During the past few years the bicycle has been rising in popularity as a choice of transport within Helsinki especially among young adults. Or it might have always been popular, I don’t care, I don’t know, I haven’t lived in the capital long enough to have collected observations from a long period. In either case, it’s one of the most talked about modes of transport today. Bicyclists have become more vocal about demanding proper bicycle lanes in the city which fortunately hasn’t been planned with bicycles in mind. Recently lanes for these atrocities have started showing up where there used to be none and one of the most recent developments include car-shaped bicycle racks in the city to demonstrate how many bikes can fit in the space a single car takes up. (Adorable, really.) Sure, there is no denying that in the city center the bicycle is the faster, more ecological, more economical and less space-demanding vehicle. It requires no fuel, it’s light and quiet, it’s customizable and has even turned into a bit of an urban fashion/lifestyle icon with old models fetching questionably hefty prices. I count an old rusty bike for sale for 200 € as one of the most mind-boggling sights I’ve come across in Helsinki. What the hell, honestly?! But some hipster probably bought it anyway and is happily cycling away on it, his/her floppy fringe swaying in the breeze.
To the fiery pit with this! I loathe cycling and bicycles and wish I could make a massive bonfire of them and dance around it as they’re reduced to bent metal and ash. I hate the way they look, the bell sounds and the ridiculously bug-like helmets some cyclists actually wear (don’t even get me started on the shorts) and… I simply cannot figure out why anyone would choose a bicycle over a bus /tram/train/anything ride in a city with such good public transport. I did my time with the bicycle as a teenager when it was my way of getting to school and home. However, the second I passed my driver’s test, the bike was kicked to the back of the yard as I took my place behind the steering wheel, my ass comfortably on a lovely, heated leather seat. It didn’t matter if I had to wake up early to give my mother a lift to work and then go home and wait for quite a while before I had to go to school myself. It was worth it. The evil, cold world outside, me in my metal vessel gliding through it, splashing a cyclist with water every now and then, bwahahaha.
While the 65A doesn’t provide me with this level of entertainment, I’m still safer from the elements than the bugger on the bike, in the 60 cm space between the bus and parked cars. What demon possesses a person to straddle a bunch of metal pipes and peddle away is a hell-spawn no one should mess with. In those dreadful moments when a cyclist is heading in my direction on the pedestrian lane, I hardly see a sustainable mode of transport, the key to the future city or whatever overly ambitious title might be given to the bicycle. In those moments, I know what a bowling pin must feel like just before a strike. Like the end is nigh.
Which reminds me, I’d better watch out for those things after this article gets out…