On my recent trip to Copenhagen, Will Kearnins from Boxcycles met us at the airport.
After a train ride into the city, Will led us over to his Christiania bike, gestured toward the wooden box on the front, and said “get in.” A quick calculation with my jet-lagged brain said that with me, Sasha, and luggage, this was not a good idea.
Will was not deterred.
Five minutes later we were getting a fantastic tour of Copenhagen, squeezed into the box on the front of a Christiania bike. Crazy fun for me and Sasha - maybe not so much for the huffing and puffing Will - but he didn’t complain. (Thanks Will - that was amazing!)
Sasha successfully hiding her fear:
Copenhagen is hands down the best bike city that I’ve ever been in. The infrastructure is bar none and the bikes truly rule the streets. This is not to say that Copenhagen is laid back in any way. The bikers there are all business. I’ve never seen people ride that fast on city bikes. From my position in the front of the box, I had a pretty good view of rush hour traffic. The quantity of riders was amazing.
Will took us on a sight seeing tour through the city. We swung by Cykelfabrikken a very cool custom bike shop. Sadly it wasn’t open at 9am, but we got to peek in the window.
We also drove by Baisikeli - a rental bike shop that sends used bikes to Africa. Apparently Shepard Fairey paid a visit.
Right by Baisikeli we saw this bicycle trailer from Ikea. In Copenhagen, you can rent them to bring your stuff home. Maybe they rent them at the Ikea in Brooklyn, but I swear I’ve only seen signs for UHaul.
For whatever reason the cargo bike of choice in Copenhagen is a 3 wheeler. No Bakfiets in this town! There are 2 main competitors - Christiania which we were quite familiar with and Nihola. While Will is obviously in the pro-Christiania camp, he obliged us with a trip by the Nihola store.
This sign says it all.
Eventually we ended up in Christiania the home of the Christiania bike. Will has a great history of the town on his blog. The basic gist of it is that Christiania is a hippy village in the middle of Copenhagen. It’s super cool and filled with unique homemade buildings and its own culture (and drug culture).
The entrance to Christiania:
Christiania Bicycles headquarters:
I love the silver disco Christiania. It looks like a mobile party unit.
Guys building the bikes:
The original logo:
Bikes getting ready to be shipped:
After lunch we decided that it was time for us to have our own rides so we went by Will’s studio. We both got some pretty cool beaters that made us feel instantly like natives.
Sasha’s was a Bauer with a crocheted skirt guard:
And this is what I rode. It was from the 30’s complete with snakeskin saddle. It was great - unless you needed to stop.
Will shares a studio with a guy who fixes up old bikes. Inside is a lot of cool vintage bike paraphernalia:
And of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a Danish Danish.