Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Role of Bikes in German Society

July 4, 2014 - Hamburg, Germany. By Ansberto Vallejo.

Here I am trying an unicycle.
Along with the general information provided by the Museum Der Arbeit (Museum of Work), on the organization of work in the context of the manufacturing industry, the CWE crew also toured the museum’s Das Fahrrad (The Bicycle) exhibition which is on display from May 2014 to March 2015. The Bicycle is a great timing exhibition since it illustrates the importance of how this technology contributes to Germany’s work, culture and social life. The bicycle is a critical component of German’s society as many rely on it as an alternative way of transportation to and from work, which lessens automobile traffic and it provides a safer and cleaner environment with less noise for many to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Bicycle exhibition provides an array of bikes that covers 2,000 square feet and includes bicycles that represent a span of over 200 years including one of the first German bikes (unicycles) of the company diamond Eagle (1885). This particular bicycle was owned by those who were wealthy and provided them with a high status symbol.

Butcher's bike.
The Museum of Work volunteers were very helpful and provided valuable anecdotal information pertaining to each bikes role and purpose. For example, the bicycle pictured on the right is known as the butcher’s bike since the rider would travel to different towns and villages providing for and sharpening the knives or other tools used by butchers.

Now, if we could only convince Dr. Hernandez with riding bikes when exploring Bremen, I would strongly suggest tandem bikes (see picture of one below). Although, we would need a couple of tandems, this proposal would save having to do a head count at every stop.

Whether one utilizes the bicycle for transportation, leisure, sport, or for exercise, this machine has been evolving along with its purpose/role and some societies have learned to embrace it as an integral part of their way of life such as in Bremen where the city has designated bike paths and are respected by pedestrians and automobile drivers.

See other pictures below:

Shetay Ashford trying a unicycle.
Tandem bike.
Biking about town in Bremen.