Sunday, May 2, 2010

Danish Designs

City Bikes
Now that it is summer time, the Danes have these "city bikes" locked up at bike racks through out the city. They are mostly near the train stations and near tourist attractions. All you need is one 20 kroner coin (about 4 bucks) to insert into the bike and it is yours for as long as you wish. The bikes are heavy and not the best to ride long distances so they tend to stay within the city center. The coin stays in the bike until you return it back to any of the city bike racks, giving a little extra incentive for people to return them. If they don't care about losing the 20 kroner and dump the bike, then kids, bums, or drunk people are more than happy to pick up the stranded bikes and bring them back to collect their little reward.

Energy Efficient Escalators
I thought for a while that Danish escalators were crap and frequently broken. It never dawned on me that they were always "broken" when I was alone. Until one day I decided to walk down the broken one and it started moving once I stepped on it. As it turns out, the escalators turn off when no one is riding and have sensors that switch it on when people are riding.

Bike Locks on the Bike
There are millions of bikes in Denmark. The majority of them are only locked around the back tire. There is a piece of metal attached to the frame that you can lock in between the spoke and that is enough to keep the thieves from robbing you of your bike. You don't have to carry around a u-lock or chain, only a key. Of course if you have a fancy, expensive bike it would probably get stolen regardless. The average Danish bike looks like it is from the 1920's, is usually covered in rust, and weighs about 200lbs.

Public Restrooms
The public bathrooms in Denmark are immaculate and always very private. I have never been in a stall where you can see people's feet or see through the cracks. Each stall has a real door that goes all the way to the ground. The locks have a pea sized dot on them and when the door is unlocked, the dot is white. When it is locked, the dot is red. There is no need to check under the door or knock to see if anyone is in there. The toilets have 2 flush options, low flow for #1 or heavy flow for #2. In Roskilde I used a public WOMEN's restroom and there were 3-4 stalls on the right when you walked in. The sinks were in the back and in the very back was a desk with a man sitting at it! He works in the Ladies room. He cleans down the sinks and wipes down the toilets and door handles every so often.


Joshua said...

"That kid is back on the escalator!"

Anonymous said...

Wish I knew that about the escalators when we were lugging my 50 lb suitcase up and down stairs at the train station! Oh well, it was a good workout.

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