Copenhagenize – a term often referred to the Danish culture of bicycling. For some, a term refers to a life philosophy, to others a theoretical approach to city development, and for most Copenhageners and Danes, just a way of living.

Danes love their Bicycles

Danish bicycle culture is something many Danes often takes for granted. But with an experience of living abroad, I began to appreciate the city planners of Denmark. When introducing the bike, it was considered only a means of transport. This perception changed in many countries when the car came along, but not in Denmark. The Danes maintained perceiving the bike as primarily a form of transportation.

It is a complicated matter why this is the case. Some of it is due to financial aspects. A car was for most Danish families an expensive luxury. The oil crises in the 80’s pushed further in this direction. The 70´s environments movements influences as well.

Copenhagenize due to Lobbyism and smart Planning

But a significant part of it is caused by lobbyism from Danish cyclist federations, and political decisions to incorporate bicycle infrastructure in the urban planning. The policy is the key to the Danish bike culture today. The decision to prioritising the bike in support of city planning is an essential element in the history Copenhagen of bicycle culture.

Due to smart planning, not only in Copenhagen but the entire country the bike is easier and quicker when moving around in the cities in Denmark. Having a bike is part of being Danish. In every segment of society in Denmark, you will see a bicycle. Even the fact that you can get a glimpse of the royal family on bikes around in Copenhagen is telling a lot about Danish society and culture. Copenhagenize is therefore actually a Danish way of living, and not just referring to living in Copenhagen.

Copenhagenize, due to Clever City Planning

Now I am back in Copenhagen; I love having my bike back again and being back on the bustling bike lanes in Copenhagen, which in rush hours is like the bicycle version of motorways. Here you feel the city pulse alive and vibrant when people are rushing across town. In many big cities, the pavements are the place to feel the pace of the city. In Copenhagen, it is on the bike lanes.

When living abroad, you get Thankfully for the foresighted Danish city planners. Once the administrators forget to incorporate cycling in the development of the infrastructure of the town, it’s hard chance back.

With an experience of living in Chester in England and Sydney in Australia, I saw what a difference the bike lanes made for choosing the bike as a means of transport.

Copenhageners Commute by bike

The strategic city planning is working. Today more than 50% of the residents in the capital commute by bike every day between job or education.  Copenhagen is worldly famous for its success in putting the bicycle first when doing city developments, and by so to enhance the rich culture of bicycling. Copenhagenize is firstly a way of living, but a way of living that is only made possible by the city planners and politicians hard work.

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Feel the City Pulse on the Bike Lanes

Now I am back in Copenhagen; I love having my bike again and being back on the bustling bike lanes of Copenhagen, which in rush hours can feel a bit like the bicycle version of motorways.

Here you feel the city pulse alive and vibrant when people are rushing across town. In many big cities, the pavements are the place to feel the pace of the city. In Copenhagen, it is on the bike lanes.

Many tourists coming to Copenhagen want to get the Copenhagenized experience of travelling around the city on a bicycle. But as many of them will tell you – the skill of pedalling is not enough to master the skill of cycling in Copenhagen. Embedded in the culture of cycling, is a system of unspoken codes.

A system, it seems Danes are born into, and naturally and without thinking they are manoeuvring. Regardless how much a tourist is trying to hide the fact that he is not in his natural element a Dane will always spot it.

If it is not the precarious balance that is spotted, it will for certain be the missing hand signals, and lack of orientation in the heavy traffic was there is no time to hesitation. So to Copenhagenize is a way of living and it is a way of perceiving the world. Understanding the Danish bike culture can give a glimpse into Danish culture and society.

Or to get a different view on Copenhagen from a Copenhagener, read my post Capturing Copenhagen in an Instant