With the United Nations Climate Change Summit currently in full swing in Copenhagen, the Danish capital is the focus of world attention right now. And with the city enjoying the reputation of being just about the most bike-friendly place on the planet, the Danes have been busy helping members of the world’s press enjoy Danish cycling culture.
Last Thursday afternoon, members of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark – “a network of private companies, local authorities and non-government organizations working together to promote cycling and communicate cycling solutions and know-how” – invited journalists from around the globe on a tour of the city, where one in three people use their bicycles for their daily commute to work or school, levels that cycling campaigners elsewhere can only dream of.
Bikes were provided for all, as well as bicycle taxis for anyone unable to ride, on what was billed as “The Wonderful World of Cycling Tour.”
One Daily Telegraph journalist who took the Danes up on their offer said, “despite the drizzle and cold, for someone who bikes in London it was sheer bliss. There are bike lanes everywhere, with enough room for two or three cyclists. Cycle routes are closed to traffic and there are shortcuts by lakesides and through pretty parks. There is no weaving through traffic, running over pedestrians or throwing hand signals because you simply don’t have to, there is room for everyone.”
Organisers split participants up into small groups, each led by experts in planning, cycling infrastructure, bike parking, cycle culture and architecture. The tour finished at Copenhagen City Hall, where a presentation was given by local experts on cycling
Meanwhile, a vicar from Wales was planning to arrive in Copenhagen for the summit following a 140-mile bike ride. Andrew Sully, from Llangollen, Denbighshire, joined around 30 other cyclists in the ride, organised by the charity Christian Aid, which comprised three stages, and symbolically started at Stansted Airport.
From there, the cyclists planned to rode 60 miles to Harwich, from where they were due to embark for the Danish port of Ejsberg. They then intended to cycle 50 miles from Middlefart – no sniggering at the back, please – to Roskilde, rounding the trip off with a 30-mile ride into Copenhagen.
Hopefully, Mr Sully will have arrived in Copenhagen without mishap, in contrast to the last time he undertook a long-distance bike ride. In 2006, on the last day of a Whitehaven to Whitby coast-to-coast ride, the pedalling preacher broke his collarbone when he fell of his bike after his mudguard became entangled in his front wheel while on a descent.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.