Danish culture: bikes all around
As you have probably noticed already, bikes play a large role in Danish culture. They are fast and they are a cheap way of transportation. They are also good exercise and a lot of fun (sometimes, when it’s not raining or windy). What’s there not to like?
You might also have struggled with one of the following situations:
- what bike to buy?
- what are the local biking rules?
- how do you explain to your local bike mechanic that you have a flat tire.
If you haven’t experienced any of these yet, don’t worry you will, sooner or later.
Luckily, we have your back. This post is all about bikes and bike safety. P.S. Bikes also make a really good conversation topic if you want to mingle with the Danes.
Level 1 - Bike types
Maybe you already know all the different kind of bikes, but can you pronounce the words in Danish?
1. Racercykel ... [Racing bike]
2. Bedstemorcykel ... [Grandma bike]
3. Herrecykel ... [Man's bike]
4. Damecykel ... [Ladies' bike]
5. Fixie cykel ... [Fixie bike]
6. Christianiacykel ... [Carrier bike] also known as Ladcykel
7. Elcykel ... [Electric bike]
8. Mountain bike
Level 2 - Biking rules
Most cyclists play by the rules and can get really irritated when others break them. Following these basic rules guarantees your safety in traffic.
Håndtegn til venstre: venstresving ... [Hand signal to the left: left-hand turn].
Håndtegn til højre: højresving ... [Hand signal to the right: right-hand turn].
Stoptegn: ræk venstre arm i vejret med flad hånd ... [Stop signal: lift your left arm up with a flat hand].
Tænde cykellygterne ... [Turn on the bike lights when the street lights are turned on]. It's all about safety and avoiding getting a fine from the police.
Henstillen af cykler forbudt ... [Bike parking is forbidden] Don't park your bike where it's not allowed. It might get removed.
Level 3 - Bike parts and bike problems
Now that you are a bit more familiar with the type of bikes you can get, you might want to know the Danish names for the different bike parts. Learn also how to explain the most common bike problems to your local bike mechanic.
1. How to explain bike problems
Min håndbremse er løs ... [My lever brake is loose].
Min kæde er løs ... [My chain is loose].
Jeg har et punkteret dæk/ Jeg har et fladt dæk ... [I have a flat tyre].
Mine gear er gået i stykker ... [My gears are broken].
2. Good to know: bike parts
Jamie from South Korea is a student at Copenhagen Language Center. She shared with us some thoughts about cycling.
"When strangers ask me why I came to Denmark, I say that I came for the clean air and the flat landscape. When friends ask me the same question, I answer that I want to live in a country where my marriage is recognised. When I ask myself why I came to Denmark, I think that I came here to bike.
I have been cycling alone without adults since I was seven years old. I used to sneak out of the house, to avoid doing homework, and to bike the quiet suburbs in Singapore. I used to look on Google Maps and fantasise about cycling from Copenhagen to Paris. In South Korea one can’t cycle to other countries. My children will be born in Denmark. Their life will be completely different than mine, but they will cycle for sure."