Since 2015, Copenhagen has been ranking as the most bike-friendly city in the world. The secret is simple yet not easy: infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Safety, convenience, and clever functional design are key, when you want to move citizens from the comfort of a car to the wind-blazing bicycle lanes.
The one thing visitors to Copenhagen comment on the most is the many bikes. You see the fast-rolling spinners pacing into work overtaking families in cargo bikes. Kids cycle with their parents and both the young and the more mature use the bike to get around the city. Actually, half the trips to work and school in Copenhagen are done by bike and Dronning Louise's Bridge alone is crossed by 40,000 cyclists daily.
This could of course sound rather chaotic but is quite the opposite. Copenhagen ranks as the best bike city in the world due to the infrastructure, making cycling both convenient, safe and fast. In Copenhagen you find curb separated bicycle tracks, bike-bridges across its canals, cycle superhighways, traffic lights and green waves for two-wheeled commuters, are just a few examples of Copenhagen’s way of designing a city for life, where bikes outnumber cars, where a cargo bike to take your kids to school is cooler than an SUV.
Taking the bike is not only a choice for those bright summer days. Winter can get cold, but still Copenhagen breaks the records when it comes to bicycle commuting every year. This is not due to the locals being genetically disposed towards cycling. It is a matter priority. In the past years, the city has had a consistent focus on bicycle-centric urban planning, with focus on a safe, well connected, and user-friendly bicycle infrastructure, making cycling the best way to get around.
Cycling accounts for 49 % of all commuter trips.
Bikes outnumber cars in central Copenhagen.
1.44 million km were cycled per weekday in 2019 in the city.
Copenhagen has more than 385 km of cycle tracks.
Almost all major roads in Copenhagen have curb separated bicycle tracks.
Dronning Louise's Bridge is the most heavily trafficked cycling stretch in Denmark with more than 40,000 cyclist daily.
1 in 4 Copenhagen families with two kids own a cargo bike.
Nine out of ten Danes own a bicycle.
25 % of all school children in Copenhagen cycle to school.
Source: Copenhagen Municipality
Experience first-hand what makes Copenhagen The World’s most bicycle friendly city
1. Copenhagen’s bicycle bridges
Photogenic architecture for bikes and pedestrians only: Copenhagen’s iconic bike bridges provide a perfect photo or video reportage opportunity for those interested in Danish lifestyle, architecture and design. If you would like to capture images of the busiest cycling hours, 7:30-8:30 and 15:00 – 16:30 are the ideal times.
2. What makes Copenhagen the world’s most bicycle friendly city? Meet Copenhagenize, experts in bicycle-friendly urban planning
Copenhagenize’s intent is helping cities go back to the future and learn to simplify by building for bicycles. Their speciality lies in advising and inspiring cities, governments and organisations about the re-establishment of the bicycle as a normal form of urban transport.
Every year, Copenhagenize ranks the world’s most bicycle friendly city. On this trip, they will to show you Copenhagen’s bicycle infrastructure and explain why the city is currently ranked as the most bicycle friendly city in the world.
3. The sustainable city of the future: guided bicycle tour with site visits
Also available as a virtual tour
Copenhagen has set the target to become a carbon neutral city by 2025. On a private tour by the non-profit organisation Green Bike Tours, you will be shown some of the city’s many projects and initiatives aimed at reaching this goal.
The city has made a climate plan which describes more than 50 initiatives in different areas, such as energy supply, greener transportation, building efficiency, education of the citizens and finally adjustments to the weather of the future. These are all steps towards a carbon free society.
Green bike tours collaborates with experts from organisations and institutions working with renewable energy, urban sustainable planning and smart city development, and it will be possible to arrange private site visits if you are interested.
4. Copenhagen, where out-of-the-box Danish design meets the bicycle
Creativity, craftsmanship and democracy are all elements that for decades have helped position Denmark as a frontrunner in innovative design and architecture that improve life, including bicycle design. Come to Copenhagen and explore some of the Danish solutions designed to help replace the car:
Christiania Bike: in the 70s, when alternative souls were dreaming of creating a different society, one of the ideas which arose in Copenhagen was to build a car-free society. This is how the popular cargo bike, which can carry a little bit of everything, was invented. Today, approx. 25% of Copenhagen’s families use it as an alternative to the car.
Biomega designer bikes: a premium, high quality bike brand, which started in Copenhagen in 1998 with the ambition to compete with cars by designing bikes that are beautiful, easy and effortless to use.
Larry vs. Harry, the Bullit cargo bike: As Copenhageners, Larry and Harry have always biked as much as they could. Not just because it is green, cool or cheap, but because it is the fastest and most convenient way to get around town.
Harry had a contract business for 20 years where he used a 60-year-old Danish Long John cargo bike to get from job to job. Larry was busy working for another Danish manufacturer, making the best cargo bike in the world.
