If Detroit is Motor City… then Copenhagen is Spoke City. Here the bicycle is part of the royal family, an honored icon while still being a most common part of everyday life. More than a car in L.A., a bike here is mandatory – without it you just can’t function. On one bridge into this city of islands, over 30,000 bikes pass on a workday – they count ‘em. During our street-side morning coffee and “a danish”, 10+ times more bikes pass than cars. And on those bikes is every type of person who moves – most of the Parliament bikes to work, all the mailmen, cops and delivery boys – to moms taking the tikes to school.
Stop lights are timed for the bikes – allowing “green waves” to roll thru the city without stopping, while leaving gaps for those few cars to turn through. But their efforts to make the bike the fastest most convenient way to get from any A to any B has spawned bike traffic jams. More car lanes are being turned into bike lanes and double-decker bike racks need to be installed.
Instead of gas stations on every other corner, there are bike shops – full of bikes, not shorts of gentile-exposing Lycra and wannabe Lance jerseys, nor the carbon helium-weight bikes and exotic ounce-shaving wheels made of hummingbird scrotums and unobtaineum alloy.
Copenhageners ride real bikes to real places in real clothes – all day, everyday … all year. (In winter, the bike lanes are always cleared first.) And they ride in “cycle chic” … with those swan-neck honey-blonde supermodel-type Danish fashionista girls … chattering on their cell phones.