One of the things I love the most when family and friends visit us is being able to share the cycling culture and lifestyle of Copenhagen with them.
It’s a huge part of our everyday lives and one I’ve begun to take for granted. But every time a visitor arrives I’m reminded that it is something quite special. We use our bikes for everything and every day. And not because we’re fitness fanatics, or we’re on a quest to save the planet. We simply use them because when you live in Copenhagen it’s just the easiest and quickest way around the city.
To visit Copenhagen and not experience this, is, I think, to not really visit Copenhagen.
But it isn’t always so easy to share the cycling culture with visitors who can’t cycle. Whether they be elderly, have mobility issues, or simply have never cycled before. Cycling is not for everyone, and the worst thing you can do is force someone who is not comfortable on a bike, on a bike. That’s a recipe for broken teeth, scrapped knuckles and possibly a broken finger or two (if you’re lucky). Which for the avoidance of doubt, you should avoid at all costs.
So, over the last few months I’ve been researching how you can still experience the cycling culture of Copenhagen, when you can’t cycle. And I found a whole lot of great ways, which you’ll be able to read about in the October issue of The International. But one in particular which was super cool was the chance to experience Copenhagen in a Cargo Bike.
Cargo bikes are one of the most popular ways of delivering the little people in your life to schools and kindergartens in Copenhagen. I’ve quietly been admiring these for quite some time (the bikes, not the children). Pondering what it would be like to be chauffeured around the city in a large cargo box on wheels. And finally, last weekend I got my big chance. Andreas from Cargo Bikes and the Secret of Happiness heard about my story and invited me to join him on one of his weekend tours.
Paired up with a new Brazilian friend we joined two families (covering the full age spectrum of baby to grandfather) for a generous 3 hour tour around Copenhagen. And apart from one slightly wobbly moment, we managed to convincingly cycle around the city like locals in our Cargo bikes, blending into the cycle lanes of Copenhagen, enjoying some cool sights and ‘chewing the fat’ about what makes Copenhagen and the people of Copenhagen tick.
Constantly ranked in the top 5 happiest countries in the world, our guide, Andreas would argue it is not so much a secret that keeps Danes happy, but more a science. Personally, I’m still a fan of the theory that there is surely a correlation in ‘happy state’ to the quantity of Vitamin D pills purchased every winter in Denmark. But possibly not quite the science Andreas was referring to. However as a philosopher and optimist, he’s the perfect host to get you thinking and intrigued as you settle in to your cargo box (cozy blankets included) and reflect on life as the city passes you by.
And over the three hours you’ll hear some of his thoughts on how Denmark has arrived at this state, along with some deeper insights on how the city works. It’s a highly thoughtful, organised tour delivered in a totally relaxed, friendly and chilled way. For me, a perfect combo. And totally hits the nail on the head in terms of experiencing (if only briefly) the real Copenhagen, the every day Copenhagen cruising on the cycle lanes.
3 of the bikes are pure cargo bikes (with motor assist) and the 4th is a rickshaw design (currently without motor assist, but all things going well, Andreas hopes to get that one pimped up with motor assist soon as well.
The tour meets near Torvehallerne (which is near Nørreport station). And before you head off you’ll get the chance to have a wee practice. Everyone is welcome. Singles, families, elderly, locals and visitors. If you have any special mobility requirements, contact Andreas in advance and I’m sure he’ll do his best to accommodate your needs.
Top tour without any of the tourist traps. Which is also why you will also only find it advertised in a few places.
But especially perfect for the next time either your elderly parent/s, or anyone with mobility issues visits you in Copenhagen.