Monday, September 15, 2014

9/3/14 Day 230 Copenhagen

Copenhagen lives and breathes bicycles, quite possibly equally to Amsterdam's bicycle culture, but the difference is that in Copenhagen it is a far more practical tact, less about carrying people and more about utilitarian bikes carrying things, with cargo bikes galore in every shape and size imagineable. Unfortunately for this amazing bike city, the bike scheme here is a dismal matter. They do have one, but an inefficient and arguably frivolous model. It is argued that the 25km/h the bike can reach could be dangerous in a city where the average (experienced cycilists) ride closer to 16km/h. Also the touch screen is a dangerous feature for the novice bicyclist in a foreign city. The non subscription rate (tourist price) is a 20kr down with an additional per hour 20kr (self propelled peddle) and 25kr (if you let the electric motor do the work). Fees can be accumulated by: not picking a bike up, not parking in docking station, and leaving the bike too far away, not to mention the hefty deposit lost if the bike is not returned in optimal condition. Each of the GoBikes is bought at a cost of 48,000 Danish Kroner, 6,447$€ (8,323$). Copenhagen free bike rental is a non-profit with a focus on fixing this bike disaster. They take broken, unused, irreparable, and or unloved bicycles and mend them to a satisfactory riding condition, and then they lend them out for free! Borrowing a bike is simple, you go to the website and reserve your bike at least three days in advance and as long as they have a vessel available wallah, you can tour the city in style...for FREE!
The second most intriguing aspect of Copenhagen had to be our long awaited visit to Christiana. It is a free anarchist colony that has been established since 1971, it began in a squatted military area. The hippies of the 1970's made this area into what it is today, a free community governed by its inhabitants and free from the constraints of the government and regulations. In 1994 the squatters became tenants and began to pay for water and electricity after numerous battles with the city and the police.  In 2004 police raids pushed the sale of marijuana out further into the depths of the city, and since then the sales have returned to pusher street, camouflaged in ghillie nets and full faced ski masks, very sneaky! The neighborhood has been though a roller coaster of political and legal issues, but to this day you can head right up to a vendor and buy a joint on Pusher street in the Green Light District.
For the rest of our time in Copenhagen we wandered the canal docks, ate the local pastries, stared at the inventive street light system and marveled at Tivoli Gardens amusement park (the worlds second oldest) from outside of the 99 Swedish Kroner admission gate. We found one abandoned bike, and then a second and Kevin worked really hard to make one functional bike for us to double around on, but it just simply couldn't be done. Copenhagen really is a fantastic city that we would love to return to, among our out of control garden of a list we have accumulated thus far. Some day!
The little mermaid of Copenhagen
The fancy GoBikes, complete with LCD screens, GPS and electric motors
Cargo bikes


The Christiania symbol, stemming from the dots in the i's of the name
Mini cargo bike
Christiania bike rack, always doing things differently

Leaving Christiania...
Trying to fix us up a bike to ride
With limited resources 

Tivoli Gardens

And the morning bike rush hour
Fascination with street lights 

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