One of the nicest things about Copenhagen is that it is a very bicycle friendly city. For many years now, the capital of Denmark has steadily been converting itself into a people-oriented, rather than car-oriented zone, and for budget-conscious travelers making their way around this notoriously expensive Scandinavian city, there are few things more cheering than finding a quick, cheap, easy and practical way of getting around.
A City of Bicycles
When it comes to being bike friendly, Copenhagen isn’t as famous as Amsterdam but it offers many of the same advantages and attractions as its Dutch neighbour. The city is compact, and mostly flat. The weather is usually mercifully clement, making biking a pleasant activity – though even in winter many Danes continue to cheerfully cycle! There are about 300 km of bike lanes, many of which pass through very scenic spots, as well as most major attractions. There’s even a bike lane to the international terminal of the Copenhagen airport! Bicyclists are an accepted part of the traffic, with their own signals on traffic lights and special bike lanes on most streets. Best of all, because Copenhagen is a typically European city in that it has has plenty of narrow streets and limited parking space, bicycles can literally go where cars can’t.
A Quick & Easy Ride on a City Bike
Though many people visit Copenhagen on biking tours, you don’t have to bring your own bike. You canrent a bike from one of the many bicycle shops scattered around the city and in most railway stations. Bike rental costs between 35 – 70 kroners a day, with a deposit of about 250 kroners. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the city’s dedication to environmentally-friendly solutions and get on one of the 2, 500 free ‘City Bikes’. These bikes can be found at any of the city’s 110 bike-parking stations, most of which are nearby major attractions. These bikes are impossible to miss, as they’re painted a glaring red or blue, with advertisements between the wheel spokes and on the frames of the bicycles. City Bikes are a wonderful way to get around, as you can grab a bike at one station, pedal off to a museum, chuck the bike in the nearby bike-station, tour the museum and then grab another bike for the next trip, with very little fuss or bother!
To use a City Bike, all you need to do is find one of the bike-stations, insert a 20-kroner coin into the bike’s locking mechanism, remove it from the parking-station and off you go. Once you’re done, you just have to return the bike to the rack at any station to retrieve the coin; or if you’re willing to give up the 20-kroner coin, just lean the bike against a wall somewhere and let someone else use it.
Once you have your bike, free City Bike Map from the Tourism Office opposite the City Hall. Many bicycle rent shops also offer this helpful map, which outlines three easy-pedalling tours: Copenhagen harbour tour, city ramparts tour, and round-the-city tour. Most City Bikes are supposed to come with this map already mounted on the handlebars, but in the usual way of things, you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find a Bike that hasn’t had this convenient touch removed or damaged, so you might have to scout around for a replacement map. Also, don’t forget to buy a Copenhagen Card, which comes with a guide book and a map and gives you free admission to 70 attractions.(DKK 175 for 24 hours, DKK 295 for 48 hours and DKK 395 for 72 hours)
There are a few rules to using the City Bikes. Use of the Bike is strictly limited to the city centre, and you can be fined 1000 Dkr if you are caught outside this area with a City Bike. Having said that, you do occasionally find city bikes in the suburbs, usually taken there by someone in a hurry to go somewhere and not too choosy about how they get there! Also, you aren’t allowed to lock the bikes and if used at night, you must provide your own lights. More generally, remember not to ride against other bikers and always stay on the right-hand side of the lane.