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Reportage from Copenhagen: Part I

This summer, I was fortunate to spend my family vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark and was blown away by the city. A cycling and sustainable transportation Mecca, 70% of all daily trips are car-free, taken either by bicycle, walking or public transportation, the majority by bicycle!

family photo in Copenhagen Denmark cargo bike passes behind in bike lane


Exploring the cultural and architectural riches of the city was treat. But as a cycling advocate, what I loved most was experiencing the city on a bike. I was so inspired by the myriad of ways in which bicycles are supported and integrated into everyday life that I decided to document my observations and share them here. Turns out I have a lot to say! This is the first in a series I'm compiling about cycling in Copenhagen.


Thanks to the @danisharchitecturecenter for this info graphic (and more to come)! The Danes are famous for their great design, and also excellent at disseminating their design principles- hooray!

 cycling and pedestrian bridge only for walking and biking in Copenhagen Denmark

Copenhagen is a city of water- harbors, canals, lakes. To incentivize cycling, state-of-the-art bicycle and pedestrian only bridges strategically span waterways, making cycling the fastest, and also the most enjoyable, transportation option.

cycling and pedestrian bridge only for walking and biking in Copenhagen Denmark

While cycling is already often the quickest way to get around dense urban centers like Copenhagen, these bridges give cyclists a turbo charged advantage over cars.

a woman cyclist crosses a cycling and pedestrian bridge only for walking and biking in Copenhagen Denmark

The result, 28% of trips are made by bike in Copenhagen. That’s urban planning at its finest!

 bikers and cyclists crossing a cycling and pedestrian bridge only for walking and biking in Copenhagen Denmark

Dronning Louises Bro, or Queen Louise’s Bridge (pic below), is the most heavily traveled cycling bridge in Copenhagen. 

pedestrians and cyclists crossing Dronning Louises Bro Queen Louise’s Bridge, the most heavily traveled cycling bridge in Copenhagen, some 40,000 cyclists cross it every day 

Some 40,000 cyclists cross Queen Louise’s Bridge every day!

 a woman on a bike crosses Dronning Louises Bro Queen Louise’s Bridge, the most heavily traveled cycling bridge in Copenhagen, some 40,000 cyclists cross it every day

Amazing bicycle infrastructure is only part of the puzzle. Bicycles are also integrated into the general infrastructure and modes of public transportation, like trains, making it easy to cycle on one leg of a journey, hop on a train with your bike! 

family photo in Copenhagen, Denmark with bikes, returning home by train

Whole train cars in Denmark are dedicated to carrying bicycles. Many have prongs to hold bikes upright and maximize capacity. They are placed between fold down seats, allowing for bikes and seating, and sitting next to your bike! The bikes might wobble, but I never saw any fall down.

 bicycle on a train car dedicated to bicycles in Copenhagen Denmarkgirls sits next to a bicycle on a train car dedicated to bicycles in Copenhagen Denmarkbicycle wheel held in prong stand on a train car dedicated to bicycles in Copenhagen Denmark

The thoughtfulness and attention to detail that has gone into the Danish bicycle trains and incorporating bicycles into the transportation web is really amazing. Huge bicycles are painted on the outside of the bicycle cars and on the platform where those cars will stop so that people traveling with bicyclist know where on the platform to wait for the bicycle car. (Also for people in wheelchairs, with strollers, etc…) And the trains actually stop where they’re supposed to! 😮 ❤️🚊🚲

 bicycles painted on platform and on a train car dedicated to bicycles in Copenhagen Denmark

All the train stations are outfitted with elevators, rails and ramps making them easily accessible to bikes, wheel chairs, strollers etc. 

rail designed to roll bicycles up and down stairs in Copenhagen Denmarkbicycle wheel about to enter a rail designed to roll bikes up and down stairs in Copenhagen Denmarkbike at the top of a rail designed to roll bicycles up and down stairs in Copenhagen Denmark

In Denmark you see bicycles everywhere- and not just the real thing! Extensive visual signage demarcates space for bicycles, on the road, on trains, on street signs.

 Bold blue two-way bike lane painted on the street in Copenhagen Denmark with white bicycles

Besides communicating important information to cyclists (like where to go, etc…), the bold signage is also a constant reminder to everyone that bicycles play a major roll in daily life, a bona fide validation of cycling, if you will. 

shadows and bicycles painted inside a bike train copenhagen denmark

Stay tuned for the next installments covering where I'll get into the gritty of why Bike Lanes in Copenhagen are so great and effective at getting people cycling, the art of Danish bicycle parking, cycling in Denmark with kids plus kids cycling in Denmark, and behind the scenes of our Copenhagen fashion shoot! 

 

 

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