Danish Bicycles

Copenhagen is probably the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, so you get used to the fact that there are bikes everywhere. It takes longer to get used to the bikes themselves. There are some that are just like bikes in the US, but there are many bikes that you’d never see in The States.

This bike for example, is pretty strange. (Ok, I’ve never seen anyone actually riding one of these.)

They don't make them like they used to...

But here’s a bike that you see people riding. These are called “Long Johns”, and they allow serious weight to be transported. I wouldn’t mind having one of these myself, and I’m not the only fan. Christian Zickerman wrote to me from Germany and pointed out his site, longjohn.org, which has a lot of great information and pictures.

The 'Long John' The 'Long John' The 'Long John'

The bike below is even more common. These are called messenger bikes, or a “Short John”. I have been told that they were originally designed to haul beer, but better sources indicate that it’s called a “baker’s bike”.

The 'Little John' The 'Little John'

Both the Long John and and the Short John aren’t cheap. The long version in particular can easily cost $1,000 (or 6000 kr.) if it’s in good shape.

This next bike is called the “Christiana” and is used extensively. It’s more common than the Long John, and is often used to transport people as well as cargo, as shown below. These are even more expensive. A new one is around $1600 (or 9600 kr.) depending on how it is configured.

The 'Christiana' The 'Christiana' The 'Christiana'

There are a lot of folding bikes around as well, but I didn’t notice them much until the summer months, so I suspect that it’s mostly tourists that use them. The main advantage is that you can take it on the train or the metro, but on the other hand you can take a regular bike as well — but you have to buy a special ticket.

a folding bike a folded bike

Finally, there’s the Pedersen. Mikkel Pederson was a Danish inventor and designer that was born in 1855, so this design has been around for a long time. You don’t see all that many of these, but they’re around, especially in Christianshavn. There’s more information about this bike here.


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