted flowers is sooo cute!

    • July 14, 2010 15:28

      Traci – that green bike with the flowers is my favorite too! So unique!

  2. July 14, 2010 15:53

    Looks lovely! It’s nice in places where people use bicycles as everyday transportation, that bicycles become just another part of the landscape. It’s great to see how people personalize their bikes – both to make them look how they like, and simply to differentiate them from the many others around.

    My wife and I are visiting Amsterdam this autumn (along with Vilnius, Lithuania), and I’m excited to finally see Amsterdam in person, for all of the reasons mentioned here.

    • July 14, 2010 17:03

      Dave – I couldn’t agree more. As for Amsterdam – it’s beautiful! I was only there briefly while passing through but I loved it. Probably one of the most picturesque places I’ve seen. I hope you’ll be posing photos from both Amsterdam and Vilnius, your trip sounds wonderful!

  3. July 14, 2010 18:55

    I’ll definitely post photos, in Flickr if nothing else. I’m not sure if we’ll have a chance to do any cycling in Vilnius, so I’m not sure if that will make it onto Portlandize, but I’ll definitely have my camera with me :)

  4. Amanda B permalink
    July 14, 2010 21:47

    It’s definitely catching on in the U.S. – even in middle America! I test drove some new Electras this past weekend and wanted to order an Amsterdam, but there are none to be had. Evidently this is a big bike year for Americans, and the bicycle manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up!

    • July 14, 2010 22:37

      I just took a picture of an Electra Amsterdam parked outside my college library today, where I always lock up my bike. I think the Amsterdam’s are beautiful! But I was definitely not expecting to see one in my Midwestern town, such a nice surprise! Good luck getting one, hope it doesn’t take too long for you to get the bike you’re hoping for.

  5. July 15, 2010 03:28

    these are so gorgeous!! whyyyyyyy can’t i move to europe?
    i’ve always wanted to live in amsterdam with a rad, super heavy dutch bike.

  6. July 15, 2010 04:11

    Oooh, so pretty! There are lots of bikes in Chicago, but not a lot of beautiful bikes like that. Especially with lovely little touches like the green fenders with white flowers. Great shots.

  7. July 15, 2010 16:47

    Beautiful bicycles! I too am a fan of the green with the little daisylike flowers painted on it! I have been to Germany, and have seen many boats traveling along the Rhine with boats attached. Why didn’t I think to take picures of them, when I had the chance. As for the electra Amsterdam, I also think they are pretty cool. I have a friend with one…hand painted with beautiful flowers!

  8. Janni permalink
    July 16, 2010 07:28

    Hi from Berlin –

    Fahrräder sind in Deutschland besonders in Universitätsstädten verbreitet wie in Freiburg, Münster oder Göttingen. Dort gibt es sogar Parkhäuser für die riesigen Mengen Fahrräder, die am Bahnhof geparkt werden!

    München und auch Berlin sind für Fahrräder eigentlich nicht besonders angenehm, Autofahrer sind noch nicht so an Radfahrer gewöhnt. Aber in Berlin darf man das Fahrrad in der S-Bahn mitnehmen – so schafft man auch große Entfernungen gut mit dem eigenen Rad!

    • July 16, 2010 13:17

      Janni, ich finde es um so pregnanter, dass die Stadt, die du als nicht so fahrradfrundlich bezeichnen würdest, mir als so fahrradfreundlich vorgekommen ist. Ne traurige Aussage über die Fahrradsituation in der USA. Im Vergleich zu dem, was ich hier sehe, war München eine Fahrradutopie!

      Mann darf jetzt eigentlich auch in München das Fahrrad mit in der UBahn oder SBahn nehmen. Es gibt zwar Intervale am Tag wenn das nicht erlaubt ist, aber ich weiss nicht wie streng das beachtet wird, ich hab immer Leute mit Fahrrädern in der UBahn gesehen. Das finde ich auch super.

      Danke für das Kommentar und das Vorbeischauen bei meiner Seite – so schön mal wieder ein bisschen Deutsch zu hören :) Ich war auch ein Paar Mal in Berlin und find die Stadt einfach super. S.

  9. July 20, 2010 17:43

    we just returned from a visit to Munich and Salzburg a little over a week ago–and your pictures make me want to hop a plane right back again! my absolute favorite part of the whole experience was the bike culture and eye candy.
    the first chance we got upon arriving home, my husband and i test rode a couple shiny new bikes at a local shop. now i’m saving up for my very first Electra! <3

    • July 21, 2010 12:17

      Erin – how awesome! Salzburg is one of my favorite cities ever, I spent two years living there a while back. It’s so beautiful and the bike riding is great there. How awesome that it inspired you guys to get bikes now that you’re home! Good luck and keep me posted on your Electra adventures. S.

  10. Patricia permalink
    July 22, 2010 22:13

    Hi S., I’m just catching up on your latest posts – a couple of weeks ago we did a family bike tour from Passau to just before Vienna. Austria is also bike mad! We passed through Linz and that looked especially well suited to commuting by bike, but really, the bike lanes were everywhere in all the towns and villages we passed through and it was quite easy to navigate along the Danube. Even when I lived in Kassel 30 years ago (yikes!) there were bike lanes -so far ahead of North America!!!

    • July 23, 2010 13:53

      Your trip sounds wonderful! I love so many of those places you mentioned! S.

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