I’ve got a bike. You can ride it if you like.

April 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am in a relationship with someone very special. I love to ride her, and she’s always waiting for me when I need her. During dark nights, she lights up my life. She takes me anywhere I want to go. She even holds my purse for me. Yeah, I had to buy her love, but now it’s unconditional. I want to recite Shakespeare sonnets to her all day long. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” She’s a little rusty in parts, but she wears it well.

She looks stunning on sunny days. Here there, beautiful:

But holds her own on rainy after-class trips to the grocery store:

And my partner in crime (note the roller derby sticker; I put it on to cover up the 8 ball, and to make myself appear much, much cooler than I actually am.)

There, I said it, I am *in love* with my bike. Seriously, getting a bike was the best decision I’ve made while I’ve been here. I have actually felt safer on my bike than I have ever felt driving in Chicago. Let me explain some things to you about biking in København:

  • There are separate stop lights for bikes
  • The bike lines are actually separate from the street: they are either separated by a curb, or the entire lane is raised off the street

You can see both of the aforementioned features in the following photograph. Note the smaller, separate stop light to the right of the main light (not the thing directly next to it, that’s the right turn light. The actual stop light, it has a little icon of a bike at the top. Click picture for bigger.) Also notice how the bike path is separated from the street.

  • In some areas, the bike lanes are larger than the car lanes
  • Danish biking hand singles are actually intuitive: left arm out and down for left turn, right out and down for right turn, arm up for stop
  • In darkness, or an hour before or after, you must have a white light at the front of the bike and a red light at the back
  • Most people don’t lock their bikes to anything; they just put a lock through the bike tire so you can’t ride the bike away. Of course you could still lift it and take it away though… but bike theft is actually a big problem in København, albeit from what I’ve heard it usually occurs with bikes that aren’t locked at all. People seem to have a very blase attitude about bike theft: I think the train of thought is, if it’s unlocked take it. Totally boggles my mind that this is justified in some people’s minds.
  • June 11th: Updated to add: Street lights also turn yellow both when going from green to red, and when going from red to green.
  • There is a system for making left turns: instead of turning left straight away, you pull into the street to your right, and then go straight. Since I can’t explain this very well I made a handy (and beautiful) diagram of the road. The light blue lines are the bike lanes (which are actually marked with light blue lines in real life, how handy). The dark blue path is the route you would take to make a left turn. The blob on the dark blue path is where you wait. So when you are at the southern part of the diagram, when you have a green light, you cycle to the blob on the east side. Then when that light changes, you cycle straight.


Anyway, so yesterday I was feeling a little frustrated for a variety of reasons, and I took an 1.5 hour long bike ride around the coast of Amager (the island I’m on). I didn’t realize how rustic it got in the south. It was extremely nice outside and it felt wonderful to just bike around and clear my head.

So, in conclusion:

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.” – James E. Starrs

Ok, off to cook in the community kitchen!



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§ 2 Responses to I’ve got a bike. You can ride it if you like.

  • Ariela says:

    Hey! I’m studying abroad at University of Copenhagen next Spring, and found your blog through the University’s website. Just wanted to let you know your blog is awesome! And it’s also informative – I was planning on renting a bike, and posts like these really give me some tips (: Enjoy the rest of your time there!

    • Hannah says:

      Hi, glad you found my blog useful! I would recommend buying a bike instead of renting, as you can purchase a used biked for about the same price as renting (and then you can sell the bike when you leave and get the money back). If you have any other questions let me know and I can try to help!

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