Monday, June 28, 2010

Tomorrow's Night Train

As I was preparing for today's travels, I found this 8 Best Night Trains article on Lonely Planet. I hope it's true as that's where I am heading. When they mention AMS to CPH, does that also include the reverse? The picture has nothing to do with this, other than it was taken at night.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rosenborg Slot

This morning I am planning to use my remaining 36 hours in Copenhagen wisely by planning out and reviewing some of the major sites. The Rosenborg Slot (picture to the right) dates from 1604-34 offers "an informal, intimate glimpse of Danish royal life over the centuries". That doesn't make it sound like a lot of fun, but I haven't been to a museum yet and while that's not critical to seeing a City it's something that I think also helps round out a trip. So off to the castle and perahps the Amalienborg Museum.
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World Cup Viewing Party

I have really taken to the World Cup. It's partly due to the fact that it is played on the world stage. It's also a sport that is growing on me as it seems like a lot of skill and some luck and I don't have any idea what is going to happen. There's a certain simplicity to a 1-0 game that I can appreciate.   Denmark's national sport is supposed to be handball, but if football isn't it, I would love to see what they do when a Handball game is happening! This was the Argentina-Mexico game and the square was packed and the crowds were a lot more civil then when the Danes were playing. I could actually get into the square to see the screen. This was a Sunday night.
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Vor Frelsers Kirke - Church of Our Saviour

One of the most beautiful sites in all of the City, this Church is right in the neighborhood where I am staying. I haven't yet climbed the 400 steps to the top, but will before the end of my stay.  The church offers a 360 degree view of the City due to the spiral staircase that wraps the outside of the spire. I am looking forward to this as much as anything in the next two days!
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Skype with the Kids from the Ebeltoft to Odden Ferry

With Free internet on the ferry, I was able to Skype with the family. It was nice to connect and enjoy a little time with them when I was travelling. Such a civilized way to travel.
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Fur Brewery on Jutland

We took a long bike ride from the house near Hvalpsund to Fur and hit the Fur Breyhus (brew house). The brewery was a little off the beaten (paved) path for bikes, but we managed just fine.  
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Storebaeltsforbindelsen - Great Belt Fixed Link

Storebaeltsforbindelsen is the longest bridge in Denmark (11 miles) and connects the islands of Funen and Zealand. Before the bridge, there was ferry service which required approximately 60 minutes of travel. The bridge makes this trip a 10-minute car ride, which resulted in an increase of traffic by nearly 300% once construction was complete. This suggests some lessons for the Columbia River Crossing perhaps.
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Combined with the Oresund Bridge which connects Denmark and Sweden, one can travel by car from Sweden to Germany. The bridge was pretty impressive.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Copenhagen Day 2

Copenhagen's bicycle facilities have made a difference in bicycle use, if there's any doubt these pictures should help.   The blue bike lanes are at intersections with a high conflict volume. A significant variation on the Dutch Bike Box, I haven't completely analyzed the advantages of the cycle track. One thing is for certain here though is that since they are everywhere, there's less chance of confusion.
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Copenhagen This Week, Next Week TDF Prologue & Stage 1

There is so much in Copenhagen to see, I find my mind wandering to the bike boxes, the Copenhagen left turns, the neighborhood bollards, the cycletracks, it's all so interesting and different to what we're used to back in the states. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that there are more bikes than cars at most intersections. Amazing!
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But the Tour de France is calling right around the corner and I got a message about the Tour preview guide from Bicycling Magazine, so had to steal the route maps and post them here for fun. It is a bit odd that we'll be watching the Tour de France from the Netherlands, but alas, just another reason to come back to visit in the future.


Copenhagen Day 2

Carlsberg Brewery, Velo-City Global Conference Bike Parade, and watching Danes with the Danes in World Cup Soccer. What a day!  
The Carlsberg Brewery was a good tour, especially considering the two freshly poured Carlsberg beers we enjoyed in beautiful weather. The brewery tour was very informative and had a fair amount of information that we couldn't cram into the short time that we had, since we had to get back for the Velocities Bike Parade.
At the parade, we met up with Peter Furth, who I will see again when we are in Delft, but we caught up with him and had a nice talk throughout the parade and enjoyed the sites of Copenhagen as we rolled slowly through the streets. Even with corked intersections, there were a lot of delays. Some of the largest delays appeared to be where we conflicted with other bike flows on the street. We were in the street more often than not and when we would turn right, we'd have to cross the cycle track traffic. Streetsfilms was along for the ride, so I defintitely will try to link back to the story they put out that pieces the amazing elements of the conference to this part of the event.

