8 January 2010

Copenhagen Cycling in the Snow - Film

Here's how we ride in Copenhagen when the snow falls. In style, some of us, but generally just getting on with it in our regular winter clothes. Remember, if you can walk in it, you can ride a bicycle in it when pedalling about your city.

There are fewer cyclists in Copenhagen when it snows. 80% of the cycling population continues to cycle throughout the winter and when it snows, more people take the bus or train. Nevertheless, there are still a couple of hundred thousand bicycles out there enjoying the winter.


Anonymous said...


Mook said...

Very nice! In Indianapolis, where I live, what few bike lanes we have is where they deposit all of the snow as they plow the streets.

DanT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanT said...

Thank you for the enlightening and inspirational video and the overall excellent blog. I have a few requests.

What is the length in distance and time of the average bicycle commute to work? An educated guesstimate is fine.

Would you consider posting a video on the optimum bicycle and fittings for winter cycling in Copenhagen?

I am sure that this information would be a useful starting point for many of us. Regards from Toronto.

Colville-Andersen said...

average commute: 6 km

Would you consider posting a video on the optimum bicycle and fittings for winter cycling in Copenhagen?
What do you mean about fittings for winter cycling?

DanT said...

By "fittings" I mean tire optimum wheel and tire sizes and pressures, speed capability (20km/h?), best choice in bicycle styles etc. Anything that adds to the safety or capability to bicycle in winter on a regular basis.

Bigger Dummy said...

Excellent video.

Is that sign at about 1:18 keeping a count of the number of cyclists for the day? It shows a count of 8766 and 29409? Impressive.

I live in Ottawa, Canada and the Danish Ambassador recently hosted a public presentation regarding the Danish approach to encouraging cycling as transportation. I understand it was very well received.

Anonymous said...

Love this site! The videos! And particularly this song. Could you please tell me the name of it and the artist?
Many thanks.

The Hat said...

Yes, your work is wonderful as always, but what is the name of the song & the artist?

Colville-Andersen said...

98% of the people who cycle each day in this city couldn't tell you a thing about tire pressure, tire width or any other technical aspect.

We just get on our crappy old bikes and ride them. :-) Just like people have done for 120 years.

Slippery? Slow down. Hot? Slow down. Tailwind? Whee!

This previous post explains it best.

Regarding the bicycle counter, yes, it counts the cyclists rolling past. This street is the busiest bicycle street. Fewer in the snow, sure. But the first number is how many cyclists went past so far that day. Double the number to include the other side of the street.

Here's a piece from our sister blog about the counters.Bicycle Counters in Copenhagen

Colville-Andersen said...

The music is by The Cardigans, who hail from Sweden's great cycling city, Malmö, just across the bridge from here.

Anonymous said...

All though Mikael is right about most Copenhageners not knowing their tire width, pressure or really anything about their bikes except the color, I can tell you, that in these conditions I ride my heavy "short john" with very wide tires, low tire pressure (maybe 4 bar) and a relaxed upright sitting positions, which is very much more relaxing than my usual fast and fun ride, with typical narrow racing tires with a 8-9 bar pressure and much more forward leaning sitting position. It's just too stress full and not much fun anyway in these conditions.

As for clothing I wear what I would wear if I was walking. Just don't ever forget the cloves, the cloves for gods sake. I forgot mine one day. Terrible I tell you, just terrible.


Colville-Andersen said...

Thanks, Fred. One of the 2% :-)

For clarity, you mean gloves, don't you? Cloves er kryddernellike på dansk... :-)

Me, I ride with the tires I have on the snow or cleared bike lane there is. There is air in my tires, I'm rather sure. My cargo bike is white, my upright gentleman's bike is silver. :-)

DanT said...

Hi all. Thanks for the info and insight. I have been known to ride my KTM supermoto on a dry road -25C Toronto winter day. Still do as a matter of fact. But I am going to start riding one of my bicycles again this month thanks to your inspiration.

As a kid, I would ride my bicycle in Montreal until snow arrived - that is Montreal where it REALLY snows. Later I would ride my BMW with a sidecar whenever possible.

Anonymous said...

Jæs jæs I meant gloves off course.

And yes I must confess; I really like it when my bike functions perfectly, it's something I piked up as a messenger. When you ride 7-8 hours a day, you tend to notice the small things. And I must say, if the 98% just knew how fantastic a perfectly tuned smooth bike were to flow through Copenhagen on, then more people would know their tire pressure, their chainline, their... well yes you get my point. But it's not about racing, it's about gliding effortlessly through Copenhagen on a perfectly functioning machine that you use each and every day.

- Fred

Colville-Andersen said...

I'm sure you're right, and it's brilliant that you feel that way.

It'll never happen, though. People just want a quick way through town which, in Copenhagen, is on a bicycle.

Fortunately, they get the freedom and the effortlessness automatically, even on crappy old bikes.

townmouse said...

Yay - I finally braved the snow and rode on our unploughed frozen roads today. I kept it slow (style over speed!) and even though I did slip over at one point I was going so slowly I just put a foot down and was fine. For the technical people among you I can tell you that my bike is blue, and my tyres were quite flat.

Michael J said...

Mikael are you referring to a Velorbis Scrab Deluxe and a Bullitt as "our crappy old bikes"? Not sure you are a bit overmodest here... :)

Colville-Andersen said...

haha... good point. i'm speaking for the general population though.

we;shcyclist said...

I can't understand why no-one is falling down, like I do when iI ride in the snow and ice. That's why I'm not riding my bike, not until the big thaw has set in.

Lauren said...

They've run out of salt here, and only half my route is cleared, so I'm off the bike for the moment. Been a week and a half, and while the bus isn't that convenient, the bike really doesn't work through deep snow and slush. (I saw several people on cross-country skis near my office last week, and walking is definitely a hit-and-miss proposition without hiking boots.)

Oh, Gazelle, black, tyres sufficiently full of air.

Roll on a thaw, please.