Eurobike

Scandinavia and Europe in general seem to be pretty bike friendly places.  There are lots of bike lanes and it seems pretty safe to ride a bike through the city, wiihout having to battle cars or traffic (although I have witnessed a few bike traffic jams). Although I haven’t seen any multi-level bike parking garages like in Amsterdam, there seem to be plenty of spots to lock up your bike, and bike parking lots are usually pretty well populated.

Bike lanes in Stockholm
Bike lanes in Stockholm, separate from traffic
Bike lanes in Copenhagen
Bike lanes in Copenhagen running through a pedestrian area, bike parking in the background
Bike parking at Odense University
Bike parking at Odense University

Most bikes seem to be the sit-upright, single-gear, peddle backwards to brake variety with fenders, rattraps, and baskets.  My mountain bike with dual shifters is a real minority.    I have taken some pictures of the most interesting or unusual bikes – although what is ‘unusual’ to me is actually pretty common in Scandinavia.

This is Graham's typical commuter bike (although no basket)
This is Graham's typical commuter bike (although no basket)
Antique wheelbarrow bike at Skansa museum in Stockholm
Antique wheelbarrow bike at Skansa museum in Stockholm

One thing that I wish I had more pictures of are the people that ride the bikes.  (The ethical researcher in me hates taking people’s pictures without permission, and it is hard to get permission as they are riding by.) People of all ages ride bikes – toddlers in baby seats (see ‘minivan’ below), kids going to school, people going to work, and grandmas and grandpas going to the market or to Church.  It is great!  I also like people’s bike riding outfits.  Now that it is dark by 3:45 in the afternoon, I see more and more reflective gear in our town.  However, it seemed that in Stockholm and Copenhagen riding a bike was no excuse not to be fashionable.  There were no MEC-type reflector-biking pants to be seen (this isn’t tour de France!), everyone is wearing the high heels and boots and dresses and miniskirts and suits that they will be wearing at work.  The fenders (mostly) keep people from getting wet and sometimes they hold an umbrella as they ride along.  Helmets will wreck your hair, but in Sweden it is the law for children to wear them, so some adults (mostly parents) wear them too to set a good example. (I have been bad-assing it since I got here sans helmet!)

Growing family?  No problem!  Get this awesome Danish minivan!
Growing family? No problem! Get this awesome Danish minivan!
In Copenhagen I saw bike cabins like this one filled with 3 kids, groceries, and a dog.  I shold mention that Denmark is very flat.
In Copenhagen I saw bike cabins like this one filled with 3 kids, groceries, and a dog. I should mention that Denmark is very flat.
Free tourist bike that you 'check out' with a coin like a shopping cart and return when you are done. They wiegh like 15 kilos!
Free tourist bike in Copenhagen that you 'check out' with a coin like a shopping cart and return when you are done (you even get your coin back). They must wiegh 15 kilos! All the same, it is waiting here for you if you come to visit.

5 thoughts on “Eurobike”

  1. shopping buggy bikes?! rad!

    Danish MiniVan bike? three kids, a dog, groceries and Polka music attachment (from blamo!)

    cute.

    love it.

  2. the only other place I’ve seen that many bikes is at the UCSB campus – i just wrote about it on my blog; i love the bike culture there – i think having safe places/lanes to ride in make all the difference

    and the swedish mini-van? a most excellent observation!

  3. It’s great to hear and see that the bicycle is so widely used in Europe. It would be great to the same level of use in other countries. The diversity of people using the bikes sounds similar (but much safer) to what I’ve seen in Taiwan with people on scooters…

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