Danish Modern : An Interview with Mikael Colville-Andersen

By John Greenfield
Photos by Mikael Colville-Andersen

Source: urbanvelo34 (PDF)


Mikael Colville-Andersen and Children
© Mary Embry

As “The Pope of Urban Cycling,” Mikael Colville- Andersen is one of today’s leading bicycle advocates, but also one of the most controversial.

He’s known as the kingpin of the stylish cycling movement via his award-winning photo blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic (www.copenhagencyclechic.com). The site mostly features candid photographs of attractive, welldressed women on wheels, for a largely female readership.

For his day job as CEO of Copenhagenize (www. copenhagenize.com), a nine-person transportation consulting firm, he travels to cities around the world, advising politicians, planners and advocates on ways to emulate the success of the bike-friendly Danish capital.

Mikael’s blogs have a global following—Cycle Chic has inspired some 150 spin-offs in other cities.

He’s also a sought-after public speaker who gave the keynote address at this year’s Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference in Long Beach, California. But he’s not without his critics. His outspoken opposition to helmet promotion troubles many North American advocates. And at least two female bike bloggers have critiqued his Cycle Chic aesthetic and rhetoric as being sexist, elitist and counterproductive for encouraging regular folks to ride.

In July I visited Copenhagen for the first time and, as advertised, it’s a biker’s paradise with mellow traffic, grade-separated bike lanes on all major streets and good-looking, stylish people on classy Dutch cycles everywhere you turn. I met up with Mikael, a bright- Left: The photo that started it all.

eyed, energetic man, at his flat in the Frederiksberg district. We sipped cans of Carlsberg as his young kids Felix and Lulu practiced soccer and picked flowers in their lush back yard. Mikael and I discussed his views on helmets, the differences between Copenhagen and Amsterdam, why he’s underwhelmed by Portland, and why bikes should be marketed more like vacuum cleaners.

(Review view the source link above to read the entire article and view the wonderful photos.)