Before I arrived to Denmark my story with bikes was not interesting. I used to cycle a lot when I was younger, but this was my only experience with bikes. I used to get from home to my friend’s house during summertime. At some point I had one or two bike trips but after them I just hated bikes, thanks to the sweat and the sore legs.
But then, I came to Denmark and everything changed. Copenhagen is considered to be the biking capital of the world, and it shows.
When I arrived my room was located over 10km away from DTU. I had a good bus connection, but to get to a bus station it took me over 20min on foot, plus it took loads of time to get through the traffic jam to DTU. As a result, I was facing a 2h + round trip every day. It was worse when the rainy days started. I was soaked after 2 min of walk. My host lady lent me a bike. I thought, omg! 10km on bike?! Is she crazy? It is going to rain! The first few bike journeys were very difficult - rain in eyes, deflated tires. I was coming to DTU completely soaked through with rain or sweat. It does not sound great, I know. However, after two weeks I realised that I benefitted from it in many ways.
How I benefited from cycling?
• I saved loads of time and became independent of the busses
• I saved huge amounts of money after one month of using bike. Even while having invested in better tires and breaks
• It was the only time when I actually could do sport, due to the lack of time from studying
• I got fit
• I learned how to fix a bike and change a tire in 10min.
• I visited many incredible places which I would not have been able to see when traveling by bus, or would have been too lazy to walk to.
What have I learned from biking?
• Bike lanes in Denmark are very safe, quick and wide. There are 3 bike highways to get to DTU from different parts of the city and many bike lanes are elevated from the road, which keeps cars at a very safe distance.
• To avoid all of the accidents. First, be careful on the road, watch what others do. It is better to be slower first than have a car or a bike accident. Secondly, learn the rules. Always signal when turning by pointing your hand and signal if you want to stop by raising your hand up. While you turn left on the crossroad you have to divide it into steps. Go straight ahead, wait for a green light and then you can go left/straight ahead. Helmet is a big thing, but it is not mandatory. However, it saved the life of many of my friends.
In Denmark you are allowed to take your bike for free to all of the trains (S-tog). However, you are not allowed to get on or off the train with your bike at Nørreport Station during rush hour, which is Monday - Friday 07:00-08:30 and 15:30-17:00.
With a bike ticket (13DKK) by tube all day long besides rush hours (Monday - Friday 07:00-09:00 and 15:30-17:30).
Bus drivers usually do not agree to take bikes inside the bus, if they do, you need to pay a bike fee (13DKK).
• I understood there is nothing like a bad weather. Everything depends on what you wear. It is good to have a proper rain clothes ,especially during autumn and spring. During summer just a rain coat should be enough for short distances.
Where to get a bike?
• Bike flea market – Lyngby Kommune organises a bike flea market at the beginning of each academic year.
• Social media – best place to find a second hand bike. However, you should be careful to check that it was not stolen. You can check an app called “Politi” (Politi means police) that will inform you if the bike was stolen.
• Bike shops – usually bikes are new and very expensive.
In case your tube will get deflated ask people around about closest bike shop or train station. Around DTU Campus you will find bike-fixing stands complete with tools and air-pumps for fixing your bike.
Broken tube or tire?
If the tube is punctured (usually you can hear it), or can use a patch set up and fix it on your own or go to the closest bike shop to ask about the help. Usually, patching cost around 50DKK, and exchanging tire around 120-170DKK(incl. tube -60DKK). However, it is much cheaper if you do it yourself. Cheapest patching setup costs around 30DKK, if you would like to buy a cheap tube it is best to order it online or go to Harald Nyborg in Soborg, where you can find loads of cheap bike equipment and much more (the tube cost around 25-30DKK).
Broken bike on your way?
There are many bike shops around. I would advise to always check prices along the street. The price difference might vary from 50 to 200DKK from shop to shop. Remember to ask about student discounts.
What should you have when you travel by bike?
• Patch set
• Tire levers
• Bike set up for screw
• Rain coat
• Socks (Believe me, it saves your life when your shoes are completely wet!):-)
Most important. People in general are willing to help, but you need to ask them about it! It is very rare someone will offer you a help when you struggling with a bike. :-)
Karolina, MSc in Pharmaceutical Design and Engineering, Poland