- Bicycle Culture by Design: July 2008

The harbour is a beehive of relaxing activity when the weather is hot. As you can see here, people use their bikes to get there. 


We're so pleased our friend Humberto in Lisbon sent us these two links to news pieces on Portugese bicycle culture. It's in Portugese, but the images are wonderful. Have a look.

In this first video we meet two men who still practice old professions in the Portugese capital. The first chap delivers bread on his old bicycle and the second chap sharpens knives for people using his bicycle. There's a guy in Copenhagen who does the latter - I've just never been able to get a photograph of him.


The second piece is about a Vintage Bicycle Meet. Splendid shots of cool old bikes and their owners.



Tickets Metro

Beach weather continues. Here's a couple trying to figure out how to stick their credit card in the slot to pay for tickets on the Metro. I love the guy on the left - tattoos all over and riding a cool ladies 'Sit up and beg bike' with a basket.

Metro Bikes

It was a bit busy on the Metro station near one of the beaches yesterday. Many people were heading home in the afternoon. But the trains run every 3 minutes, so there's not much wait if you miss one.

Slow Bicycle Ride - Party

Last Saturday I went for a Slow Bicycle Ride, hosted by Baisikeli - the bikes for Africa boys - and one of their friends. Not officially a Slow Bicycle Movement ride, but it is now. Afterwards there was beer and a DJ outside the Baisikeli shop. So very cool, casual and cosy.


Skirt Guard Discard

Ironic how so many people write to us about how impossible it is to get skirt guards - 'frakkeskaaner' or coat protector in Danish - and here in Copenhagen they just lie around on the cobblestones.

Over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic today we have a piece about 'tryghed' or feeling safe/secure on the bike lanes of Denmark. It's a bit of a buzzword here. The World Health Org and the EU and the European Cyclists Federation have published documents about how to increase this feeling of safety for cyclists and pedestrians without legislating or promoting bike helmets. There is a lot of good energy being put into it.

If any of you are interested, Marie and I have a Facebook group to accompany our anti-legislation/promotion campaign at We would love your support, if you see fit to support us. It's in Danish, but don't let that frighten you. And you'll be helping us in our fight here in Denmark , based on our current bike culture conditions - so you don't have to jeopardise your position on your current conditions by supporting us.

We even started a funkalicious merchandising line - totally non-profit - to accompany the website. So if you're in the market for some ethnic and exotic Danish language t-shirts or bags, have a look here. We thought we'd funk up the debate a bit.

Our new logo.

We're not so fussed about swear words in Denmark. They don't have the same stigma attached to them here. Basically, it says, 'Fuck off, I know my facts'. :-)

Which is what we're gunning for - getting Danes who have never had a debate on the subject before to have a look at the facts so they can decide for themselves. Danes are traditionally a very thorough people. Very informed about current affairs and incredibly engaged in politics and in the local community. We're hoping they'll extend that tradtion to this debate. 


We posted THIS a few days ago:

5000 Free Parking Spaces at the Beach

5000 bike parking spaces at one of the more popular beaches in Copenhagen - about a 15 minute bike ride from the city centre. Great for a dip or a bit of sun after work, or all day long on the weekends.

This is what it looked like yesterday, Sunday:

5000 parking spots for 15000 bikes

Just a little fragment of the long, long beach. There are tens of thousands at the beach on days like this. This is what the racks look like on a cold, winter's day:

Lone Beach Bike

There are so many bikes at all the beaches that overflow parking is everywhere:

Beachparking Overflow

These circular clusters of bike racks are cool:

Bike parking cluster

Although bike racks are rather aesthetic when empty, too:

Beach Bike Rack2


Beach Bike Rack


Transport Integration

Transportational integration at Flintholm Station. The shiny new Metro up top, the bike/wheelchair/pram compartment of a local S-train in the foreground. I couldn't get the busses in the same shot.

Copenhagen Campaign

A typical public service poster from the City of Copenhagen informing citizens that "Better conditions for cyclists" are on the way in Lille Kongens Street, using a photo representative of average Copenhageners.

Space Management

The city of Frederiksberg - an independent city within Copenhagen - is in many ways ahead of the game regarding bike friendliness. They are constantly setting up bike racks in the residential areas to encourage people to stop leaning their bikes up against the buildings. Every cosy space can be used. They reclaimed parking spots in this street in order to plant trees and, in the process, installed two or three racks in every space. Almost all of the racks down the street were in use.

The City of Copenhagen is soon launching rackless bike parking in the centre of the city since bike racks take up too much space and most bikes have kickstands anyway. More on this when it happens.


When roadworks are necessary, the cyclists are not forgotten.

My mate Mikkel from Kommunikationscast - a weekly podcast on communication in Danish - took this photo outside of his flat. A scooter [løbehjul in Danish] for grown-ups! How fun is that! 


