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Hello lovely friends, you really are looking fabulous. I'd ask your secret but I know you wouldn't tell me.

This week I visited wonderful Copenhagen. If you haven't, and you can, do. I'd been through for work but not had the chance to linger. Already I look forward to returning.
Micromobility: This city takes cycling seriously. There's a proper cycle infrastructure that would put many capitals to shame. Drivers familiar with looking out for cyclists, plus cyclists that are (perhaps by lack of persecution) respectful and patient with pedestrians. It's not faultless: there are so many cyclists that rush-hour congestion is common. But on balance, bike congestion beats car congestion.

Into this mix comes a newcomer: the dockless electric rideshare scooter. VOI πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ and Tier πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ are the most visible providers here. Wherever they're introduced, electric scooters polarise opinions. I've been interested in both the hardware and usage for a while.

If you're travelling alone, and the weather isn't horrible, there are lots of things about cars that don't make much sense. Their speed, size and weight are at odds with the available space in most urban areas. So the idea of micromobility keeps on. Aside from bikes there's been a good few powered or semi-powered ideas: from the CityEl πŸ‡©πŸ‡° and Renault Twizy πŸ‡«πŸ‡· to the Sinclair C5 πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§, Segway PT πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ, self-balancing boards and electric unicycles. All of these straddle a fine line between realistic transport option of the near future and indulgent, unnecessary gadget, and each highlights at least one limitation of urban infrastructure.

For my money, though, the electric scooter is the closest yet. They're small and narrow, attractive and highly usable, not inherently dangerous to pedestrians, and they don't hide the rider from other road users. Further, the economics are broadly right: the large number of rideshare startups (including Uber πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ and Ford πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ) show how easy they are to take to the streets (contrast with, say, the multiple billions needed to fund development of autonomous vehicles).

But even so they have substantial limitations: their speed profile is at times too fast (for pavements) and at other times too slow (for cycle lanes). Small wheels make the scooters dependent on very good paved surfaces for smooth running and rider safety. Every city has its own set of regulatory concerns. There's seemingly no way of parking them that doesn't inconvenience someone. In environmental terms, lithium batteries are a lousy power source. And people using them in an irresponsible way is not only dangerous but makes them seem like a bad idea.

Still, irresponsible use is one of the aspects that I think makes electric scooters so interesting. From spam to ram-raiding to trolling to heroin, a good indicator of success is the degree to which something is abused. πŸ›΄
🎩 Whitby Goth Weekend starts on Friday: the semi-annual seaside get-together of the Goth community. Photographer David Severn has captured the event's haunting romance.

πŸ•³ First-ever photo of a black hole is expected now, or even an hour ago as you read this, courtesy of the Event Horizon Telescope. Here's a liveblog to guide us through the press conference.

🎧 A 100-Podcast Syllabus has some great, predominantly American, suggestions for those coming to podcasts recently. If/when you start to feel like you're drowning, get a better player. I can strongly recommend Pocket Casts.

🏠 Bauhaus in pictures: The architects exiled by Nazis came to  mind wandering through the wonderful Designmuseum Danmark.
Superhighway: Exploring Copenhagen on foot made me wonder whether there's an inverse correlation between a place's car-manufacturing heritage and the health of its cycle culture. Urban designer Mikael Colville-Andersen uses data about road usage in Copenhagen to argue that cycles have the potential to transform cities around the world.

Perhaps a city with such well-established cycle culture doesn't feel an immediate benefit from a matrix of personal transport options. But there are many kinds of transportation needs between walking and driving that bikes alone do not fill. Ten years from now, three or four classes of urban transport isn't going to be sufficient: I anticipate a great many different approaches, finely tuned to the individual's preference and journey. The challenge will be how to modify the infrastructure so that they can all coexist and interchange successfully.
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Finally: Armoured Cats are coming. Last year's April Fool prank from toymakers Bandai featured cute cats wrapped in outlandish weaponry. Now they're on the shelves in Japan. 😼

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. Lovely day.
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