Transporting kids in Copenhagen is an integral part of our bike culture. As mentioned previously in this blog 36% of Copenhageners ride their bike each day on average. This figure is bumped up to 50% between spring and summer. That translates into 850,000 bikes on the streets on a lovely summer's day.
This fact, coupled with the fact that Danish kids start in daily daycare at the age of 1-1.5 years, means that kids need to be moved around until they're able to ride themselves.
Given the sheer numbers of kids being transported it's no surprise that there are a wealth of accessories to assist parents in this task.
The most popular way is the bike seat. My wife and I both have a set up on our bikes which allows us to just pop the seat off one bike and onto the other, depending on who is picking up or dropping off. We ended up buying a Bobike, one of the most popular brands in Denmark. We love it. That's here above with our son on the back and a baby on the way in the tummy.
Bike seats often serve the extra purpose of hooks on which to carry your bags. Or, in the case of being a football coach for my son's team as I am, a massive net of footballs sits perfectly on the back.
Another popular way to transport kids is getting them up front. I've never had one of these for my son, but wish I did. You can talk to them better than if they're behind you, you're more stabile when riding and, most importantly, they get a better sense of bike riding, something they'll be doing for the rest of their Copenhagen lives.
These two photos above are from a trip to Japan. We love everything about the country, including the fact that Toyko is one of the great cycling cities in the world. They have a brilliant bike culture and infrastructure. We saw these two kid transport options there last year. What they may lack in aesthetic design they make up for in practicality.
Once your kid is bigger - around 4 or so - they're ready to get riding with you. My son rode next to me on his bike with training wheels from the age of 3.5 - until we ditched the training wheels at age 4 - but the above photo shows another popular option. Your kid can pedal if they want and they get the sense of being 'big' by riding solo behind you. They also learn the motion of bike riding, getting them ready for going it alone.
We've only ever seen one or two of the above tandem bike, specially designed for kids in front and adults behind. As far as we can tell they're called Compagnon and are designed in Germany. They're definately cool and functional - which is everything northern European design should be.
The classic kid transport option is, of course, the cargo bike. There are many Danish brands - the two above are the famous Christiania Bike. The kids in the first photo are from a kindergarten - they are driven around town during the day to parks, theatre, etc. by the child carers. The second photo shows that the cargo bikes are not just for kids.
We have a whole post about Danish cargo bike brands here.
The goal is, of course, that the kids will learn to ride and become a part of the collective traffic. Like Felix, below, at age 4. Then they've arrived and become true Copenhageners.
On the Way to Football, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Looks like someone borrowed their mum's bike to go to football.
I love bikes. I love football. Ergo I love this shot.
Those Bobike children's seats are only geared to handle 20 kg but what the hell... it looks fun.
Teapot Bike Bell, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
When you live in a true bike culture, you don't give a damn about the latest gear with names like "Trail Ripper X2000" or "Aerodynamic Graphite Nuclear Toe Clips" or "Lyrcamatic Bike Shorts from NASA".
Au contraire. You opt for bike bells shaped like teapots and stylish hand grips. Bike bells are required on bikes in Copenhagen according to the traffic laws, so why not personalise them.
Thanks to radzi from the very cool Fahrradsozialismus blog for telling us about this old bike catalogue advert for a REALLY cool bike bell:
Shadow Check, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Once in awhile it's a good idea to check to see if your shadow is, in fact, keeping up with you in this fast-paced world.
This is taken on the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the harbour in Copenhagen. A brilliant initiatve, building a new bridge only for self-propelled people.
On the left of the white barrier is the pedestrian path and here, in the photo, is the two lane bike path.
We here at Cycleliciousness are big fans of Portland, USA in general and of bike advocates in Portland in specific.
While we will never, ever understand how Portland finished above Copenhagen on Virgin Vacations list of 11 Most Bike Friendly Cities - we put it down to bribes and faulty research :-) - we love what they're doing 'over there' about creating a bike culture.
Thanks to Sharon Jameson, producer of a satirical online tv programme called The Bicyclist, for bringing the show to our attention. Be sure to check out the episodes on their website:
Go Portland, Go.
Wheel Lock, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Old school wheel lock on a bike in my backyard.
All Danish bikes have to have wheellocks for insurance purposes, but these days we use keys.
This one is a combination lock, which requires you to remember which metal buttons have to be pushed in.
The modern versions:
Once in awhile, the European Union produces papers that are worth reading. Boring and bureaucratic, sure, but good inspiration for those out there who are working for bike advocacy and general improvements in urban transport.
"Towards a new culture for urban mobility” is the title of the European Commission's new Green Paper on urban transport. It was adopted on 25 September 2007 and opens a debate on the key issues of urban mobility: free-flowing and greener towns and cities, smarter urban mobility and an urban transport which is accessible, safe and secure for all European citizens.
