Pedals Growth Lead, Jessie took a quick weekend break to Copenhagen, Denmark and was overwhelmed by how the city accommodated it’s cyclist.
I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian countries in general; their fashion, interiors and overall attitude towards life really appeals to me. What I wasn’t expecting when I landed in Copenhagen this past Friday was the way the capital of Denmark embraced cycling. Coming from London, seeing cyclists on the road is not an unusual sight. What was shocking was that there were far more bicycles than cars on the road. According to the official website for Denmark, 50% of all people in Copenhagen commute by bicycle. That’s incredible. In the UK the average for cycling to and from work and university is 4% – almost laughable in comparison.
If you’re like me then you’re most likely thinking “Why does Denmark have such a large cycling community?”. At first I thought it must be because of the environment. And I’m sure it’s part of the reason, but there weren’t large recycling bins every few meters or people protesting against global warming in the street. Sure, it’s a damn sight cleaner than London, but I don’t think that’s the main reason. So maybe it’s the cost? The cost of maintaining a bike is a fraction of the price of maintaining a car. Again, this probably contributes but I don’t think it’s the deciding factor here.
After observing the Danes for a few short days, it is my opinion that there is such a large community of cyclist because it is simply more enjoyable. It’s a pleasurable experience, everything from speed to the style of bicycle just screams leisure. Whereas in London the road bike is king, in Copenhagen the city bike is by far the most popular bicycle. Witnessing two friends riding side by side chatting as they make their way to a night out is a common occurrence. And families using cargo bikes to transport their little ones to school is simply the norm. In fact, 25% of families with two children own a cargo bike. The stress, chaos and danger associated with cycling in other major cities just doesn’t exist in Copenhagen. It is truly an oasis for cyclists and commuters in general.
Fun fact about cycling in Copenhagen:
- In total Copenhageners bike 1.2 million kilometers a year, which equals a trip to the moon and back, twice. In comparison Copenhageners only travel 660.000 kilometers by Metro.