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People on Bikes: Copenhagen

Posted by on May 28th, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Welcome to special edition of People on Bikes from Copenhagen. Please join me in thanking Pro Photo Supply for their support of BikePortland. They’re a great local business and I would be a mess without their help.

As you can imagine, in a city where 36% of the trips are made by bicycle, it wasn’t hard for me to find a good spot to photograph people on bikes. In fact, I went right to one of the places with the highest amount of bike traffic in all of Europe: Queen Louises Bridge. The bridge connects the Nørrebro district with the city center and during the evening rush hour, there are massive platoons of people riding bicycles form in both directions.

Being here in Copenhagen is such a treat. For years I’ve heard about these mythical Danes and their bicycling prowess. A major part of my education so far has been to realize that it’s all not that big of a deal. They’re just regular folks doing the same thing you and I do: Riding their bikes. In other words, there’s a lot to be said for demystifying this whole Copenhagen thing. And a large part of that is getting to know the people.

I hope the images below help you get to know Copenhageners just a little bit more. What do you think? How do they compare to the typical cross-section of Portlanders? Or of New Yorkers?

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If you like People on Bikes, check out past editions here.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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kittens
Guest
kittens

dont they know that riding a bike is dangerous? get a helmet, fools!

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

Definitely more fashion forward, less spandex, hi viz and helmets! And more upright sitting. They all ride bikes made for transportation not for sports.

Josh G
Guest

#22: + for Keen sandals (probably not Mikael Colville-Andersen Chic approved, but $ coming back to PDX),
+ for Reel Lights.
He’s not the only 1 carrying kids on a bike slowed only by a coaster brake. Those metal stirrup kid holders look so medical, but I guess they work.

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

Sweet! And so many bicycles with chain guards or chain cases. Too few bikes sold here in the states come equipped with them IMO. Great set of photos.

Yuri Nashun
Guest
Yuri Nashun

Jonathan do you have any idea what the typical bike commute is there? My guess is those folks don’t ride as far as we do??? I can’t see bagging on spandex…it’s practical for me. My commute is 15 miles each way.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

And not a bleeping derailleur in sight!

Jonathan Reed
Guest

…nor a single drop bar…

o/o
Guest

Cool pix…

daisy
Guest
daisy

The weather looks pretty identical to Portland.

flowb33
Guest

Many men on step-throughs. Lots of headphones. Relaxed postures. Is it flat in CPN?

Also, to the dude throwing his “West” in #58 … put that hand back in your pocket.

denvercx
Guest

What, no carbon fiber race bikes? GASP!

anon
Guest
anon

OMG #32 — Dawn Wiener!!

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

Loving the preponderance of big upright, step-through-frame bikes and good looking street/office clothes. What a fantastic glimpse of Copenhagen. Thank you, Jonathan!

Shane
Guest

What is happening in #51?! Is that an intertube dreadlock wig?!
Hope you can do a People on Bikes near a school while you’re there to catch a bunch of kids and their bike style!
Loving the dutch coverage.

Robert Ping
Guest
Robert Ping

I second Shane’s motion for a Kids on Bikes series near a school!

Paul Smith
Guest

Oh lordy, bring on the helmet/no helmet bickering! What an interesting bike in #40. Wonder if it’s a folder,and who makes it? That child seat in #33 seems next to invisible! Wonder what it is?

Gracie
Guest
Gracie

Love this! People were wearing real clothes and felt safe enough to not wear helmets. We should all work toward that day when 50% of the popuation areriding bikes.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Wow, actually quite a few more helmets than I would have expected based on my visit to København 8 years ago.

I did wear a helmet when I did some biking there (though I probably wouldn’t if I went today), and actually provoked a bystander to shout “god helm!” (“nice helmet”) at me.

was carless
Guest
was carless

No longtails either!

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

Bowling ball! I love it! Now sure which is funnier: that, or the guy in the orange haz-mat suit.

Men on step-throughs is a trend I like, given that my back & flexibility aren’t what they used to be and will eventually be less than they are now.

TOM
Guest
TOM

no road bikes ? no gloves ?
helmets ? maybe they are going slow and there aren’t many crashes ? (I won’t even take a test ride around the block without my lid)
was one checking her cell while riding ?

Spiffy
Guest

#33, first fixie I’ve ever seen with a child seat…

RJ
Guest
RJ

Most of the men are riding bikes with horizontal crossbars, and NONE of the women are. I don’t think Portland is ever going to go for that.

100th Monkey
Guest
100th Monkey

Anyone notice that a few of the helmets looked to be Nutcase? BTW, wearing a helmet because you believe riding your bike to be dangerous is just that; a belief or self-fulfilling prophecy, not a perception.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I don’t believe biking to be any MORE dangerous than driving a car. Both carry substantial risk of injury and death, especially in America. I wouldn’t ride in a car without a seatbelt, and I wouldn’t ride a bike at above a pootling pace without a helmet.

