Free bikes, Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a city where bicycles are one of the main forms of local transportation. There are even bicycle lanes because so many people ride bicycles. If you are lucky enough, you may find one of the racks with bicycles that Copenhagen provides for tourists. These bicycles have especially striking markings in the form of a colorful disk where the spokes are front & back. You pop a coin in the slot and use the bike for as long as you wish. When you return it to one of the special bicycle stands in the city, your coin will be returned to you making your local transportation virtually free. The only problem is these bicycles are difficult to find. You may only find one when you need 4. I did not find any of the bicycles until the last day of our trip and they were at one of the entrances of the central train station, so that may be your best bet to find them there. Check the website for more information.
Copenhagen's FREE bikes are a splendid idea. Several thousand of these brightly coloured push-bikes can be found chained-up at over 100 different locations.
You need to put a 20DK coin in the slot to release your bike. The coin is returned when you replace the bike at a bike 'station'.
The bikes can be cycled anywhere within the inner city - there is a map on the handlebars showing the limits.
There are no lights or cable brakes. To brake you need to pedal backwards (it takes a bit of practise). Cycling at night without lights is illegal, so dont cycle after dark, or buy some lights!
A big problem is (a) finding a free FREE bike and (b) finding a convenient bike 'station' at the end of your journey. It can take a bit of searching, or luck!!
Another problem is that if you leave your FREE bike outside a cafe or shop, someone else may walk off with it, together with your 20DK coin. Believe me this happens, and I have tried it myself on a desparate moment. After all, they are public bikes and not anyone's private property!!
At the splendid Royal Museaum of Fine Arts there are lots of bushes by the gate. I hid my free bike in the shrubs and, yes, two hours later it was waiting for me there :-)
The bikes are not available all year. From May to December, I think. It gives the city time to repair them all for the new season, I expect.
1. Girl riding one of the free city bikes
2. Two free bikes available near the station
In addition to the many rent-a-bike places, there is also a system of free bikes in Copenhagen. If you find an available bike at one of the 110 city bike-racks, you just have to deposit a 20-kronar coin (worth about 2.69 Euros in real money) to unlock the bike and off you go. When you return the bicycle to any rack, you get your coin back.
The free bikes are small and have solid wheels (no spokes) with funny pictures on them, so they look like toys. The official reason for this is to show that Copenhagen is a playful city, but I think the real reason is so the bikes will not get stolen too often.
I have never tried this system, because with only 110 smallish bike racks your chances of finding a bike when and where you need it are rather slight. (Just for comparison, Paris has over 1400 Velib' stations and is now expanding to some of the nearby suburbs.)
The use of the free city bikes is limited to the "city bike zone" in central Copenhagen, including Christianshavn and Holmen. So theoretically you could ride to the new opera house in Holmen -- but only theoretically because there is no rack there where you could return the bike. In the whole district of Holmen there are only five racks, as far as I can see, and none of these are at the opera house.
Since Ørestad is not included in the "city bike zone" you couldn't use one of the free bikes to ride to the new concert hall, in fact you might be stopped by the police for doing so.
But don't let me discourage you if you'd like to try one of these bikes. It's better to cycle this way than not at all, and it's free, so just try it! (Especially if you just want to take a spin and aren't going anyplace in particular.)
The city bikes are on the streets from the middle of April to November.
For the most part, I walked Copenhagen and I found getting around pretty easy. When my feet were sore however there was a brilliant alternative.
The Danes have come up with a "borrow a bicycle" deal for Copenhagen and you will notice many people using these bright and bold bikes.
All you do is insert a 20 Kroner coin (see dangers tips) to unlock the bike from the post and then ride away. You are supposed to stay within the city centre area outlined on a little map on the handle bars. Once you arrive at your destination, you lock it up at the station and get your coin back. You likely won't get the same bike back when you are ready to go but usually I found there was another one there or close by.
I figured out that you can adjust the seat a bit but check the tires before you ride away. These bikes are basic, single gear bikes, so you won't be cycling the Tour, but I went from the Mermaid to Christiania with a little effort.
I learned that these bikes are actually built and repaired by inmates of the Danish correctional facilities. How great is that?!
In Copenhagen people bike evreywhere! If you're planning on staying long term then it's the best and cheapest mode of transportation. If you're just going for a visit the city provides 'City Bikes'. These are free bikes that you can peddle around the downtown core on. You can unlock them from many stations for 20Kr and then drop them off at any station of your choice and get your money back. The system works exactly like grocery carts back home. All the bikes come with a little map on te front with directions to the big attraction. Be careful not to leave the downtown core, as this is illeagl and you will be stopped! I've heard of people being fined!
Are you first time in Copenhagen and wondering what those strange-looking bikes chained to bike racks are? Well, they are free transport opportunities. Push in a 20 DKK coin - just like a shopping trolley - take the bike and ride. You can deliver it back to any other bike rack in the city centre.
Getting around the city is easy, especially if you can ride a bike. Copenhagen is very bicycle-friendly city, almost everyone, or every other one, at least owns a cycle.The city is designed for cyclists. Many locals find pedaling around town is more efficient than driving.
