Copenhagen by bike
Discover Europe's bike metropolis in the saddle
“Good, Better, Best” is the motto of Copenhagen's bicycle strategy. The city has set itself the goal to become the most bike-friendly city in the world by 2025. But dear bike lovers - you don’t have to wait that long. The Danish capital is already a true hot spot for cyclists and offers miles of bike lanes. We have put together a tour through this great city and compiled a list of tips for cyclists so that the trip to the bicycle paradise becomes a great experience.
Some facts about "Sykkelbyen" Copenhagen
Copenhagen is known as the bicycle capital of Europe. The cityscape is characterized by many cyclists who ride 1.3 million kilometers each day. Nearly 40 percent of the citizens take their bikes to go to work, school or university. This is mainly due to the fact that the Copenhageners see cycling not only as healthier and more environmentally friendly than taking the car, but also as a cheaper and faster alternative to driving.
The city's infrastructure reflects just that: A well-developed network of cycle lanes guarantees safe and short routes as most of them are off the roads or lead through parks. Taking your bike on the suburban train is for free and there are many bicycle parking lots and even bicycle motorways. Using several lanes, the faster cyclists can easily overtake the slower ones, which helps strengthening safety on one's own lane and increasing the flow speed in the bicycle traffic.
Shaping a bicycle-friendly city based on the model of Copenhagen has already become a well-known saying. The phrase “copenhagenize” is used when another city orients itself by the Danish role model.
“Københavnske Bycykel”: Discover Copenhagen by bike
Copenhagen has many very good bike rentals that are used by locals and tourists alike. A specialty is the Københavnske Bycykel. This robust city bike is part of the public bike share system and was tested by former US President Bill Clinton in 1997. In the meantime, the technology has evolved and the bikes are available as e-bikes and comfortably equipped with GPS table.
But not only can you discover the Danish capital using the Københavnske Bycykel: You also easily get to the surrounding areas. Even though the routes aren't very long, make sure to plan enough time to enjoy and feel the great atmosphere of the city.
Bike the City
A great way to discover the city has been developed by Bike the City, a local tour guide. You can discover the bicycle capital on your own, listening to an audio-visual guide on your handlebars and using a GPS device. This way you can decide how much time to spend where and still enjoy a guided tour that will lead you even to smaller side streets. You get from one stop to the next quickly and easily on your bike and feel the special flair of Copenhagen.
Bike the City offers different tours leading you either through the whole city or focusing on specific quarters. The choice is all yours. Renting a three-speed bicycle including GPS costs DKK 240 per day (~ €32) and only must be returned by 10 am the next day. This leaves enough time on your hands to go on your very own discovery tour.
Bike Copenhagen with Mike
Mike is probably one of the most famous tour guides in Copenhagen. His crazy bike tours are legendary - and have plenty to offer. Mike will show you places you would have missed out with a bog-standard city bus tour. Mike is member of the Travellers Guild of Denmark and was born in Copenhagen. He knows the city inside out; sometimes a tour can therefore last a bit longer than planned.
Usually, a tour is set for three hours. Starting point is always the Bike Mike Shop in 47 Sankt Peders Stræde - at 10 am, 2:30 pm or 7 pm. Advanced bookings are mandatory. Mike also offers tours with different themes: from the classic sightseeing tour to a Zen tour that is done in silence - there's something for everyone.
A sightseeing tour classic: From the Round Tower all the way to Tivoli Gardens
The tour starts at Rundetaar, a round tower and former observation building from the year 1642. Here at 35 meters, you can enjoy a most wonderful view over the city. When you get back down, you can try your luck at a picture puzzle at the front of the tower before continuing your bike tour.
Within only a few minutes you will reach the city center and Amalienborg Palace via the city hall square. On your way there you will pass the huge department store Magasin du Nord, you can marvel at the royal theatre or the Nyhavn and make a break at a cozy café.
Make sure to arrive at Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish royal family, at noon at the latest - this is when the daily changing of the guards takes place. After a brief photo stop at the human tin soldiers carry on northwards past St. Alban's Church, the Gefion Fountain and the Kastellet fortress. Then you will finally reach Copenhagen's landmark, the little mermaid.
Continue for approximately two kilometres southwards to Rosenborg Castle and its gardens. Copenhagen's green haven with its old trees is just perfect for a break in the shades. For those of you who'd rather be more active, you can also go inside the castle and learn about the history of the Danish royals and have a look at the crown jewels.
The tour ends with a visit to the Tivoli Gardens. This world-famous amusement park has many funfair rides to offer as well as fireworks on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which promise a perfect finale of an exciting day on the bike.
Please note: This article has been published in March 2015 and revised in May 2018.
Image: © connel_design - Fotolia.com