Anytime you’re going above a moderate running pace, it becomes far less likely that you will be able to land on your feet in the event of a mishap. If you can’t land on your feet there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to slam your head to the pavement. BTW, I just witnessed a horrific skateboard accident last month in which serious head injuries would have been prevented by a helmet. It’s not just about bikes.

Lynne
Guest

fenders! racks! bells! Love it!

basketloverd
Guest
basketloverd

1 beard, 2 facial hair, only one visible tattoo maybe two.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

GREAT PICS – THANKS JONATHAN! I don’t know why the commenters feel the need to point out that no helmets mean the riders are comfortable with the surrounding road users (specifically cars). Why does it always have to be a battle? I agree with GlowBoy – I would wear my helmet even in a carless city….because sometimes I ride too fast or don’t react to the conditions fast enough.

Matt
Guest
Matt

The common denominator–none of the bikers are overweight. I think that says something about biking, or maybe the photographers choice on images to post, but regardless…

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

No panniers. Not many lights (3 only). No high-viz or reflective. Almost no helmets. No drop bars. No derailleurs. No lycra or sport-specific clothing.

If we didn’t know anything about the city, those observations would suggest light loads, daytime use or well-lit environment, safe streets and drivers and riders, moderate speeds, minimal hills, shorter distances, utility cycling rather than exercise-goal cycling. True?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Oops, should be “almost no high-viz”, don’t know how I overlooked spaceman #9

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Love all the flapping jackets and the total lack of hills! It’ll be sweet when Portland finally gets all its bike trips down to under 2 miles! Is #25 standing on the pedals? What’s he trying to prove?

But seriously…lots of stuff works in Copenhagen/Amsterdam–or even for some folks in Portland–that doesn’t work for everybody. When did drop bars and derailleurs become evil?

Chris
Guest
Chris

Oh man, too much bike porn for one day!

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Derailleurs became evil when the Schwinn and Shimano families conspired to market the “Varsity” as a style statement. Their provenance is from road cycling, especially stage racing, where not only must one ascend horrid hills and descend perilous passes, but ride for hours in a peleton where many gearings are useful to maintain an efficient long-term cadence.

A compendium of the nasties:

Won’t work unless cleaned and maintained at least weekly–gunk on jockey rollers!

Laterally flexible bushing-less chain flips off sprockets–free wheeling both ways when chain drops off rings!

Dished rear wheel is marginally stable structurally–high tension on drive side and low tension on off side results in broken spokes unless wheels are expertly made!

Fragile–susceptible to damage when knocked about!

Cogs are so narrow that they wear quickly, which wears the chain, which wears the rings–all expensive to replace!

Highly annoying–ticky-ticky noises!

Basically, that combination of human animal and mechanical device which comprise–wait for it Jonathan–the CYCLIST, have a torque characteristic like unto a steam locomotive, which manifestly does not require a 27 speed chain-flipping transmission for proper motion. By the time you have cleaned your drive-train, repositioned the chain on the ring, wired up that broken rear spoke, bodged the mechanism bent by careless parking back into marginal alignment, spent hundreds of dollars replacing cluster, chain, rings–

Your fixie friends will have been silently wheeling about town, doing business, enjoying life, patronizing brew pubs instead of bike shops.

Yes, Frank Schwinn has much to answer for! But his personal ride was a dark green Paramount with a 3 speed Sturmey hub. Not stupid either way!

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

I am surprised no one else has mentioned interestin #44 a front drive cargo trike with rear wheel steering. It has a name on it so google gets us the link http://www.sortejernhest.dk/jern/ I want one.

Also, amazing, everyone’s bike is a perfect fit 😉

Craig
Guest
Craig

Are Denmark and the Netherlands two different countries? Somebody help me out here I’m super confused.

jim
Guest
jim

It must be refreshing to see all those riders and no Spandex. It isn’t just tacky but those that wear it have to be the fastest rider in the lane, like they are dreaming they are Lance Armstrong. It looks calmer there with people staying in the flow.

Shinji
Guest
Shinji

Interesting pictures, compared with “People on bikes: Portland” and following pictures of Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/

So, the less widespread bike use is, the more people wear helmets, and the more stylish bikes they ride, it seems.

Joe
Guest
Joe

awesome shots, great bikes too.

carole
Guest
carole

Aargh! All those gorgeous bikes! I am so jealous.

stephry
Guest
stephry

I wish I was Danish

Scott
Guest
Scott

#1 is Danish Jordan Huffnagel.