The two-wheeled takeover of Copenhagen. Be careful when you walk the streets of Copenhagen for the first time. Walking on a cycle path in the Danish capital prompts the same reaction from ufabet locals as picnicking on the path for the Bull Run would during San Fermin in Pamplona.
In Copenhagen, 45 per cent of all commutes for work or education are by bike. If we look at the people working and living in Copenhagen, the number rises to 63 per cent of commutes. And most of them are not colourful ‘MAMILs’ (middle-aged men in Lycra). You are just cycling to work; it’s not the Tour de France.
The two-wheeled takeover of Copenhagen is quite a recent development. There are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In fact, it seems the only thing more abundant than cyclists here is statistics about bikes. According to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark.
Nowhere are these statistics more evident than during the morning rush hour on Nørrebrogade – Copenhagen’s busiest bike corridor. That was the commute for about eight years, and I was joined every morning by students, businessmen and businesswomen, members of parliament and toddlers in training.
The reasons for the hordes of Vikings on two wheels are the good conditions provided for cyclists. If you visit Copenhagen, it’s easy to spot the lengths the city goes to to make them happy. There are tilted bins (so you can get rid of your to-go coffee cup while cycling at speed without missing the bin), footrests for cyclists when they are waiting at traffic lights – and if there has been a snowfall, bicycle lanes are cleared before those for cars.
Cyclists here are not treated like second-class citizens; they are treated not only with dignity but as kings and queens of the road.