The problem was Harry’s vintage Long John was still faster, lighter and more manoeuvrable. That’s when Larry and Harry decided to build the perfect cargo bike. Larry and Harry based the Bullitt design principles on the classic Danish Long John. It had to be strong, fast and reliable. But the Bullitt had to be much more than just functional: it had to be sexy.
Omnium messenger bikes: The company designs and builds fast, light and stable cargo bikes and messenger bikes for packages, people and travel. It is dedicated to making Cargo bikes of the highest quality and to constantly innovating and improving its products and service. Omnium Cargo is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
5. Copenhagener for a day: get a taste of life in a bike-friendly city
For Copenhageners, the bike plays a key role in their everyday life. From riding to the office in their work gear to picking up kids. On this trip, you get the chance to join a local on their daily commute to work. Start at 7:00 am by riding to one of Copenhagen’s companies based in Outer Copenhagen.
On this trip you will try first-hand Copenhagen’s bicycle highway and ride on the busiest cycling bridge in the world. Once you have arrived at work, you will get familiar with bike parking spaces, shower and changeroom facilities, which you will find at most Danish companies.
Leave the office around 14:00 and join a family to pick up kids at school with a cargo bike instead of a car. Go grocery shopping by bike with a local family and finish your day at their home, where you will have the opportunity to ask anything you want to know about living in a city designed for bikes.
6. Copenhagen cycle chic – photo/video reportage opportunity
Cycling is part of Copenhagen’s DNA. This is how the locals go to work, pick up their kids from school, do their shopping, or simply just explore their own city. Danes do not need a sporty outfit to use their bike, and while in Copenhagen you will spot extremely stylish locals on two wheels. This provides the perfect opportunity for a photoshoot if you are into lifestyle and fashion.
7. Cycling in the nature
Bikepacking and gravel cycling in the nature have never been as popular as this year. Explore what it is like to ride off the city’s bike paths and discover the beautifully preserved Danish nature just 10 km north of Copenhagen, featuring some of the best kept gravel paths in Europe, as well as free shelter and camping spots for everyone.
Copenhagen is the city where creativity unfolds when it comes to the bike, which is being reinvented to do practically everything. Discover some of the most original concepts which can be spotted around the city in the list below.
Rustvogncyklen – a Copenhagen based funeral company using a cargo bike as a funeral vehicle
Cykelkokken - the cycling chef, cooking and serving a 5 course meal with local, seasonal ingredients through his cycling kitchen
Cykling uden alder - Cycling without age is on an important mission: to give the elderly the right to wind in their hair. Bicycle pilots invite seniors to nursing homes out in the rickshaw and together they get new experiences and fresh air.
Recycles – a bike café where vintage bikes are stripped down and renewed from scratch with top quality components
The bicycle library – Bicycle innovation lab is bike culture center that advocates bikes as an alternative to cars through a bicycle library, bike repair workshops, bike events to develop innovative bicycle culture.
Svajerløb - The Danish championship in riding the fastest on a cargo bike
Bread delivery bike - delivering fresh bread every morning
The donor bike - An environmentally friendly alternative to transport sperm samples to the fertility clinics around Greater Copenhagen.
Bike and Bake - Bike and Bake is a street food pizza project and catering company. I'm a pizzaiolo working on my special bicycle equipped with a wood fire pizza oven. We also do pizza consulting and on certain days we also do take away pizzas. We are based in Denmark.
The children's traffic playground – The Children's Traffic Playground is a perfect place for young and older kids to learn about road safety and traffic rules.
Den grønne sti (The green bike path) – Is a bicycle path that connects the districts of Nørrebro, Frederiksberg and Valby by crossing both residential and green areas through green areas with a great bicycle infrastructure.
Havneringen (The harbour circle) - The ultimate Copenhagen biking tour can be found along the edge of the harbour, where trails, sidewalks and bridges together create the 13 kilometers long walking- and biking path - the Harbour Circle. Link to the map
Rudersdal Ruten - The beautiful Rudersdal route runs 42 km along gravel and bicycle paths through a varied landscape from the seaside village of Vedbæk in the east to Kajerød in the west with lakes, streams, hills and bogs. Here you will enjoy idyllic nature all for yourself, and can walk, cycle and run as you please.
Parforce route, UNESCO site - The parforce landscape in North Zealand consists of three forests, Gribskov, Store Dyrehave and Jægersborg Dyrehave, each with its own character. They are all public forests, which means that they are accessible by everyone. The gravel roads and paths that pass through the World Heritage Site crosswise are mostly closed to car traffic, and provide great opportunities for cycling and enjoying nature.
Amagerminoen, Copenhagen’s ”camino” - 24 km hiking and biking trail that stretches from Copenhagen's Ørestad neighbourhood through the vast nature reserve of Naturpark Amager to the picturesque town of Dragør.
Cycle superhighways - A cycle superhighway is a cycle highway, where the commuters’ needs have been given the highest priority. The cycle superhighways in Greater Copenhagen are a coherent network of cycle highways which provides a safe, smooth ride with and increased safety and less stops than on regular streets – offering an alternative to the car on distances of more than 5 kilometers.