With this Green Paper the Commission wants to set a new European agenda for urban mobility, while respecting the responsibilities of local, regional and national authorities in this field. The Commission intends to facilitate the search for solutions by, for example, sharing best practices and optimising financial means.
Check out the website - there are some pdf's to download and there is some good inspiration to be had. This link is a direct jump to the English version of the html document.
Especially American advocates of better urban transport should be pleased. As far as we can see, it is rare that such a study would see the light of day on that side of the pond. So please feel free to harvest every shred of inspiration from the paper.
A Little Bit of Busy Bike Lane, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Not a busy street but still populated by bike commuters early in the Copenhagen morning.
This bike lane is nice and wide - a bit wider than the 2.2 average in the city. Mostly because a number of bikes turn right here.
I was sent this link from an article and accompanying reader posts from the Edinburgh Evening News website.
A flock of militant whiners if ever there was one. Car drivers hating bikes, bikers hating cars and so little civilised coexistence and tolerance. It's a scary read, but inspirational for those who seek to increase bike usage, if you look at it the right way.
Kindergarten, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
One of the many brands of Danish-made cargo bikes in use in Copenhagen. A Christiania bike, this one owned by a kindergarten and used to ride the kids around to visit museums, theatre or parks and playgrounds while their parents are at work.
There was another child care worker on an identical Christiania bike five metres behind this one.
I read so much about a Dutch company - Bakfiets - on American bike blogs. Merely because they recently started a comprehensive export to that country. It makes me smile, knowing how many dozens of cargo bike brands there are in Northern Europe, and the American market think that Bakfiets (which is probably a decent brand) are the only ones in existence.
Nihola, the award-winning cargo bike and my personal favourite, also does a kindergarten version the Nihola Big - with room for "six kids and a crate of beer" as the company jests on it's website...
And yes, Nihola deliver worldwide.
Bike Light Selection, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
The local supermarket had a sale on funky bike lights. For kids and adults. Giving you the chance to personalise your bike even more. Each package has a red and a white light.
Despite the kitsch nature of this selection, they all adhere to the very strict bike light laws in Denmark.
These kind of lights are held onto your handlebars with an elastic string. Easy to pop on and off and to carry in your pocket.
Me, I prefer these ones...
Slow Day on the Bike Lanes, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
A busy stretch of Copenstreet during a quiet bike lane moment.
This stretch will experience upwards of 10,000 - 15,000 daily cyclists.
Couple Bike, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
A classic Christiania bike - the famous Danish cargo bike.
A legend in it's own time.
Personalised Chain Guard, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Another fine example of how Copenhageners personalise their faithful bikes. A groovy, home-made wallpaper job on an otherwise boring chain guard.
It's your bike. You own it. Make your own.
Fang cyklisten, originally uploaded by Kristoffer & Laura.
A new campaign in the city of Frederiksberg, Denmark, reminding car drivers to watch out for bikes when they open their car doors.
"Catch the Cyclist... with your eyes, not your door."
Over half a million daily bike commuters and I suppose some get caught by doors. Never seen it happen, never had it happen to me, but still it's good with these campaigns.
The good thing is that car drivers in Copenhagen are cyclists, too, so there is generally a good, healthy symbiosis between bikes and cars.
Thanks to Kristoffer & Laura on Flickr.com for this great photo.
Green Wave, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
I've been looking forward to seeing this pictogram painted on the bike lanes.
Copenhagen has, on certain stretches of bike lanes featuring heavy traffic (30,000 + bikes per day), started coordinating the traffic lights to give cyclists a 'green wave' all the way along the route.
This means that if you ride 20 km per hour you'll hit green lights the whole way.
Some people have bike speedometers, but most can adjust their speed without electronic interferance and enjoy an uninterupted ride to and from work.
Piste, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Our good friends down in Nice, Provence, have invested heavily in bike lanes along their famous promenade. In addition they are splashing out on a tram system (like Berlin) and dedicated bus lanes all over the shop.
Well done. And a nice green colour, too. I prefer the blue colour of the bike lanes on the streets of Copenhagen, but this green is a lovely contrast to the blue Mediterranean.
Trois Couleurs: Vélo, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Sometimes I see things on the street that just plain excite me so much that I literally fumble when I get the camera out of my pocket.
Fragments of urban life. Moments of clarity. Pretty colours.
Here we have a classic Copenhagen bike against a classic Danish yellow colour used on buildings. Couldn't be better.
Flock Animals in Transit, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
In concerto they ride, stopping and starting as the choreographer intended.
A small crowd of cyclists - a rehearsal perhaps.
During rush hour many more bikes will jockey for position on that broad bike lane. 20,000 cyclists each day on this stretch.