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A ‘Backer’ – the Chinese Way.

15 Sep

In our never ending search for cool cycling signs (remember the Stylish Belgian Biker, the Hungarian Gentleman Cyclist, or the Swedish Rock Man), we accidentally ran into this one on flickr. It’s by Birger Hoppe, who was somewhat puzzled when he ran into this sign in China. Here is what he says about the matter, himself:

The one and only time I saw this weird street sign. In my interpretation it prohibits taking a second person on the bike’s back. (It’s definitely no tandem bike in the sign…there’s no second set of pedals.)

But just when I raised my camera the real bike passed by and I just managed to get ready to have this composition of sign and reality.

Maybe…maybe it’s just prohibited to have the second person facing the front and having her sitting sideways is OK…?

XiaMen 厦门, China


Looking closely at the sign, we – like Birger – are unsure whether the two Chinese are breaking the rules, or abiding by them.

What do you guys think?

A Cyclist in Sweden

8 Dec

I’ve described how Belgians see cyclists (as men with flared trousers and waving hair). I’ve also noted how Hungarians see cyclists: (as gentlemen with suits and hats). Now, we also know how Swedes see cyclists:

Dutch bicycle sign

Sturdy Cyclist Sweden

Judging by this Swedish traffic sign (designed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Transportstyrelsen)), Swedish cyclists are a lot sturdier than their Belgian and Hungarian counterparts. The Swedish silhouette – with its rectangular head and massive torso – dwarfs the bike it rides. It has made me wonder who acted as model for this sign.

Most likely, the model is wearing many layers of clothes – necessary to bear the Swedish cold. The model’s hat, sweaters, and coat give the silhouette a bulky appearance. That appearance is deceiving though, because the actual cyclist underneath those layers could be anybody; a bearded lumberjack or a tall blonde.

The other explanation is the Swedish sign is modeled after the Rock Man (from the Fantastic 4 – depicted below). That seems less likely. On the other hand: Rock Man’s weight would help explain why the bike in the traffic sign has such oversize frame tubes.

Rock Man as Cyclist

Rock Man - the Cyclist Model

Stylish Budapest Biker

9 Nov

On August 18th, we wrote about a traffic sign in Belgium. That traffic sign showed how stylish Belgian cyclists are; they cycle in flared jeans, as if they’re heading for Woodstock. Looking at the traffic sign again, I can still see the cyclist’s long hair lock bobbing; hear him humming to The Who’s Pinball Wizard, almost.

There is romance in traffic signs.

Our reader Cian has known this ever since he interrailed through Europe in 2008.

On his trip, Cian rented bicycles in cycle friendly Copenhagen and Berlin, but it was while biking in Budapest he took the picture of the most stylish sign he’d seen. On it, a Hungarian gentleman cycles slow enough for his hat to not blow off. The gentleman’s straight back and languid pace give the impression he is accustomed to giving orders; not taking them. Probably, he holds a high position with a Budapest bank in the Lipótváros District. Eastern Europeans know their classical cycling.

So, first Belgium, then Budapest – we wonder what stylish signs we’ll find next.

Attention: Stylish Cyclists Ahead

18 Aug

We were visiting Nivelles; a rural town south of Brussels. The Belgians – like the Dutch – appreciate a functional way of cycling.

This traffic sign nicely portrays Belgium’s view on a cyclist crossing.

The cyclist pictogram reveals that the typical Belgian cyclist has long trousers with a 70’s style bootleg. To prevent the flares from getting caught, the Belgian cyclist has a chain guard and mudguards mounted on his bike. Finally, the Belgian cyclist has semi long hair, with a waving lock just above the collar.

Very stylish, very functional.

Apart from the hair, of course.


Very stylish.


Very functional.


Apart from the hair, of course.