- Bicycle Culture by Design: August 2007

Mum, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

I assume she had just dropped her kid off at day care and was heading to work. Many parents have these trailer bikes. The kid learns balance and can help pedal, or they can just relax.

Most Danish kids learn to ride bikes earlier than in other countries. My son was scooting along the bike lanes, with me right behind, when he was 3 and half with training wheels. Just after he turned four, he learned to ride and we took the training wheels off.

The Danish Traffic Safety Board doesn't recommend that kids under seven ride unaccompanied on the bike lanes.


image not found

FRB Hospital Bike, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

This design of bike have been the workhorses of Copenhagen for decades. This one was spotted at Frederiksberg Hospital. It's used, I believe, for delivering internal post around the large complex.


image not found

Beans, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

While this might look odd to some, it's just another day on the bike lanes of Copenhagen.

The man's bean bag had to get home somehow.


image not found

Flower Box, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

There are just as many ways to personalise your bike as there are Copenhageners to do it.
Many Copenhagen women adorn their bike baskets with flowers. Some real, most plastic. But lovely all the same.


image not found

Cycling Weather, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

This is from one of the national newspapers here in Denmark. A daily forecast for Cycling Weather, including wind strength and direction and a reminder for when it is mandatory for turning on your bike lights.
Commuting by bike is serious business in Denmark.


image not found

Zoo Bikes, originally uploaded by Zakkalicousness.

At the Copenhagen Zoo, just outside the city centre, they use bikes to get around and to transport feed and equipment. These bikes belong to the Tapir House.

Whether or not the tapirs can ride them is unknown at time of posting. 


image not found

The Royal Danish Post, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

The Royal Danish Post has, not surprisingly, a massive fleet of custom-designed bikes. Sturdy and practical, complete with heavy-duty kickstands under the front carrier (on wheels so you just have to hop on and ride and they pop up again - saving time) and a water bottle holder.

I was a postman on Saturdays for a period a few years back. The bikes are surprisingly easy to ride, even with a full load. Some of the routes in the city centre use Christiania bikes with even more cargo space.

The postal carrier on the right could easily slide ride into the theme over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic


image not found

A Suggestion, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Among cyclists in Copenhagen hand signals are not excercised with buckled elbows and stiff fingers, but rather mere suggestion: if somebody wants to stop or turn right they merely raise a vague, crooked finger and the whole mass of cyclists veer out of the way.


Danish Design is world-renowned for many reasons. And it is only natural that our design tradition extends to our love affair with bikes and bicyle culture.

It is also only natural that the world's most prestigious design awards are based in Copenhagen. This year at the INDEX:2007 [International Design Exhibition - Design for Life] Awards the Danish designer Troels Pedersen was awarded for his new iFlasher bike lights in the Community category.

The iFlasher, currently in production at Reelight, is a step up the ladder in the evolution of battery-free bike lights. These Reliable Electrodynamic Bike Lights are run by magnets positioned on the spokes and they will always flash as long as you pedal.

Gone are the days of forgetting your bike lights at home. They're always with you. And you no longer need environmentally negative batteries.
It has long been the law in Scandinavia and Holland that cars must have their headlights turned on at all times. Extensive studies show that this reduces accidents and increases safety.

The same thing applies to the iFlasher. Danish studies show that with bike lights on 24 hours a day, the risk of accidents including bikes falls by 33%. Simple and effective traffic safety.

Danish bike light laws are very detailed and strict and the Reelights fits perfectly into the laws. 


image not found

Cool Long John, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

A very old school bike, which we call a Long John. My dad rode one back in the 40's when he was working as a delivery boy. Goods are placed in the rack in the middle of the frame.

I have no idea what the grey rack thing is that the guy in the photo built. Just another unique bike on the bike lanes of Copenhagen.

Addendum: I saw this guy later carrying a bass. So he customised it to carry the instrument. Cool. 


image not found

Family Bike, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

You have to admit that Copenhageners are creative when it comes to their bikes. This is one of the more creative doubling versions I've seen. Mother and son heading home in the afternoon.

Ahead is a bridge, though, and I'm sure he'll hop off for the climb.


image not found

Another fine example of how a bicycle city keeps itself clean.

Once in awhile you'll find yourself tailing one of the city's bike lane cleaners. Designed to accomodate the 2.2 metre bike lanes and to keep them nice and tidy. 


We posted about a podcast from A Billion Bikes featuring five episodes about Copenhagen bike culture.

Here are the other four - 2 through 5.

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 2 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 3 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 4 of 5

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists, Part 5 of 5


image not found

Copenhagen Bikeness, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

If you think this is busy, you're wrong. This particular stretch of bike lane gets over 35,000 bikes between 06:00 and 24:00 every weekday.

Often at this intersection you get a hundred or so bikes waiting for the light. So many that the light turns red before you get a chance to continue on.


image not found

Bike Lane, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Rush hour heading home in the afternoon.
A fine example of the average bike lane in Copenhagen.
2.2 metres wide on average.
Increasing to 2.5 metres on average over the next ten years.


Free City Bike

The famous Copenhagen City Bike. Works on a shopping trolley system. Put in a 10 or 20 kroner coin [ca. 2 or 4 dollar] coin and the bike is yours. Just park it at another bike rack when you're done.

They're not that comfortable but they're practical. Hard rubber tyres, a map on the handlebars (for tourists), adjustable seat.

This system was started back in 1995. It's was the first bike share system in a major city and it later inspired the systems we now see all over the world. 


image not found

Click, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Wheel lock.
In Denmark, your bike MUST have a wheel lock if you want insurance money when it's stolen.
Lock it with as many locks as you like, as long as you have a wheel lock.

What's great is that it's quick, easy, efficient and functional. Danish Design in a nutshell.


Read More