Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bikes of Uppsala

The city of Uppsala has more bicycles than a person can reasonably fathom. My brother likes riding his bicycle to work in a place that is not very bicycle-friendly (as in, not many bike paths and cars are not friendly to bicycles on the road). He came to visit me and was astounded by the number of bicycles. He said something like, "I know you said there were a lot of bicycles, but I never imagined this!" And from a brother whose speech usually doesn't necessitate exclamation points, that really means something.

And even though I've been living here for awhile, I just keep being amazed by the bicycles. Last week we were getting maybe two inches of new snow each day, so there was a lot of loose snow on the paths, making them a bit more difficult to pass with bicycles. But that didn't stop people from trying! No, it certainly did not!

I heard a story about seeing a bicycle do a full 360 in those kind of conditions, and then proceeding to continue on her way. That doesn't even happen in movies!

So for awhile now, I've been thinking about how I'd like to start taking pictures for a photo series I'd call The Bikes of Uppsala.

The number of bicycles around would make it easy. And I just love seeing the different people on the different bicycles, in their different outfits, and carrying their different things. I'd love to document that with photos.

The problem is that I am incredibly hesitant about taking pictures of strangers. What if someone gets really upset and yells at me in Swedish? (Although typing that makes me realize that it is probably highly unlikely because Swedes never complain about anything.) I'm going to try to ease my way into it though. I can at least start out trying to take pictures in very not-obvious ways. And hopefully, the more pictures I take, the more I will lose that hesitation in order to get some superb shots. That will be the goal.

And now I present to you, my first paparazzi shot.


I had my camera hanging from my neck and hit the shutter button. I juuuuust barely got the bicycle in the frame. Here is the original, sans cropping.


I would describe this bicyclist as pretty far to the 'practical' side of the spectrum, as noted by her warm winter gear, waterproof pants (the winter slush on the roads can make things less than pleasant if you don't wear waterproof pants), tires that were probably studded, and a seat low enough to be able to get your feet on the ground if necessary.


  1. I love that they have a Unix bag. Next time, ask where they purchased it... or at which conference they were being given away.