The City of Bicycles – Copenhagen

Ah Copenhagen. How often bloggers have referred to you as the bicycle utopia. With your sit-up-and-beg bikes, trains with plenty of room for bicycles and your prioritising of cyclists over other modes of transport.

And now there is a book that immortalises your cycling greatness in print.

It’s called the City of Bicycle or Cyklernes By Copenhagen and as I rush to hit the publish button on this blog post without first spell chicking it, it can be bought for £40 from Amazon.

“Ouch” I hear you gasp out loud in the office as everyone turns round to see if you’ve hurt yourself. Yes, that price is a little high. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more affordable copies hitting Amazon soon. Having said that, there’s a hell of lot in here of interest to a cyclist.


This gorgeous photography book by Cecilia Vanman and Robin Maddock is enough to make you hop on a plane, like Mark recently did, and head for more cycling friendly pastures. Before going into my thoughts about the book…


Le bon nouvelle? (The good news, I believe, unless my French is as bad as my Dutch). Thanks to a small error by the publisher I’ve ended up with a spare copy to giveaway!

Leave a question for the author or one thing you’d like to see from Copenhagen introduced to the London cycling scene in the comments for a chance to win it!

> Best comment/question wins! <

I’ll end the competition next Tuesday (17th). You must be England based!

On to my thoughts about the book..

City of bicycles inside pictures

(click for full screenshot)

Inside, along with gorgeous pictures of Copenhagen residents going about getting from A to B, you’’ll also get an interesting insight into the daily life there. Take for example Mai Gad (great name!) the 26 year old sociology student on the right who loves her blue vintage Raleigh to explore the street markets. The book is filled with colourful characters which must have taken hours for the author to stumble across.


A few pages in, the book dives into the history of cycling in Copenhagen and how it was first introduced to the city. It then talks about how that culture is now slowly working its way into other European cities that are trying to learn from Copenhagen’s example. Which makes for particularly interesting reading.


The Copenhagen City of Bicycles truly is one of the most gorgeous and complete portraits of cycling culture. With no rock left unturned from bicycle couriers to using the bicycle as a street food vendor, to robot wars style bike battles – it’s all here and it’s all incredible interesting. It’s one of those books you’ll want to leave lying around to dive in and out of.

Beautifully put together and a great shrine to cycling culture in Copenhagen.

Available from Amazon.

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14 Responses to The City of Bicycles – Copenhagen

  1. Phil 10/05/2011 at 12:25 pm #

    As I’m not based in England and there’s no chance for winning it, I’d like to say that this photography-book really looks fantastic … and your french is not that bad (although you should write “La bonne nouvelle”).
    But what were you thinking about when writing “spell chicking” instead of checking … 😉
    Kind regards,

    • Andreas 13/05/2011 at 12:30 pm #

      Thank you Phil – still learning!

  2. Michael 10/05/2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I’d love to have the Green Waves of Copenhagen show up in London. There are already a lot of bike commuters going in and out of London to get to and from work. But how great would it be if you didn’t have to stop for all those lights but could just ride on the wave…

    • Andreas 13/05/2011 at 12:31 pm #

      Agreed Michael – this does seem like one of the best ideas they’ve had out there. Guess it would take a lot of adjustments from TfL but shouldn’t be too costly!

  3. Mark 10/05/2011 at 1:39 pm #

    The single biggest thing I’d like to see is infrastructure. Any road redevelopment should put cycling infrastructure at the top of the list. It’s good for cyclist (obviously) and good for drivers as it gets cars off the roads. It needs to be done every time, over many years.

    …. and I am based in UK

  4. Paul James 10/05/2011 at 3:22 pm #

    If I could import one thing from Copenhagen to London, it’d have to be the people.

    We need decent cycling infrastructure in London and the best way to get that is to have streets full of happy friendly cycling people cruising around making the city a nicer more liveable place. The people in charge won’t implement change until they see a need for it.

  5. ibikelondon 11/05/2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Thanks for the link Andreas – I like Paul’s suggestion, above – the cyclists of CPH really do seem to generate their own good PR. I’m sure it would the same in London, if only we could encourage them all to take to the roads in the first place…(!)

    I have a copy of this book myself, and really recommend it – the photographs are gorgeous, it’s well put together and laid out, and every time I look at it I sigh a lot.


  6. Bob 11/05/2011 at 6:21 pm #

    The one thing I’d like imported from Copenhagen to London (UK) is that in an accident involving a cyclist and a vehicle the default position is that the motorist/lorry driver is automatically at fault.

    There are many courteous vehicle drivers in Copenhagen (and Denmark).

  7. Steve 13/05/2011 at 11:02 am #

    if I had to choose one thing; The Danes! I believe they tried it centuries ago, at least up north it seemed to go until little Willy… maybe time for another shot.

  8. Hugh 13/05/2011 at 11:08 am #

    I had the good fortune to work in Copenhagen for six months in 1997 and I would like to see in London the pretty young university student who rode past my office one hot and sunny June afternoon with the hem of her floaty skirt hitched up on the handlebars of her sit-up-and-beg for added ventilation.

    Failing that, properly segregated cycle lanes; the Barclays Cycle Superhighways (blue instead of red or green… Genius!) must surely make London the laughing stock of cycling Europe….

  9. Paolo 13/05/2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Hello Andreas,
    I came across your blog when I was commuting on my bike last year but as great as my fitness had become decided to stop just before Christmas and my bike has been still ever since. As the weather has gotten a lot better and the number of cyclist increase I would like to get back on the saddle but restrained by the thoughts of my bike as a tool rather a recreation vehicle. I am a highly visual person and is highly motivated by light, there are many photographs taken to highlight this. Guess its the inspiration to ride am looking for and if this book on the cycles of Copenhagen be it I will definitely let you know.Cheers mate

  10. Bob T 13/05/2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Looks like a nice book.

    There is a similar book for Holland too, called Bicycle Mania in Holland by Shirley Agudo. The book details how pervasive, practical and incredible the Dutch cycling culture really is.

    Looks like the scene is set for someone to do a London version!!

  11. YBike Balance Bike 20/07/2011 at 1:27 pm #

    An extremely modern and vibrant European capital that is a must see for everybody.

  12. sara 01/11/2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Andreas. You do know that we speak Danish in Copenhagen not Dutch? That would be in Amsterdam, another great city for biking.:-)
    I came across your page as I am making a small brocure promoting copenhagen as worlds best cycling city. I have lived in Copenhagen for 14years and bike everywhere because it is definently the fastest. We do live a dangerous life here still though, as cars, other cyclists and pedestrians still underestimate how fast you drive on a racing bike. I was hit by a car last year but no major damage to me. I think the most challenging for London would be for other traffic, (cars, busses, etc) to get used to cyclists.
    I would be a bit scared cycling in London but it is in my oppinion the best way to get to know a city.

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