I made it through Day 3 of my Copenhagen adventures! The last couple days were really busy, but yesterday was the start of the “class” portion of the class. That’s right. For those non-believers out there, we actually went to a lecture session! However, we had to get there first!
This might not surprise you, but it is actually relatively easy to get 20 students with bicycles down into a metro station and all on board the same train! It certainly doesn’t look graceful, and probably took longer than it would have taken 20 locals, but we managed with only minor injuries (at least, we think there was only a bruise or two).
After 30 minutes on the train, we got off and used some trails to bike to the Regional Headquarters, where we met Helen, who works in the Transit division for the greater Copenhagen area. Before I get into how great our discussion with Helen was, I need to pause and reflect on how multimodal our trip was! I took a train with a bike! Something that has intimated me in the past was extremely easy. The only issue was moving the bike up the steep crossing at the train station, but really that was only difficult due to us crowding the staircase.
There were a few iffy links in the connection from the train station to the Regional Headquarters. There was more than one staircase (though all stairs had bike ramps to either help bicyclists carry their bikes or to ride up) and a few sections along a residential road. It made me realize just how crucial those missing links in a bike trail are. If it takes too long to move a bicycle up or down a hill, people aren’t going to chose to commute by bicycle.
Speaking of, that was one of the excellent things that Helen shared with us. In the interest of time and space (and keeping some of you around long enough to make it to the castle pictures), I will just share the highlights from the class:
- Missing links, while small on a map, can completely shut down the feasiblity of a route for a commuter
- Electric bikes were tested by car owners and ended up changing the commute style for 40% of the volunteers
- The Fingerplan! Copenhagen was intially planned in such a way that it resembled a hand. Copenhagen in the palm, radial infrastructure out, and protected spaces between the fingers (“webs”). This worked well for quite awhile, but now, due to development further from the origin, there is a demand for commuting option along the rings around the city, rather than just directly to or from Copenhagen.
- Bicycle Super Highways have attracted a lot of attention internationally, in both a positive and negative light. It has helped many of the local municipalities “buy into” the project, but has led to greater criticism from the public as to the actual construction or improvements made.
Like I said, I could keep going, but instead I will just keep the six pages of notes I took! Seriously, thank you to Helen from the Regional Headquarters!! We appreciate all the time you took to meet with us and great insight.
In the afternoon, we ventured over to the Frederiksborg Castle! If I knew how to use emojis (I know, I’m basically a caveman), I would definitely use that one with the wide eyes and the hands on the side of the face…. it was awesome. Instead of words, let me just show you some of the promised pics: