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Copenhagen Expat life

Cycling in Copenhagen: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats

Parked bicycles on a street in Copenhagen

Are you an expat in Copenhagen looking for an easy and affordable way to get around the city? Look no further than cycling! Copenhagen is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with over 50% of its residents commuting by bike every day. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to cycling in Copenhagen, from the city’s bike infrastructure to safety tips and local rules of the road. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to biking, this guide has something for everyone.

Why Cycling is Great in Copenhagen

Cycling is an integral part of Danish culture, and Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Bike Infrastructure: Copenhagen has invested heavily in bike infrastructure, with dedicated bike lanes, bridges, and tunnels making it easy to get around on two wheels.
  • Affordability: Cycling is a cost-effective way to get around Copenhagen. It’s often faster than public transportation and saves money on gas, parking, and other transportation expenses.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Biking is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to get around the city. It reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, making Copenhagen a greener and healthier place to live.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Cycling is a great form of exercise and can help you stay active and healthy.

Copenhagen’s Bike Infrastructure: A Closer Look

Man riding a bicycle on the streets of Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s bike infrastructure is one of the most comprehensive in the world, with over 350 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes, with more being added all the time. The city also has plenty of bike parking facilities, including secure parking at train stations and bike racks on most street corners.

If you’re new to Copenhagen, it can be intimidating to navigate the bike lanes. But don’t worry! Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Stay to the right: Keep to the right on bike lanes, and always pass on the left.
  • Be aware of traffic lights: Copenhagen has traffic lights specifically for cyclists, so be sure to follow the signals.
  • Watch for pedestrians: Watch out for pedestrians, especially in busy areas like shopping streets and tourist areas.
  • Beware of the tram tracks: If you’re cycling near the tram tracks, be sure to cross them at a right angle to avoid getting your bike stuck.

Safety Tips for Cycling in Copenhagen

While cycling is generally safe in Copenhagen, it’s important to be aware of local rules of the road and take steps to stay safe. Here are a few safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet: Always wear a helmet, and make sure your bike is equipped with lights and reflectors, especially when cycling at night.
  • Signal your turns: Always signal when turning or changing lanes, using hand signals or turning lights.
  • Use bike lights: Make sure your bike has front and rear lights, especially when cycling at night.
  • Stay visible: Wear reflective clothing, especially when cycling at night or in low-light conditions.
  • Don’t use your phone: Avoid using your phone while cycling to stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Rules of the Road in Copenhagen

Cyclists riding on the streets of Copenhagen

In Denmark, cyclists are treated like any other vehicle on the road, which means you need to follow the same rules as cars and trucks. Here are a few local rules to be aware of:

  • Stopping at red lights: Cyclists must stop at red lights, just like cars and trucks.
  • Using hand signals: Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes, and always check your blind spots before making a move.
  • Following the “green wave” system: Copenhagen has a “green wave” system that keeps bike traffic moving smoothly through the city. This means that if you maintain a steady speed of 20 km/h, you can hit all the green lights as you cycle through the city.
  • Riding in bike lanes: Stay in the designated bike lanes whenever possible. If there is no bike lane, cyclists should ride on the right-hand side of the road.

Renting a Bike in Copenhagen

If you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry! Copenhagen has plenty of bike rental options, from the city’s official bike share program to private bike rental companies. Here are a few things to keep in mind when renting a bike in Copenhagen:

  • Choose a reliable bike: Make sure the bike is in good condition and check the brakes and gears before renting.
  • Rent from a reputable company: Choose a reputable bike rental company to ensure the bike is safe and in good condition.
  • Get a lock: Most bike rentals come with a lock, but make sure you have one to keep your bike secure when you’re not riding it.
  • Follow the rules of the road: Remember to follow the same rules of the road as you would on your own bike, including wearing a helmet and using hand signals.