City Stickers

The City of Copenhagen is testing out some new street stickers to be stuck on the bike lanes. They have tried them out before, as posted here , and these stickers with the city's bike department logo will be used to further brand Copenhagen as a cycle city in the hearts and minds of Copenhageners.

Before you ask, no, they're not slippery. They wouldn't put them on bike lanes if they were slippery. This sticker is in the parking lot behind the Transport Dept's offices and it is being tested to see how long it lasts and how it holds up under bike wheels. The employees ride over it each day, skid on it, you name it.

All very cool. It's important for Copenhageners to 'be the brand'. Most don't even think about the fact that they live in a 'bicycle culture'. It'll be great to get more people aware of it and proud of it. It'll help encourage more cycling and it can all be done without doing things that wrongfully brand cycling as 'dangerous'. 



A bouquet of spokes. As seen at Baisikeli.

Back to Nature

Not to worry. If you forget your bike, nature will reclaim it as her own. 


The Nature of Things

It's not every day you get a legendary environmentalist with a rock star status visiting town, but last week Copenhagenize/Copenhagen Cycle Chic were quite pleased to have hosted David Suzuki, his daughter Sarika and a film crew from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. [CBC].

The Nature of Things

David Suzuki, 72, hosts Canada's longest running documentary programme The Nature of Things. He is in Europe filming an hour-long programme on sustainability in Europe and Copenhagen's bike culture will feature prominently. We spent two days cycling around the city, with me leading Suzuki and his daugther, Sarika, on a tour of our bike culture. The goal of the programme, he said, is to highlight how far behind Canada is compared to European countries with regards to sustainability and to encourage Canadians to wake up and smell the renewable energy.

Suzuki is a scientist and environmentalist and if you're in Canada, Japan or Australia, you've probably heard of him. When we were down in the touristy areas, like near the Little Mermaid, Canadians and Aussies kept coming up to say hi. The man is an inspiration. He is so passionate about his work and he is constantly hungry for knowledge. It is worth having a look at the website for his David Suzuki Foundation. He was completely amazed at Copenhagen's bike culture and by all accounts he hopes to get on board the bike advocate train when he gets home. He'll be an amazing advocate for bike culture and separated bike infrastructure in Canadian cities.

The Nature of Things

Most of the filming was done on bikes, of course. We had three bikes for me, David Suzuki and Sarika Suzuki and were followed by two rickshaws carrying the camera and sound boys as well as the director. The guys from Baisikeli provided a cargo bike, as well, from which some shots were filmed. There was also a quick tour out to the IKEA store that has launched the bike and trailer concept with Velorbis bikes - as you can see in the first photo. It's amazing how many people have picked up on that story since we broke it here on Copenhagenize . Everyone speaks IKEA, I suppose.

The Nature of Things Crew

After two days of filming in Copenhagen, the CBC crew moved on to Berlin, travelling throughout Europe by train, of course. On the last day he gave an autograph to a Canadian who lives here and wrote "I'm Copenhagenized...". We're pleased he had a good time. Look forward to the programme's premiere in, I believe, October. 


In many ways, it's lovely to see a big network like the American CBS feature biking to work on their evening news last Thursday - 17 July 2008.

One of our readers, however, noticed that this mammoth network, in their piece about biking to work in Philadelphia, used some of my video about Cycling in Paris, which is on Youtube. They even used the music, which the artist was kind enough to let me use as a one off.

An irritating case of copyright infringement. If they had merely asked, there would have been no problem. They have a piece of their own on the Vélib bike share in Paris, so it is flattering that they thought my little modest film was better. But bloody irritating it is all the same. They even used a shot of Wifealiciousness from the video and she's none too pleased.

Here's the link to the piece on Biking to Work [couldn't embed it].

Here's the orginal:

I've contacted them regarding the issue, but if any of you are up for a bit of Five Minute Activism, here's the link to their feedback page. Select CBS Evening News on the drop down menu. Click Complaint at the top and fire off a little note to them in support of this copyright infringement. 


The City of Copenhagen announced yesterday that 117 intersections throughout the city will be altered so that the stop line for cars and trucks will be pulled back by a minimum of 5 metres.

Vechicles turning right and hitting bikes is the most common form of accident for cyclists so Copenhageners can now look forward to increased safety around the city.

City Hall Square in Copenhagen.

Here's a photo of the main intersection next to the City Hall Square in Copenhagen, taken from the City Hall tower. Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard and Vesterbrogade.

In all haste I coloured the car lanes orange where the new stop lines would be placed. I don't know if this intersection is one of the 117 chosen and I merely guessed at the five metres distance, but it is an interesting indication of how far back the cars will stop from the zebra crossings.

There is a truck, coloured red, waiting to turn next to a wide bike lane, which is perfect for this illustration.

The idea is that all motorists, but especially truck drivers, will be able to see the cyclists who will be able to stop up by the zebra crossing.

It's a great initiative and the fact that 117 intersections will be changed really shows that the City is committed. It will take about two hours to alter one intersection, which is minimal disruption for the traffic. The budget is 3 million kroner [$300,000]. Rather inexpensive and a drop in the bucket for the annual budget of 75 million kroner for bike infrastructure in Copenhagen.
Work starts any day now.
Here's the same photo with the existing bike lanes marked in blue to give you an idea of how they fit into the picture. 30,000 + bikes pass this intersection each day so many will benefit from the new stop lines.

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Here's another intersection, previously Denmark's most dangerous until the City redesigned the bicycle infrastructure. Cycliss now avoid the right turning vehicles on a cycle track that continues - free of motorised traffic - to the right at the busiest corner. As well as pre-greens for cyclists and stop lines pulled back five metres.

The number of accidents involving bikes has fallen since. From 15 serious accidents a year to just one. 



The Danish cargo bike market is a feisty affair. "Ladcykler", as they are called in Danish, are popular and practical. There are so many different brands all competing for the attention of city dwellers who use the bikes for transporting kids, groceries and basically everything else. Nihola, Esimex, Winther, Bellabike, Sorte Jernhest, Triobike, Christiania Bike, Long John, Short John, to name the main players.

Above is a photo of the Mercedes of cargo bikes - The Triobike - shiny and black as a mare. In the background, a rare Dutch-made Bakfiets. For some reason, Danes prefer three-wheeled cargo bikes. With the exception of the Long John, you only really see three-wheeled trikes on the bike lanes. Cornering isn't an issue since nobody is out to break land speed records in cargo bikes. The pace is relaxed and casual, so cornering is hardly an issue.

Half Price

Upon closer inspection of the Bakfiets in the background, it is adorned with two hand-made signs. They both read:

"For Sale. Under half-price of the new price. 1 year old."

Now THAT is something you don't see around here. In my experience, Danish cargo bikes hold their value. You can't even get a ten-year old Christiania bike for under half-price of what they paid for it a decade ago.

I'm not expert but such a crash in value after only one year surprises me. I don't know much about these Dutch-made bikes and you rarely see them on the streets here. But I do know it's a tough market to break into what with the Danish emphasis on design and quality.

Triobike in Action

Triobike in its natural environment.

Long John

The classic Danish Long John. Over 70 years old and still going strong. 


Newspaper Bike

I haven't seen these before this summer. Bicycles selling newspapers to tourists. By and large it's foreign papers and both photos were taken near Nyhavn [New Harbour], which is the picture postcardy Copenhagen area.

Newspaper Bike

For some strange reason the parasol in the first photo is from a Swedish paper and the one on the bottom is from a Norwegian paper. A fine little Scandinavian collaboration.

The papers were firmly in place on the racks so it looks as though once the parasol is down, it's easy to ride. 

The Bike to Work Book is to be co-published in November by of the UK and of the US.

Reid said: "The media message 'Save gas, go by bike' is a huge opportunity for the bicycle business. But reaching bike-to-work wannabes is tough. Newbie cycle commuters don't hang out in bike places. We plan to get the Bike to Work Book in front of this new audience through an online and offline PR campaign. With gas at $5 a gallon, it's pushing on an open door, the mainstream media is now very open to the bike commute message."

The Bike to Work Book is a print title but it's also leveraging the internet to reach a larger audience than possible through traditional book publishing. The print version will be available on and other booksellers from mid-November but the book will also be available as a paid-for rich-media e-book and there will be a free, cut-down version of the book available as a PDF, sent via iTunes. The e-formats will be available earlier than the printed book.

The health and economic benefits of cycling are flagged on the book's back cover. Tour de France commentator Phil Liggett said: 'This book could save you $3500 a year. And you'll be lighter and stronger into the bargain.' Transport psychologist Dr Ian Walker of the University of Bath said: 'Cycling is an important life expectancy predictor. Because it becomes part of your daily routine, cycling to work helps you live longer. This book could be the most important you ever read.'

The Bike to Work Book is being promoted via a website and a podcast.

The first show was recorded on Thursday and featured Reid and Grahl talking with two of Europe's top bike bloggers. Mikael Colville-Andersen produces the Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog and , while Mark Woudenberg produces

Colville-Andersen and Woudenberg have co-written a chapter in the Bike to Work Book: 'The Future is Already Here', a description of what US and UK cities can look forward to when they embrace bicycling.

"In the US cycle use is just one percent of all journeys," said Grahl. "In Denmark and the Netherlands it's at least 30 percent. It was inspiring to talk to these guys and just amazing to find out that the 30 percent figure is considered too low by Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The goal is 50 percent. I can't imagine that ever happening in the US but remember that John Burke of Trek said last year that if the number of bicycle trips in the US grew from 1 percent to just 5 percent it would result in a $6.2bn industry becoming a $31bn industry." 

