Copenhagen, the city of Bikes
I miss biking around Copenhagen on my lovely yellow bike. Often, I would bike to the seaside, with a little picnic basket and that was really amazing. It was pretty scary at first to get back on the saddle after 10 years. But when you live in Copenhagen it’s hard to avoid the bike. And, I decided to conquer my fears and ride to the challenge.
Copenhagen is one of the topmost bike-friendly cities in the world. Bikers get priority over all other forms of transport. You can carry your bike on the train and there are lanes dedicated to bikes all around the city. The orchestra of speeding bikers passing by effortlessly is mesmerizing to watch. The whole city is dancing in harmony to the tunes of the bikers and everything just seems to flow. And for first timers, that can be pretty overwhelming.
Learn from the locals
Over 60% of the population bikes in Copenhagen, whether it is raining or snowing or the wind blowing. There are more bikes that the inhabitants in the city, especially since the country’s terrain is so flat. It’s normal to bike to work with a cup of morning coffee in your hand. Even to social gatherings, to buy groceries, to explore the countryside, and the bars at night. Biking has been a symbol of society’s freedom and equality since the 1920s. Can you believe it, even the politicians ride their bikes to the parliament!
For the Danes, it all begins from childhood, the kids must learn to brave all sorts of weather conditions to the bike. The biking culture is deeply rooted in Denmark. If you plan to live or visit Copenhagen, your bike will be your new best friend! But, learn the codes and biking etiquette’s of the city to avoid flustered and annoyed cyclists. They expect you to know what you are doing. So practice out on the country roads and do your research before you take on the city with your bike.
Bike and sustainability
When it comes to sustainability, Copenhagen has grand ambitions and wants to be carbon neutral by 2025. And, building an infrastructure for bikers is a big part of that plan. By inspiring tourists to make more sustainable choices,Copenhagen wants to transition to sustainability by encouraging certain practices.
There are many guided biking tours around Copenhagen to make tourism more sustainable. Now you can rent bikes from various venues to explore the city. My favourite part of travelling is exploring the gastronomy of a culture. You can experience a culinary bike tour to sample the local food off the beatentrack. https://foodsofcopenhagen.com/culinary-bike-tour/
An Eco friendly option
In the recent years, Copenhagen has also seen an emergence of food bikes. This was to encourage start ups and creative entrepreneurs. I will be sharing a separate post on food bikes and culinary tours in Copenhagen in the near future. You see, it was my goal to start my own food bike while I was there, but that never happened. We chose to live in the mountains of beautiful Norway. Although, the concept and the dream continues to remain close to my heart.
Biking is an Eco-friendly mode of transport, it reduces the carbon footprint, by cutting down transport greenhouse gas emissions. It’s sustainable and has a positive effect on both society and the environment. It’s a cost-effective way and healthy. I love that it encourages slow travel, instead of hopping around from place to place. It reveals the real vibe and culture of a place, you can stop where you want and take off when you want. A great way to meet the locals and see places where no public transport could take you. Biking gives you a sense of freedom to experience the smells, sights and sounds that you might miss when travelling by car. Having said that, I must admit, I have only ever biked in the city, never cross city or country.
Biking around the Globe
I met this guy in Copenhagen who had biked all the way from Finland to Denmark. He had travelled across Europe relying solely on his bike. Fed up of his 9-5 job, he took off with his bike. He wanted complete freedom in his life. So besides biking, he was sleeping in public parks and benches. Days where he had to squat in construction sites and go dumpster diving for food. Often he relied on the kindness of others, and worked his way through cities, villages, and different countries. He was truly engaging with the local community. He gave back by engaging with the homeless as through his journey he could relate to how they felt. Many choose to go homeless, the pressure’s of high rent, jobs and lifestyle are just too much. Isn’t that a reflection of where we are all heading. Is the rat race really worth the depression and insecurity? Where breaking down is just inevitable. Something we all really need to think about. Perhaps a big shift towards slowing down, breaking the expectations of the algorithms is what our world needs. Can you relate to this?
Biking and reality
The freedom of taking off on a bike to travel the world sounds truly inspiring. But, I know it’s not something I could sustain for various reasons, the top list being my fitness levels and stamina. Perhaps I could build my fitness to a level where I could take off for months living off my bike. After all the whole concept of slow travel, freedom to stop and explore the little villages, without having to rely on public transport and time constraints is truly appealing. But, honestly, I don’t have the courage to keep pedalling on long lonely isolated roads for hours. Besides being exhausted to also apply my sensibilities in stressing about finding food and accommodation. And that’s the truth! It’s better to know your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses for sustainable travel. It’s definitely not for everybody. But, my true respect and regard to those who dared and had the courage to follow it through. I would love to hear your stories if you can or plan to embark on this journey.
But if like me, you can’t, then lets learn from the Danes and let’s keep biking. Perhaps when you are visiting a city, rent a bike. Slow down to stop and look around, try to connect with nature, with the locals. Find your freedom in losing yourself off the beaten tracks, go local and go green!
Go biking around Copenhagen, you will love it!