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Copenhagen Day 1

Arrived in Copenhagen and found that my luggage had not arrived with me. Not a great start to the trip, but alas, it had to happen sometime, and it has been a long time since that happened to me on a trip (yet I don't often check bags.... is that why?)
Not soon after getting to the apartment I was staying, I got on a bike. I was really lucky to have Paul to show me around, it is always great to let a local do the navigating. After a nice bike trip around, we headed to the canals for a tour by boat. The canals remind me of Amsterdam, yet there are fewer and the ones that we were on seem like major facilities as opposed to neighborhood inlets that are only used by pleasure craft. It's one of those skills that would be fun to have, but then again I am not sure when I would need it unless the water was more accessible (financially and time wise). Being from River City, I can't say I am geographically far away, but it is another hobby one would have to make time for.
We were fortunate to have good assistance from an experienced sailor, as Geska's son was lending us a hand in getting the boat ready. It was a good thing too because I am not a nautical person.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day and Susan's Bday

Good times in the Koonce household.   We're getting through one of the wettest May-June periods that I can remember and we have only made it about 80 degrees once thus far in 2010. That hasn't stopped us from having loads of fun with various activities even with some minor bumps and bruises between my straining my back lifting Abby.
  Susan's birthday was a nice time as we went out to the local Thai and had a nice dinner with the kids. Came back to the house for a dessert and really enjoyed the walk on a nice evening in the 'hood.
  Father's Day was great as we started by watching the World Cup with the McConnells and had breakfast. I wasn't sure we would but we ended up heading out to Estacada to celebrate Father's Day with Danny. It was a nice way to end the weekend.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

LGRAB Summer Games, Part II: Learning Experiences

There's this great contest on a blog that I have read (after reading and so I am blogging about a blog. What's this world coming to?

Anyhow, here are the tasks for this session:

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences
Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
Decorate your bike
Read a book about cycling
Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

This was an easy one for me. I switched pedals onto the new bike and took pedals off Susan's since she had the fall in February and didn't want to be clipped in all the time.

We decorated our bikes for the Grand Floral Parade. My bike and the kids'. I am reading the Time Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael, but I haven't gotten through half of it, so I am not sure that's fair to list that one. Then finally, we competed in the Fiets of Parenthood at Clevercyclces on Saturday and carried a mock load on the bike. We took 2nd place in the fiets event and even got captured on flickr.

Since we own nearly every bike known to mankind, I had better not test ride another bike. I will leave that to Susan, who wants a new bike!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grand Floral Parade

This Saturday, we rode in the parade with the Mayor's contingent of biking staff. The announcers didn't really call us staff probably because that might sound like we were "on the job" as opposed to just there having a good time. We rolled in and the first float we came across was this one from the Vancouver/Washougal folks and their princesses. It was pretty neat and the girls really liked it. There were lady bugs on it and that definitely caught her eye. We arrived with enough time to get sunscreen on and decorate our bikes with red ribbon and flowers provided by the organizers. The girls got a kick out of the flowers on their bikes, although Abby didn't like the rose that attached to her helmet (it was poky).
Susan is noticeably absent in the pictures because she was at the beach with Sheila enjoying some time away. The 4 mile ride was pretty slow going with lots of stops for the trains and the performances of the various bands that were in front of us. All in all a good experience, one I hadn't done for almost 20 years.
The Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air float was pretty neat, it had the Made in Oregon, White Stag sign as well as the Portland sign that signifies the Theater on Broadway. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bike Commute to Abby's School on Sellwood Boulevard

I couldn't believe it on Monday as I was taking Abby to school in the morning, I was being screamed at on Sellwood Boulevard while biking side by side with her. The person in the car was yelling to get out of her way and to "teach my kid to do something productive" and to "get out of the lane" (there's no lane "there" to go into).

I am not sure what my point is other than to share with you that this is part of the reality of what cyclists have to deal with. I had another experience on SE Stark Street awhile back where a person in their car honked and sped by Abby and I (while she was on the tag along) when we were going the speed limit (downhill)!

If it weren't for the politics being in the right place while I work for the City, I wouldn't be fortunate enough to work on making our bicycle infrastructure better every day. Some of my staff have suggested that we are discriminating against modes other than bicycles. To that I counter that there are so many facilities that are the reverse, that we need to work toward balancing the infrastructure.

I am hopeful to make all of the members of our community enticed to try to put themselves on a bike to experience life on two wheels.

With that being the goal, I would hope to have fewer experiences like the one we did this morning.

Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games, Part 1

I am a fan of games and events and of course mixing cycling into that makes for a good time in my book, so when the bloggers at Let's Go Ride a Bike came up with a event that suggests you get out and do the things that completes at least two events in each of the three categories will be entered to win the Batavus BuB by random drawing.

So, we've gone on a ride with the family (see picture) and as the City Signal Engineer, I often say hello to people at
a red light. In fact, on one day I stopped and talked to one of the electricians that works for the City for about 30 minutes while the traffic signal cabinet door was open and he was performing maintenance.