There’s hardly a more natural way of commuting than biking in Copenhagen. It’s cheap, easy, eco-friendly and very popular. Give it a go, pick your ride and check out Denmark’s cycling culture on your own. 454 km of bike paths wait ahead!
BASIC RULES AND CUSTOMS
TURNING LEFT AT AN INTERSECTION
Ride through the intersection on the right, while signaling with a raised hand that you’re stopping; stop at the corner of the street you want to join and wait for the traffic on the right-hand side for the green light to proceed in your new direction.
DON’T RIDE AFTER DARK
As soon as the sun sets, turn on the lights on your rental bike. This is how you avoid a fine. Good thing is, if you’re in Denmark during summertime there’s so much daylight you won’t have to think too often about this.
In Denmark, bike helmets are not mandatory and few people actually wear them. Protecting your brain is totally your call.
If you see people around doing hand acrobatics on their bikes, it means they’re trying to communicate with you. One hand straight up means stopping, right hand to the side – turning right, left hand to the side and so on.
BIKE RENTAL IN COPENHAGEN
Once you’ve got your basics covered, it’s time to find a bike. One of the most popular ways of renting a bike in Copenhagen is by using the Donkey Republic app. Download and use your phone to unlock the bike. Ride for as long as you want and return the bike afterwards at the closest pick-up point. The system will take what’s owned from your digital wallet. If you ride a lot you can always buy a membership program, which is cheaper for people who ride more than five times a month.
There are lots of other companies supplying bikes, like Københavns Cykelbørs, Bycyklen and Baisikeli – last of which supports African countries with its profits.
Often you can also rent a bike in hostels. Just ask the receptionist.
BUYING A BIKE IN COPENHAGEN
If you’d rather own your own bike, there are also many options. The Saxil Cykler shop is a popular place. They’re known to listen and give you the best advice possible. Ask about everything and think before making a decision – how often will you be riding? Will you carry your bike upstairs a lot? Do you want a pack of accessories as well (helmet, lights, basket, bell and so on?) Other cool shops to check out are previously mentioned Baisikeli, Wecycle, Sögreni of Copenhagen and VeloBarista.
MAPS & TOOLS
First of all, Google Maps is a great tool to use while planning your trip or city route. There are also lots of useful apps which may add to your experience, especially if you’re into the sporty side of biking. Check out the Strava app for more info.
BIKES IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Taking your bike on the metro will cost you 13kr. You need to buy a separate ticket. Also, remember it is not allowed to take your bike into the tube during rush hours (Monday to Friday 07:00 – 09:00 and 15:30 – 17:30).
Bicycles can be taken on train lines for free, but you can’t take bikes through Nørreport station during peak hours (Monday to Friday 07:00 – 08:30 and 15:30 – 17:30). To take your bike on a train, you need to put it on the first or last carriage, so-called “flex carriages” that have space for bikes and strollers. These carriages are clearly marked with large graphics of bicycles on the outside. To take a bike on a regional train, you must buy a supplementary ticket.
You can bring a bike on a bus in Copenhagen, but each bus is limited to two bikes even if the space isn’t taken up by prams and other people and it’s up to the discretion of the bus driver. Generally, people do not travel with their bikes on buses in Copenhagen.
PLACES TO VISIT ON A BIKE IN COPENHAGEN
Ready to go? Good. But the question is… where to? Here are a few places worth checking out on your bike:
Known as Indre By is easy to mark out on a map because it’s surrounded by water – canals, lakes and the sea, all beautiful to ride your rental bike along.
Naturally, you’ll want to include popular attractions on your bike route, such as Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid or Rosenborg Castle. But there are also lots of parks and green areas (Kongens Have, Ørstedparken and Kastellet come to mind), as well as countless streets with cafés, design shops or department stores to get lost in. Worth mentioning are Paludan Café for a relaxing break and a bite, and the Hay store for the coolest Danish design.
Vibrant, colorful and multicultural, with virtually no wall left untouched by urban art and social discourse. Don’t miss The Red Square (Den Røde Plads), where the Green Path bike-only route passes. If you keep riding on Nørrebrogade, you’ll reach the lakes and the beautiful Dronning Louises Bro – a popular hangout for locals and travelers. Another must
is riding through Assistens Cemetery – trust us, it’s not your regular graveyard.
Neat and peaceful, with beautiful facades and fancy cafés (including delicious cheesecake), flower shops and lots of baby strollers. There are some particularly nice streets you can ride your bike by, such as Falkoner Allé, Gammel Kongevej or Frederiksberg Allé. Also, you have one of the biggest green areas in Copenhagen nearby, made up of Frederiksberg Have, Søndermarken and Solbjerg Kirkegård – with the Frederiksberg Palace as a proper centerpiece.
You’ll find the famous Freetown Christiania here, with so many bohemian spots in and around it to discover. It’s actually a good idea to save some time for a dedicated Christiania bike tour and see if you can discover its hidden beach – a really special spot you won’t regret searching high and low for. If you happen to get hungry while you’re in Christianshavn, make sure you stop by Copenhagen Street Food at Reffen. Other attractions and cool sights in the area are: the Church of Our Saviour, the Royal Danish Opera House, the very new and cool Copenhagen Contemporary art centre.
You could spend an entire day just cycling across its streets, staring at the posh facades, peaking into backyard oases, or going full gourmet in some fashionable delicatessen. Alternatively, you can take your bike through Østerbro’s natural riches – on a ride in Fælledparken or to the beach, at Svanemøllen. Here are a few places worth stopping by: Original Coffee at Trianglen, low-key Café Bopa, high-brow Den Frie Udstilling (Centre of Contemporary Art), and hip Candy Factory.
There’s the very popular Meatpacking district, which has evolved from trading livestock to trading beers for cigarettes in some hip bar’s entrance cue. There is also the Carlsberg Brewery to visit. And then there are flea markets on Sønder Boulevard, unconventional art galleries and Instagram-heaven bistros (Mikkeller Bar, WarPigs and Bakken), as well as murals you can suddenly discover on side streets as you cycle around.
Discover Copenhagen on two wheels and have fun!