Friday Funny: Denmark vs. U.S. in an Epic Rap Battle Between Bike Advocates

A cartoon by Streetsblog blogger John Greenfield imagines a fictitious rap battle in the style of the popular YouTube channel, "Epic Rap Battles from History"—except the rap battle is between two luminaries of the bike advocacy movement.

2 minute read

November 21, 2014, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Rap Battle

John Greenfield / Forester vs. Colville-Andersen

On one side is Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of Copenhagenize Design Company. Copenhagen, of course, is looked upon as the worldwide leader in bike infrastructure and a style of urbanism not completely modeled on the car. Thus, many bike advocates are smitten with the benefits of living in Denmark, and Colville-Andersen tours the world, sharing lessons of Copenhagen's successes.

On the other side is John Forester, a Californian who helped write the book on "vehicular cycling." Literally, he wrote the book Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers, which provides much of the legal and technical background for the advance of bike infrastructure in the United States.

Two luminaries, two strings of "insults" lobbed at each other's way of doing things. Surely, both figures are a bit of a proxy for bike movements on either side of the Atlantic Ocean—with Forester's safety accouterments and Colville-Andersen's impeccable attire called to task, among other barbs.

The cartoon was drawn by Streetsblog Chicago blogger John Greenfield with lyrics by Greenfield, Tanya Snyder, and the Streetsblog staff. Greenfield was kind enough to allows us to share the cartoon here (the original cartoon was published on Twitter), and even sent along these outtakes from the drafting process that got left on the cutting room floor (consider this post a bonus-feature-packed DVD):

8 to 80, I say that's whack
If you don't look great in Lycra you can't ride in my pack

If you're impressed with US cycletracks I'd say you are mistaken
You gotta come and take a look at what we do in Copenhagen

Who's Isabella? I don't know that demographic
I just hang with folks who like to ride in traffic
[Isabella is People for Bikes’ poster child for protected bike lanes:…]

Come to Copenhagen, I'll show you Cycle Chic
You won't need that helmet, bet you wear it when you sleep

Euro-style cycle tracks cause me pain
You don't need a bikeway, just a wide curb lane

Cars and bikes sharing the road -- are you some kind of ding-a-ling?
"Gotta keep 'em separated," just like The Offspring

You think you need a dedicated lane to save your tush?
I'll tell you what I think about that [Smoosh]

I'm sure there are politicians in city halls all over the country who would be surprised that there are nuances to the agenda of the "All Powerful Bike Lobby," or, for that matter, that bike advocates have a sense of humor.

[If you're confused about the "Epic Rap Battles of History," please visit the YouTube channel that made such debates possible.]

Aerial view of Eugene, Oregon at dusk with mountains in background.

Eugene Ends Parking Minimums

In a move that complies with a state law aimed at reducing transportation emissions, Eugene amended its parking rules to eliminate minimum requirements and set maximum parking lot sizes.

December 3, 2023 - NBC 16

Green Paris Texas city limit sign with population.

How Paris, Texas Became a ‘Unicorn’ for Rural Transit

A robust coalition of advocates in the town of 25,000 brought together the funding and resources to launch a popular bus service that some residents see as a mobility lifeline—and a social club.

November 30, 2023 - Texas Monthly

SMall backyard cottage ADU in San Diego, California.

San Diegans at Odds Over ‘Granny Towers’

A provision in the city’s ADU ordinance allows developers to build an essentially unlimited number of units on single-family lots.

November 29, 2023 - CALmatters

Aerial view of mobile home park with mature trees in Rochester, New York.

New York Strengthens Protections for Mobile Home Park Residents

Modular home owners will get the first right of refusal when park owners want to sell residential parks.

10 minutes ago - Spectrum News

Aerial view of Palo Alto, California at sunrise.

Palo Alto Expands Church ‘Safe Parking’ Program

The city is considering adding commercial lots to the program, which provides safe parking and amenities for people living in cars.

December 6 - ABC 7 News

View of green oil wells in a residential neighborhood in California.

Report: California’s Orphan Wells Still Pose Health Risks

Tens of thousands of idle oil wells litter the state. Taxpayers are often on the hook for cleanup.

December 6 - LAist

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

"Rethinking Commuter Rail" podcast & Intercity Bus E-News

Chaddick Institute at DePaul University

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.