Friday, November 19, 2010

One more bike

I had moaned about the rubbish bike parking outside Helsinki station the other week, so I thought I better balance it with better biking infrastructure that the city have put in place not far away. This bike parking accepts that you have to lock the frame of your bike to a permanent structure for it to be safe. It even includes a chain to help you keep your front wheel safe. Very good stuff. I thought this bike looked great as well. Interestingly Pinnacle, the make, is the house brand of Evan’s, a London chain of cycle shops. I guess someone has imported this one – maybe a Finn coming home from London or perhaps even another biking Brit in Helsinki?

People reckon dog owners pick mutts that resemble them but what can you guess from a bike about its owner? Pinnacle: so someone from or who has lived in SE England? A sensible city bike (great brakes and gearing) using a high quality lock and the good bike park: someone from a city where if you don’t look after your bike, it gets nicked. The bike parking is very close to one of the big, private language teaching firms – where I once worked many moons ago – so possibly a TEFL teacher? Studded tyres and mudguards in place perhaps a bit earlier than necessary – first winter riding in Finland? So my money is on a relatively-new-to-Helsinki English teacher previously living in London. If you know that the bike belongs to a 50 year old Finnish piano tuner who hasn’t been to the UK since a brief holiday in the early 1970s, please feel free to leave mocking comments at my wannabe-sleuth skills.

Meanwhile, whilst still on biking vibe, Coming Thru points out the problem of bike vandalism in Helsinki and how smashed up bikes just get left to rot and scare away other cyclists from leaving their bikes in the same place. Say what you want about civil liberties, but do that at a train station in the UK, and you’ll be on film. Finland seems to have a bit of problem as to whose responsibility it is to move such abandoned things: for years I noticed the huge numbers of abandoned cars all around Helsinki. They slowly would become more and more vandalized – it just seemed to become ‘normal’ to just leave cars where they had broken down – even on the hard shoulder of major roads. Helsingin Sanomat eventually did a big ‘expose’ on the issue and it seemed to be that the city, highway authorities and police all argued that it wasn’t their responsibility. Broken bikes – particularly locked ones – seem to fall between similar gaps.

It is ‘proper snowy’ today, but here is a pretty picture from Sunday, Fathers’ day in Finland, whilst out cycling with my son and Dad.

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