Biking in Copenhagen: A Year-Round Activity

Cycling in Copenhagen in the middle of winter

Cycling in Copenhagen isn’t just for the warmer months. In fact, many locals continue to bike through the winter, thanks to the city’s commitment to clearing snow and ice from the bike lanes. Here are a few tips for cycling in Copenhagen during the winter:

  • Dress warmly: Layer up to stay warm, and wear a windproof and waterproof jacket to stay dry.
  • Get studded tires: Invest in studded tires for better traction on icy roads.
  • Use lights: Use front and rear lights to increase visibility in low light conditions.
  • Be aware of reduced visibility: Be aware that snow and fog can reduce visibility, so stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Cycling with Kids in Copenhagen

Cycling is a family-friendly activity in Copenhagen, and many parents bike with their children. Here are a few tips for cycling with kids in Copenhagen:

  • Choose a safe route: Choose a safe and quiet route, preferably with dedicated bike lanes.
  • Use a child seat or trailer: Use a child seat or trailer to transport younger children safely.
  • Teach your kids the rules of the road: Teach your kids the rules of the road and how to signal when turning or changing lanes.
  • Get the right equipment: Make sure your child has a helmet and is wearing appropriate clothing.

Exploring Copenhagen’s Bike-Friendly Neighborhoods

Copenhagen has many bike-friendly neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. Here are a few neighborhoods to explore by bike:

  • Vesterbro: This trendy neighborhood is home to many cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as the popular Meatpacking District.
  • Nørrebro: Nørrebro is a multicultural neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife and many bike-friendly streets.
  • Østerbro: Østerbro is a family-friendly neighborhood with many parks and green spaces, as well as easy access to the waterfront.
  • Frederiksberg: Frederiksberg is a leafy neighborhood with many historic buildings and bike-friendly streets.

The Best Time of Day to Cycle in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a great city to cycle in any time of day, but there are certain times when it’s less crowded and more enjoyable. Here are a few tips for choosing the best time of day to cycle in Copenhagen:

  • Avoid rush hour: Rush hour in Copenhagen can be busy and crowded, so try to avoid cycling during these times if possible.
  • Early morning: Cycling early in the morning is a great way to beat the crowds and enjoy the city’s quiet streets and canals.
  • Late afternoon/early evening: Late afternoon and early evening are also great times to cycle in Copenhagen, especially during the summer months when the weather is warm and the sun is still up.

Bike-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in Copenhagen

Cycling in Copenhagen can be thirsty work, so it’s important to know where to find the best bike-friendly cafes and restaurants. Here are a few places to check out:

  • Café Norden: This cozy cafe in central Copenhagen has plenty of bike parking and serves delicious coffee and pastries.
  • Wulff & Konstali: This bakery and cafe has multiple locations across the city and is a popular spot for cyclists looking for a quick snack.
  • Kaffeslabberasen: This cafe in the Østerbro neighborhood is known for its homemade cakes and sandwiches, and has plenty of bike parking outside.
  • The Laundromat Café: This quirky cafe has several locations across the city and is a great spot for cyclists looking to relax with a cup of coffee or a pint of beer.

The Future of Cycling in Copenhagen

Man riding a bicycle on the street

Copenhagen has big plans for the future of cycling, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. The city has already implemented many initiatives to promote cycling, including expanding the bike lane network, improving bike parking facilities, and launching a new bike share program. Here are a few other initiatives to look out for:

  • More green bike lanes: Copenhagen plans to create more green bike lanes, which are separated from cars by plants and trees.
  • E-bike subsidies: The city plans to offer subsidies for residents who purchase e-bikes, which are becoming increasingly popular in Copenhagen.
  • Bike-friendly bridges: Copenhagen plans to build more bike-friendly bridges, including a new pedestrian and bike bridge over the harbor.


Cycling in Copenhagen is one of the best ways to get around the city, and it’s easy, affordable, and environmentally friendly. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to biking, Copenhagen has plenty to offer, from its comprehensive bike infrastructure to its family-friendly neighborhoods and bike-friendly cafes and restaurants. So hop on your bike and start exploring this beautiful city today!

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