One of the most universally known things about Copenhagen is that they like their bikes. So much so that 50% of all citizens in Copenhagen commute by bike everyday.
If you are thinking of renting a bike while in Copenhagen I highly recommend it. Not only does it speed up your commute time and make you feel like to Dane, it widens your travel circle. When you are on a bike in Copenhagen the cities 400 kilometers (248 miles) of bike lanes open up to you.
One of the first things I noticed about Copenhagen is that the city is set up for biking. The raised bike paths, countless number of bike racks, and even the trains. Everything is designed to allow bikes to function. On the trains there are special marked cars for bikes. Within the cars are special holders to hold your bike upright, as pictured below. This is a much better solution than what I have seen on the light rail in Minneapolis. There you have to raise you bike up for it to be held vertically, something very intimidating to someone so short. The Danish solution is simple. Push your bike into the train car and place it in the holder. Then you are free to chose where to sit. Either on a pull down seat that is located next to your bike or if it is busy you can sit across the aisle or in a normal seat in a different part of the car.
Coming to Copenhagen I had very little experience biking in a city. The first time I road my bike on the raised bike lane felt more than a bit daunting. But now it almost feels like second nature. If you are nervous about biking I recommend you try it during a busier time. A bit counter-intuitive I know, but when your biking in a group of people its easier to pick up on the rules. By mimicking the bikers around me I was able to learn a lot.
After about two weeks of commuting via a mix of bike and train I decided to bike all the way home one day. Using google as my guide I plugged in my home address and off I went. Biking on the raised bike lane between the street and sidewalk I was able to see a new part of Copenhagen. During my 35ish minute ride I only got lost twice. I wouldn’t even call it lost, I was more double checking that I was turning on the correct street.
Now I bike almost everyday to class.
Here are a few tips to biking in Copenhagen I have been told/picked up on:
- Always bike on the right side. Some streets have a bike lane on either side, you should always use the right. Just like when driving a car.
- Know you hand signals! Hand signals are everything. They are to let everyone around you know what your doing so that you can safely do it.
- Have a basic understanding of how long 100 meters is. So that when Siri tells you to turn left in 200 meters you can understand what she means.
- If your renting a bike, check if the bike comes with a built in lock. Most bikes in Copenhagen have a built in key lock on the back tire. They are very handy and replace the need for a cable lock, which costs extra when renting.
- If your able to, get a basket for your bike. They are very helpful when carrying things. They free up both your hands and your back.