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Cycling in Denmark

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The bicycle path between Skagen and Frederikshavn is very popular with tourists. Here it runs parallel with (but clearly separated from) the road - at other places it goes through forest and dune areas.

Cycling in Denmark is very popular for both recreational and commuting and is often compared to that of the Netherlands. Because of this (or perhaps the other way around) Denmark has a quite extensive bicycle infrastructure, including a network of nationally appreciated bicycle routes extending more than 12,000 km (7,500 mi). In comparison Denmark's famous coastline is only approx. 7,500 km (4,500 mi)!

In urban areas[edit]

In many urban areas, cyclist have their own paths/ways. Even outside of city centers you will find bikeways, which are separated from the rest of the road, with either a thick line, a different color or being raised to something like pedestrian walk level. The width of the bikeway varies a lot, depending on where you are. They can be observed as small as 80cm (2.5ft) but also wider than 3m (10ft). In general bikes have their bikeways for themselves, but on occasion you will find, that cars are (partially or totally) parked on the bikeways, and cars parked next to the bikeway may also, unexpectedly open their doors, causing dangerous situation for bicyclists. Even though you are on "your own turf" as a cyclist, you should be aware of the surroundings.

In rural areas[edit]

Denmark has approx. 2,500 km (1,500 mi) dedicated bikeways in the rural areas. Though obviously less common than in the cities, they still form a popular place for getting around, and especially along the coastlines and on the islands of Denmark you will find a lot of those, creating some unique traveling experiences. Outside of the dedicated bikeways you will still be in good hands. Most Danish rural roads are in good condition, and the majority of the other traffic is used to cycles. You can get dedicated cycling maps of Denmark at most tourist agencies or you can use the Danish Cyclistic organization online tool to plan your route.

Connecting with other forms of transport[edit]

Most train systems and a few bus systems, allow you to bring your bike along. For the S-trains of Copenhagen it's free, but be aware of limitations during rush hour. For regional and intercity trains the price varies somewhere between 12 DKK (2 USD) and 60 DKK (11 USD). Parts of the train system requires that you book your bike in advance and will fee you 750 DKK (140 USD) if you don't, so make sure to ask in advance. Also note that tandem-bikes and cargo bikes are twice the price, so be specific when booking (or that 750 DKK fee will hit you again).

Safety[edit]

In 2012 21 cyclists was killed in Denmark in various traffic accidents. Compared to the almost 5,000,000 km (3,100,000 mi) cycled in Denmark every year, the risk of getting killed in traffic while cycling is extremely low. A few advices on safety are still in order though:

  1. Be aware. The traffic in Denmark - especially in the cities - is rather used to cycles and they expect them to react quickly. If you are a bit unsure, find a parking space and take a few trip on it, before throwing yourself into the traffic.
  2. Be visible. Cyclist in Denmark sports a common appearance while biking. In Copenhagen somebody has even fashioned it Copenhagen Cycle Chic. You don't very often see people in flour sent wests and other apparel like that, but if you are biking on dark areas, remember to bring lights on your cycle and also consider putting a reflector of some form on your clothing. Also don't hide around corners but go boldly out, so that other traffic can clearly spot you.

Mountainbiking in Denmark[edit]

Denmark being a relatively flat land, doesn't sport much mountain biking territory. Singletrack.dk has a good map, showing user-made places, suitable for mountain biking. Though the page is only in Danish, the maps are pretty straightforward. Most mountain biking paths in Denmark are in mostly moist forrest areas and/or wetlands, so be prepared for getting wet and a cleaning of your bike afterwards.

Road cycle racing in Denmark[edit]

The same flatness that makes Denmark a bad sport for mountain biking, makes it rather popular for road racers. As the rural roads are almost always in good or very good shapes, Denmark is quite popular for road racers. Be aware though that not all car-drivers are good at handling the fast bikes, and especially at sharp turns and hilltops, one should be aware of car-traffic from both sides.

Getting a bike[edit]

Most cities and tourist areas offer bike rentals. Prices varies a lot, with as low as 65 DKK (12 USD) per day and up to 275 DKK (50 USD) pending area and season. Some bike rentals will also require you to do a deposit which again varies a lot. Some places it is 3 days rental and other places it may be as much as a 1000 DKK (180 USD). The excess (deductible, in Danish selvrisiko) may also vary a lot. For some places it's included in the deposit, for other places it will be an amount withheld for a credit card. Ask around and make sure you get all details.

The majority of the bigger cities and even some of the smaller one, also provides a community public bicycle sharing scheme of some sort or another. Again, prices varies a lot ranging from 20 DKK (4 USD) deposit using a coin-insert on the bike in Copenhagen, having more than 70 sites for collecting/returning the bikes and up to a 100 DKK (18 USD) deposit, which has to be payed at a counter in one of the manned sites in Frederikshavn. Don't feel completely cheated for depositing 5 times the amount in Frederikshavn. The cycles are usually in a far better condition and quality.

Bike thefts[edit]

Bike theft is quite common especially in the bigger cities. In general more than 15,000 bikes are dumped in just Copenhagen and Aarhus. The vast majority of those are stolen. Guarding bike parking areas are extremely rare, so the best approach is to park in a closed area if possible. Ask at your selected choice of accommodation. They will most likely be used to it, and will be able to provide a closed bike parking area. If you have to park at the street, having double-locks is a good idea; one lock is a chain-/tubelock and goes into a fixed installation and the other is a common fixed lock on the bike. If you only have one lock, go for the chain-/tubelock. Most bike rental companies will be able to provide an extra lock for a small fee, but it might worth it - especially if you are renting a bike with a high excess.

See also[edit]

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