Two photos in the inbox. The one above is from my mate Lasse, who took this shot in Paris on a well-deserved city break. Bike rims in a Parisian trash can.

This photo is from Priya Mani, who lives in Copenhagen and works with textile design and sustainability. She blogged this photo on her blog. A photo of an Indian weaver using a bicycle wheel.

First world. Third world. Missed opportunities. 


Summer House Bikes: Cobwebs

Three bikes came with the Swedish summer house so I figured it was time to pull them out of the shed and clean them up a bit. But not before I took these photos. I love rusty bikes and cobwebby bikes. It's amazing how the bicycle retains its aesthetic appeal whether new and shiny or old and rusty.

Summer House Bikes: Saddle


Summer House Bikes: Washed


Casting Call

This Copenhagen didn't let her leg cast stop her from getting around. Beats walking.

Swipe and Park

Many stations on the outskirts of the city have loads of bike parking but they also have areas that provide locked bike parking. You get a swipe card for access. Ease of use.


We stopped at a McDonalds on the motorway home from Sweden and I snapped a photo of the bike racks. Most McDonalds have bike racks here and in Sweden. This being a motorway restaurant, the bikes are ridden by the employees. 


The Film Bike

My mates at Baisikeli borrowed a custom-made bike used in film shoots for possible usage in a Canadian tv-crew that Cycle Chic are hosting this week. They're doing a documentary on sustainability that includes Copenhagen. I'm trying to get them to film by bike so we'll see what they say to this Buddy Bike. It's a custom-made bike for use in the Danish film and tv industry.

One steers the bike and the and the cameraman shoots from the buddy seat, while helping to pedal. He has handlebars, too, but they don't move. They're only for resting on. There is a front rack for gear and the camera can also be placed in the middle of two handlebars for stabilisation or resting.

The Film Bike

What a cosy ride. This bike is perfect for The Slow Bicycle Movement. We were discussing how it can be used in other ways. Among the ideas were a footbath on the front rack, a bucket of ice filled with beer, etc.

Any other good ideas for The Slow Bicycle concept? How could we use this bike for maximum slowness and cosiness?


The Film Bike


It can't be a secret any longer that I prefer to ride my bicycle here in Copenhagen. Like 70% of the population in my neighbourhood, I don't own a car simply because I don't need one. Nevertheless, there are times when a car is handy.

Hertz Delebilen

Car sharing programmes are booming here and I finally signed up for one of the two main programmes available to Copenhageners - Hertz Car Share [Delebilen in Danish] - in order to get to a summer house in Sweden for a week. Glad I did. It is great.

image not found

The best thing about it is the Ease of Use. I booked a car online from 10:00 one day. The cars are equipped with a sender/reciever and the info that Mikael was coming was sent to the car. I made my way to the parking spot - there are many around the city in convenient locations - and found the Volvo V70 station wagon. A beautiful car. I have the choice of renting many different cars; compact, medium-sized, station wagons, a mini-van or even a transport van. I can rent them for one hour or one week or anything in between.

Upon arriving at the car, I pulled out my membership card and waved it at the metal panel on the dashboard, through the windscreen. Instantly, the doors unlock.

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I hopped into the car and opened the glove compartment and pulled out a terminal welcoming me to the car. The keys are locked into the terminal. I punched in my PIN code and that releases the keys. Off I went. Easy as easy can be.

image not found

After a week in Sweden, I returned the car to the same parking spot. When I pulled out the terminal again, it knew that the car was 'home' and read, "Do you wish to end your rental period? Y/N."

I punched yes and stuck the keys back in. I was given a quick rundown of how long I had rented the car and the total kilometres travelled.

image not found

I got out and waved my membership card at the metal plate and the doors locked.

A great system, especially because of the technology involved. Once the car is reserved, other members can't open the door, because the car is saving itself for Mikael, so you'll never get there to find the car gone.

We pay a monthly subscription of 150 kroner [30 dollars] [normal price is 300 kroner [60 dollars], but we get a discount for various, boring reasons]. You pay for the period of rental and you pay for each kilometre travelled. The price includes petrol, which is great seeing as how the prices are currently higher than normal. A petrol credit card for Shell stations is included in the glove compartment for your convenience.

If we need a car for a couple of hours or a weekend, it can really pay off to use this programme. For a one hour rental of a small car I'll pay 22 kroner [4 dollars] plus the kilometre price of 2.85 kroner [ca. 57 cents]. Even renting the car for a week was far, far cheaper than renting a car in the normal fashion. Not to mention not having to go to a car rental office, filling out forms and all that.

We're hooked. We live on our bikes, but we have a car when we need one. Perfect.

- Hertz Delebil
- Københavns Delebil


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