COPENHAGEN, Denmark — First a guitar player passes, then a woman with a bass, a guy toting a keyboard. They're not walking or driving; they're cycling. With nearly 240 miles of bike paths, the most sensible way to get around Copenhagen is by bike. The rush hour looks like a bike parade, except people talk on cellphones, hold open umbrellas, commute with kids in carriers, all while wearing business suits, dresses and high heels.
It's an orderly city: Bicyclists and cars follow the traffic rules and stop at lights, turn in the appropriate lanes, wait for pedestrians. Major streets feature dedicated bike lanes between the parking lanes and sidewalks, so bicyclists flow without the added danger of a car veering into them.
We rented bikes from our hotel for about $20 a day. Armed with maps and accompanied by a local friend, we spent the day seeing major sights as well as secret paths. We never could have explored so much territory on foot or by bus. We cycled to the Carlsberg Brewery, ate lunch at a courtyard cafe in Valby, picked lavender in our friend's urban garden, watched boats in the south harbor, saw drug dealers in Christiania, listened to music at Tivoli. We covered about 30 miles and many neighborhoods.
Copenhagen makes it easy for visitors to get bikes. Numerous cycle shops throughout the city offer rentals, and most hotels offer sturdy, reliable bikes for your daily jaunts.
The city also offers the use of free bikes, located on racks throughout tourist areas. Sounds great in theory, but we found very few bikes available, and those that were on the stands often had missing chains or flat tires. Better to rent and enjoy your ride.
For more information, go to visitcopenhagen.com/transport/bike-city-copenhagen.