The Bike and ride cycle parking in Malmö. Photo: Bike and ride.
On my way down to Berlin recently, I spent a few hours in Malmö waiting for the night train. Now Malmö isn’t only one of the cities in the Swedish forefront of urban gardening and with a bike kitchen that I envy them. Malmö is also a good place for those who commute by bicycle and train.
In the southern part of the city, just above the railway tracks of the train station Hyllie (which is also the last one on the Swedish side before the train crosses the border to Denmark), you can find Malmö’s (and maybe Sweden’s?) first “Bike and Ride”.
This is a staffed centre where people can leave their bikes in safe custody while they are at work. And there are a lot of people going this way to work every morning. According to the region of Skåne, there were about 20000 persons commuting between Copenhagen and Malmö already in 2009, and almost half of them by train.
Today I reckon they are even more.
It’s free of charge to park your bike here, and there are also a place where you can clean your bike, pump the tyres and make simpler repairing work. For those who want to switch between their cyclist personality and a slick office outfit, there are also showers and lockers for helmets and rain clothes.
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30.000 kilometers is a long distance. An extremely long distance, even. If Johan Ernst Nilson makes it, he will be the first person in the world to travel between the two poles in a climate neutral way. Photo: Pole2Pole.
If the Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson is to be considered courageous or slightly crazy, I will leave up to everyone to decide for themselves. but no doubt it’s a big challenge he has take on: Traveling from the North pole to the South pole – by climate neutral means of transport.
Skis, kites, dogsleds, solar poert, bikes and sailboat has been his ans his crew’s means of conveyance ever since they started their trip on April 6 last year. Their goal is to reach the Antarctic about one year later.
So, why does Johan Ernst Nilson do this?
The way I see it, I have an important message to communicate. My mission is to raise awareness and empower all of us to choose sustainable solutions. I know from previous expeditions that people listen and both individuals and corporations are inspired to act more sustainably themselves in the future.
he writes on his expedition blog. Read more » >>
The estate of Katrinetorp is one of the places that Natur- och kulturbussen points out.
As many other weather-obsessed Swedes I’m eagerly following the progress of spring. Light mornings and days of sunlight don’t only make me wake up insanely early in the morning, it also awakes my longing for making excursions. I’m longing for wild forests, peaceful canals, old parks surrounding castles, small secret cafés… well, I simply want to get out of the city.
In most places it’s perfectly possible to do this without a car, it just requires some research. Where exactly is that field filled with dancing cranes? And what bus stop would be the right one to get off at?
In the province of Skåne in the South of Sweden, there’s no need for that research. A few years ago they started a project called Natur- och kulturbussen (”the nature and culture bus”). The project’s web page (some information in English) lists interesting nature areas, places to visit and nature and/or culture related things to do, all within the reach of public transport, and with a link to the public transport planner, showing how to get there.
Dalby hage. Photo: Lotten Pålsson.
When I speak to Sofie Norrby, who is project leader for Natur- och kulturbussen, she tells me that the idea behind this project is to encourage people to get out more, and quotes various studies showing how well-being and performance increase when we spend time outside. She also tells me that the arranged activities, where people can visit a new place together with others, works as an easy way to discover places where many wouldn’t otherwise dare to go to. Having been showed once how to get there, where to find the toilets/food/best spots, its easy to come back, bring your friends and become their guide.
Ready to go! Photo: Anna_T/Flickr.
The snow is falling down in big fluffy flakes outside my window and although it’s wonderful to be able to go cross country skiing, I must admit I have started to long for the bike season. Since Stockholm’s streets were covered in ice a few months ago I’ve been to much of a coward to get up on the wheels.
To feed my bike-starved mind I tend to lose myself in other people’s grand plans.
One great inspiration right now is Peter Dahlström and his girlfriend, who simply took their bikes and pedalled their way from Sweden to Paris in July last summer. I don’t know if I can think of a better way to see Europe – or Sweden for that matter. This summer Peter Dahlström is planning to make a bike tour along the edges of Sweden, a distance longer than 4000 kilometers… but not impossible in one summer, he points out!
Watching the video they made from their Paris trip makes me think about my own summer plans. I just received the good news that a friend is getting married in Greece in July, so it seems like there’s going to be a nice train adventure ahead, since I realize going to Greece by bike would take me a bit too long.
But someone who is firmly determined to go on an even greater bike trip is 20 year old Emil Börner, who will cycle all the way from Stockholm to Beijing. He had already planned his trip in detail, when he broke his back in an accident last spring. But after months of rehabilitation he is now again on his way, and will leave Sweden the 20:th of March. This time combining the trip of his dreams with a charity project to help others who have disabilities.
What I almost like the best with this video below, from the Sweden-Paris trip, is the end message: You don’t need a car to see the world. I agree!
From bicycle, with love from Bikeforlife on Vimeo.
A typical day in Thail... Or, wait, look at the birch trees in the background, it's Jämtland! Photo: Tage Levin.
As I have written here earlier many Swedes chose a ”Swecation” this summer. And for a while I was impressed with the environmentally conscious Swedish holidaymakers. Until I happened to read an article in the Swedish travel magazine Vagabond with the obvious (although not very modest) explanation: There’s no reason to leave Sweden since everything that exists abroad exists here too!
To mention a few examples:
- Russia has the trans-Siberian railway. Sweden has the Lapland train, going from Malmö in the very South of Sweden and all the way up to Narvik in Norway.
Gotska Sandön. Photo: Vino Rosso/Flickr.
No real need to go to beautiful beaches far away either, since Sweden has Gotska Sandön, an island in the Baltic sea with miles of sandy beaches. Gotska Sandön is a national park, which also has an interesting flora.
- Going on a lion safari in Kenya can be a powerful experience, but Sweden also has its wilderness, populated by exotic animals. In Västmanland you can go on moose safaris and sleep in the huts that charcoal-burners used to live in.
- You might not believe it, but even Thailand can be found up north. In Ragunda in the province of Jämtland a Thai pavillion was constructed in the late 1990:s, to commemorate a visit made by the king Chulalongkorn in the beginning of last century. In Fredrika in the province of Västerbotten a Buddharama temple is also being built.