Push Bikes member, Shaz, has been on a trip through Europe, and writes here for us about his experiences in Copenhagen:
In September 2015 I went on a train trip around Europe. I took the opportunity to try cycling in Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen. In each of the cities cycling was far more pleasant than cycling in the UK, but I’ve decided to write about cycling in Copenhagen as it was the easiest place I found cycling in.
I had heard that Copenhagen was a great place to cycle. I asked the person I was staying with a good place to rent a bike for a day and she suggested Baisikeli. As well as hiring out bicycles they also send bikes over to Mozambique to help people access bicycles who would not be able to. I arrived at the shop and had a good look around outside at bikes to hire. I went for one of their budget bikes that was well under £10 for the day. The first thing that struck me in the shop was how easy it would be for me to steal this bike. The lock was attached to the rear wheel only, meaning that if I wanted to I could pick up the bike and walk away with it. If a bike was locked up in that way in the UK it would be stolen. (Chris' note: These locks are known as 'nurses' locks' in the UK, and are common in many countries which use shopping cycles as standard. It is possible to get chains which attach to the lock and can be put around a cycle stand, if you are worried about someone carrying away your bike.)
Once I hired my bicycle of choice I went on my way. Baisikeli is very close to central Copenhagen. To start with I cycled around the city centre. All of the cycle paths were very wide. When I crossed a road there was a separate cycle crossing meaning that I did not have to encounter any cars. I did not have any set plans for a route I just got on the bicycle and cycled. After about an hour of aimlessly cycling I decided to stop at a park. I enjoyed the scenery of the park, even know I did not trust the lock that I was given. When I returned to the bicycle it was where I left it even though it was kept in place with a flimsy lock.
It was time for lunch so I cycled looking for a place to buy some lunch. I was able to lock the bike outside the takeaway place without any problems. Lunch was delicious, whilst I was eating it I thought about where I should cycle next. I decided that I should follow a cycle path until there was no cycle path to follow. I got back on the bicycle and headed out of central Copenhagen. Cycling was very easy still. I had no cars to interact with unlike the UK. The path was flat the entire way.
Eventually I left Copenhagen without realising it. I found myself at the coast. The town bikes that were common place in Copenhagen were replaced by road racing bikes. The cycle path ended. I walked along the beach with the bicycle and I looked out to sea where many wind turbines were present. The view was stunning. I ended up cycling to Charlottenlund Fort, north of Copenhagen. It was less than 10km from Copenhagen to the coast. There was a very small hill in the fort, which seemed to be the size of a mountain by Dane standards. By now it was the middle of the afternoon and it was time to head back to Copenhagen to return the bike. My return journey was just as pleasant as my cycle out of Copenhagen. The path was wide, very visible and busy. My cheap bike that I had borrowed was all I needed to get about Copenhagen comfortably.
I returned to Central Copenhagen. I was going to head back to Baisikelli to return the bike, but I thought that I should test how easy it is for me to take a bicycle on the train. Of course it was really easy to take a bicycle on a train. The stairs into the station had a ramp that I could slide a bicycle down. Train carriages themselves have sections specifically designed to place your bike. When I left the station by Baisikelli there was a lift to make it easy to get the bike out of the station. I had a nice chat with a man working at the bike shop comparing cycling in the UK to Denmark.
The cheap bicycle that I had hired served me very well. Not once did I feel in danger or intimidated on the bicycle. Cycling around Copenhagen and beyond was a pleasure. Cycling around Copenhagen was a world away from cycling in my car dominated city Birmingham. Having infrastructure designed for cycling made cycling easy and enjoyable.