Cyclists get respect and generous bike lanes give bikes all the legitimacy of cars. Many hotels rents bikes to guests. On your bike you can get most anywhere in town in 10 to 15 minutes.
Be warned, however... stick to the right, just like driving. Obey the traffic signals. Just like driving a car.
If you arrive by car, watch out for bicycles! Bike riders get their own lanes, but they are serious and do not stop for pedestrians. The bikers also do NOT have bells, so you don't get a warning. Bicycle traffic is very heavy in the city, be careful!!
In Copenhagen you can get a bicycle for the day for free.
A few thousand bikes have been sponserd by various companies and are available for a 20kr deposit that you get back, once you have finished using the bike.
The system works like supermarket trolleys where you insert a coin to unlock the bike and when you return it the coin comes back out.
The bikes are available from may until october and it´s a really cool idea that makes Copenhagen a little better.
CPH has this really good bike system for tourists. They have a few spots in the touristy areas where you can find a bike, insert a 20KR coin into a box on it which frees it from the chain, and then ride away with the bike for as long as you want. When you’ve had enough simply return it to where you got it, or any other spot where they take them back, slide the locking device back into the box and out pops your 20KR coin you put in. All that riding for no charge. Getting around the city on a bike is a great way to see it, and cars are very courteous to cyclists, and there are many paths for them too.
There are a few caveats though.
1) The bikes have solid rubber tires, I believe, and thus are a bit heavy so they don’t go all that fast, and thus you will get tired faster, and maybe your knees wil start to hurt faster. Heavy wheels slow you down. Women in mini-skirts and parents pushing their kids around will blow by you and you’ll wonder why. I’m in pretty good shape, and was surprised, but it’s not like you’re in a race anyway, so don’t worry.
2) It’s not all that easy to find them, and just as tough to remember where to lock them back up to get your coin back. You can return (abandon) it anywhere, but to get your coin it has to be to a locking device. If you can’t find a spot, just lean it up somewhere and walk away….I did this once because I was tired and didn’t feel like riding around anymore in the drizzly rain. I lost 20KR, no big deal. I rode around for a good 3 hours so it was worth it.
So if you do take one, note where you picked it up so you can find it easily when you return it.
I’d love to see this in other cities.
The best way to move around Copenhagen is using a bike (as everyone does here). You can rent a city bike inserting DKK 20 coin in one of many racks scattered about in central Copanhagen. The coin is returned when you return the bike to any rack - it basically works as teh supermarket trolley. The city bike may only be used in the inner-city area, if you go outside and are stopped by the police it can cost you DKK 1000.
The city has provided bicycles for tourists to get around. They are very bright as shown an include a map of the city on the handlebars. You deposit a coin to use the bike and when you are finished the coin is returned to you. What a deal!!!!
We were only visiting for a day and chose to walk instead. Copenhagen is very walkable but I'm sure with a bike we'd cover a lot more ground.
All you have to do is to find one of the 125 City Bike Parking places dotted about in the centre of the city, deposit a DKK 20 coin (about $3) and ride off - on your bike, Copenhagen style. When the cycle is returned to any rack you get your DKK 20 back.
Note that the use of the free city bikes is limited to central Copenhagen and only between 1 May and 15 December. You can use the City Bike anywhere in Copenhagen that lies within the limits shown on the map. For more read www.bycyklen.dk
Before our trip we had read about Copenhagen's free bike scheme whereby for a 20 Krone deposit you can pick up a free bike from one of 125 bike stands in the city. Sounds like a great idea though finding a bike proved more difficult than we had foreseen. The bikes are easily identified as they are coloured bright red or blue. However, any time when we found one of the bikes it was either missing its saddle or wheel or its chian had some off. On our last day we did find two free bikes near Vor Frelsers Kirke in Christianshaven which both seemed to work. But on one of them the lock had jammed and we couldn't insert the 20 Krone coin. So Ruth took one bike and I walked. I'm sure it's a great scheme and had we been in the city longer we would probably have found more chances to use the bikes.
Bikes are everywhere in Copenhagen and you can even rent council bikes at various places in the city centre during the summer months for a very small deposit, although I have to say those ones look a bit hard to use with their heavy wheels unless you are really fit. In any case they brag about them in the tourist office too. Personally, I would rather rent a proper bike. There are plenty of rental places in the student area around N?rreport. Otherwise, just ask the tourist office for an updated list.
I have read somewhere that almost half of the Copenhageners (including me in the summer) use their bike to and from work or school every day. And biking is also a great way for tourists to explore the city. Copenhagen is not the biggest city in the world, and it is quite easy to get around in the inner city of Copenhagen. There are bicycle lanes almost everywhere – and no steep climbs…
There are several bike shops around town where you can rent a bike for a day or more, but you can also use the GOBIKE City Bikes (new in Copenhagen from 2013). Just one little warning… Be a little careful around rush-hour… The bicycle lanes could be really crowded and some bikers go VERY fast!