Cycling in Copenhagen

cycling-copenhagen-2

The best way to travel in Copenhagen is by bike. If you are visiting there are a number of places you can hire you will find via Google. The vast majority of Copenhagen is covered in bike lanes making it considerably more safe than most cities, and the relative lack of hills make for great cycling. The Copenhagen bike lanes are for the most part built on their own kerb. A level above the road, with the pavement a further level above.

Cycling in Copenhagen – the rules.

1. Don’t be a tourist. Seriously, people are in a hurry on their way to stuff. The right hand side of the bike lanes, is the slow lane. Stay in it. If you are going to stop, you do an arm signal, lifting your left arm, but keeping it bent, your left hand flat and upright in a ‘stop’ gesture to signal to the cyclist behind you, you are about to stop. When you stop, unless you are about to start again, get off the bike lane.

2. Overtaking. Before pulling out to overtake, have a quick look over your left shoulder to see if anyone is close behind you, if there isn’t, overtake. The look over the shoulder is also a signal to cyclists behind you, you are about to do something. Watch the cyclists ahead of you, to see if they are about to do something.

3. Cycling two by two on the bike lane. If you do this during rush hour, don’t be surprised if cyclists coming from behind you get a bit tetchy. You will deserve it.

4. Cycling on a Christiania cycle in the snow. Get off the road, and drive your Volvo you carrot munching ecological egomaniac. You block the whole road for everyone coming from behind you and you dare to be smug about it!!

5. The Green Tuborg Game. This game is my own invention*. Green Tuborgs are cycle couriers in Copenhagen. There are a lot less of them now in the internet age, but occasionally you will spot one in the wild. They are professional cycle riders. Incredibly fit, with thighs of steel, in green Tuborg sponsored lycra, often sickingly good looking, and there to be overtaken.

What you have to do is sneak up on them unsuspectingly. They mustn’t know you are there, let alone about to race them. When they are lulled into a false sense of security, and you have your breath back, you sneak up closer and closer to their shoulder, then fly past them at full speed. A couple of hundred metres later you  turn off to the right, or stop at a shop, ever so nonchalantly, safe in the knowledge, you won!

*It may be based on a Billy Connolly routine…

  • Pedro Figas

    On the GTG it would be awesome that as you overtake them they turn right, while you are already full speed ahead :D.

    Few extra rules though:
    – Illegal to bike drunk ( you get a fat fee! )
    – Illegal to bike (AT ANY SPEED) on the actual sidewalk
    – Impossible to bike without a bike
    – “Battery” bike lights are now prohibited (correct me if I am wrong) and you must use wheel dynamo lights
    – Biking without lights after street lights are on is also illegal
    – Biking with a bike helmet makes you look silly and safe (your choice)
    – Biking with a motorbike helmet make you look VERY silly and VERY safe (your choice)
    – Biking sideways, upwards and downwards is impossible
    – And at last but not least, the wind law: “in Copenhagen, the wind will be against the cyclist, even when cycling a perfect circle shaped trajectory”.

    • Brilliant Pedro! I think the first rule ‘illegal to bike drunk’ is a little ‘relaxed’ in this country though!!