Letters from Abroad: Biking Around Copenhagen

Melanie Singer ‘17, Abroad Columnist

Denmark, Copenhagen specifically, is known for being extremely ecofriendly. This is definitely seen by the hundreds of people biking throughout the streets of Copenhagen at any time during the day. I had purchased a bike at the beginning of the semester as I had friends who had studied abroad in Copenhagen prior to my arrival who urged me to get a bike. Without even knowing that I actually lived a good distance outside of the main city center of Copenhagen, I purchased a bike in August, rode it home to my Kollegium, and that was it. Sure I would ride my bike for five minutes to the nearest grocery store to pick up some food for myself but I never made it back into the city center with my bike.

I finally persevered the busy Copenhagen bike lanes this passed week. It was the perfect fall day, which we really haven’t been able to experience much as it felt like it went straight from summer to winter. The cold windy air had finally subsided for a day, which allowed me to yes, ride my bike into the city center. Thank goodness I received my portable Wifi from DIS or else I would have begun my journey into the city with having no sense of direction.

I started my journey into the city by bike and was prepared for the worst as the weather here is very bipolar and I wasn’t sure if I was going to freeze while peddling through the Copenhagen streets. To my surprise, after ten minutes I was ready to strip my layers off as I was wearing a scarf, gloves and a hat. My body temperature definitely rose quickly from biking. It was a fairly easy and enjoyable ride. I was expecting it to take longer than it actually did and I thought there would’ve been gusts of wind, which would end up making the ride tiring and longer but luckily there wasn’t. Fortunately for most DIS students, they have only a tops 20-minute bike ride, but mine is closer to 30-minutes.

After riding my bike into the city, it gave me this sense of pride, as I felt more immersed with the Danish culture just by participating in this simple activity. The scenery throughout my ride was beautiful as the leaves on the trees are finally beginning to change to their fall colors. Not only did I love the fall leaves that surrounded me during my ride, but I also loved seeing women in nice outfits, wearing tights, a dress and even heels while bike riding, I found that pretty impressive. One woman in particular was riding her bike faster than I could, and she was wearing heels! Biking is the number one mode of transportation for everyone in Copenhagen and it will never cease to amaze me the amount of people who bike, especially during rush hour as well as how the Danes will bike in suites and dresses. I’ll just have to continue my attempts to ride my bike into the city center, but as of now I won’t be wearing heels for the ride.