About Bike the City
Bike the City is based in Copenhagen, Denmark and is owned and created by architect and urban planner Anton Ryslinge.
My mission is to offer authentic and alternative guided bike tours to people who want to explore Copenhagen by bike, but with the freedom to follow their own pace and be able to improvise along the tour.
For the full story of Bike the City, how I got the inspiration and what I want to achieve, please continue reading below. Happy riding!
Owner of Bike the City
A guided bike tour without having to follow a group?
…I asked myself, sitting in a hotel room in Bangkok.
I had just returned from one of my favourite activities when travelling: a guided bike tour. This time in that notoriously bike-unfriendly Thai metropolis. The tour was led by two local girls who guided the little group down along impossibly narrow alleys and deep into neighbourhoods I would never have found my way into or out of on my own.
We crossed small wooden bridges over canals with foul black water, entered half-overgrown ramshackle slums, rode through local fish and veggie markets, under highways where entire communities had settled and back to known civilisation along the city’s bustling waterfront. I had my passion for bicycle tours confirmed and vivid images of Bangkok’s underbelly firmly imprinted in my mind.
During the tour, however, I felt a certain irritation from our guides and I soon realised that I was the culprit: constantly being at the tail of the group, causing delay and annoyance. I was busy taking pictures of a local meat market straight out of the dark ages, talking to the staff at a slum-kindergarten, sneaking down shady side alleys before hurrying back to find the group. I was so eager to get the full impression from people and places I knew I would probably never see again, that I couldn’t follow the pace set by our guides.
Back at the hotel I began imagining a guided tour without having to follow a group. Wouldn’t that be great, I thought. Having access to itineraries and insights of local guides but with the freedom to improvise as I went! Not arriving at some well-hidden destination like a sheep in a flock but rather able to meet locals one on one! And hey, why not? With modern GPS-technology and a bit of inventiveness, I might even make this available back home in Copenhagen!
To most Copenhageners, cycling is like eating, breathing and being with friends.
It’s just one of those things we do. To me, virtually every travel in Copenhagen includes the pleasure of riding my bike. Wind in hair, sensing the inertia when making a turn and enjoying that quiet togetherness that comes from joining the anonymous thousands on the bike paths, also on their silent way to somewhere. Knowing that no matter which street I choose, It’ll be safe for cycling. Its poetry on the move. It’s practical ecology and urban living at its best. It just feels right in every sense.
I happen to be one of those fortunate individuals who are born and bred in Copenhagen, widely known as one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities. Nearly 40% of all transportation in the inner city districts is by bike. Naturally proud of this achievement, I love to show visitors and friends from abroad around on bicycles. And being an urban planner, having worked as consultant in cities from South America, across Africa and the Middle East to Australia, I have come to realise how unique and fortunate Copenhagen really is when it comes to our bicycle culture.
The multitude of benefits that urban cycling brings along,
should make it an obvious choice for urban planners everywhere. But that’s hardly the case. Most planners and politicians I’ve met abroad are strangely sceptical towards cycling. They consider it either a poor man’s vehicle or a piece of leisure equipment, good for your health but utterly unsuited for daily transportation. But when thousands of citizens take up cycling as a transportation mode, a multitude of well-documented benefits kick in for all to enjoy.
There are the obvious health benefits due to the little daily exercise, resulting in less obesity, fewer lifestyle diseases and lost working years, saving millions on public health budgets. There is the environmental aspect where cycling Copenhageners each year save the city 90.000 tonnes of CO2 emission, not to mention the reduced use of fossil fuels and hidden costs of related climate changes.
There is the improved household economy, as expensive car ownership is often made redundant. Personally I’ve never had to own a car and I hope to keep it that way. But also more indirect benefits such as reduced public spending on parking spaces, roads and public transport is part of the picture.
Copenhagen Municipality has calculated that the health value alone adds up to 4.72 DKK for every cycled kilometre. Multiplied by the millions of kms cycled each year Copenhagen’s bicycle culture is valued at 1.7 billion DKK, equal to 304 mio USD or 228 mio Euro, annually.
Rule no. 1 for a great party: make great invitations!
When people from less bike-friendly cities come to Copenhagen and witness, first hand, the huge impact that simple invitations such as city-wide bike paths can have, they often begin to wonder if this might also be possible where they come from. Gone are the usual arguments such as -where we live it’s surely too warm, cold, wet, hilly, ugly, dangerous etc. or the citizens are too lazy, conservative, car-loving, bike-hating, short-legged or whatever for this to be possible!
Once they see Copenhageners brave sleet and ice on bikes to get to work, disfavouring the excellent bus or train services, they begin to be less sure. Do Danes have a masochistic strain in their gene pool? Do we somehow love crappy weather? Well, most of us bloody hate it, but once the right invitations have been laid out in the form of bike paths, safe intersections, bike traffic lights, bike racks on trains and taxis etc, cycling just beats most other traffic forms because it’s simple, quick, cheap and fun. It takes you from door to door every time and feels good on top! And we do have summers here too!
Bike the City: the world’s first gps-guided sightseeing tours by bike
True to the original vision, here is your opportunity to explore Copenhagen in a whole new way: on a guided bike tour without having to follow a group. Instead you can go at your own pace, in the company of your choice and with the freedom to improvise as you go. Pick your tour in either Danish, English, French or German.
Bike the City is about experiencing the full freedom of cycling in a city where it’s cherished by both citizens, planners and politicians. Not in mere statements about cycling being green and good for your health, but in the hardware that really matters: bike paths, curbs, foot-rests and bike-priority traffic lights, among many other tangible initiatives.
Bike-friendly traffic infrastructure is what gets people cycling for real. And few other cities, if any at all, have gone as far as Copenhagen in order to make cycling safe and attractive for all, grannies and grandchildren included. I’m often reminded of that by my 76-year old father-in-law with his two artificial hips, not exactly a spring chicken, who cycles around Copenhagen on a daily basis. Walking tires him out, cycling keeps him going for hours.
The choice of tours has been guided by my love of cycling,
by my forty-something years of living in Copenhagen, by countless bike tours showing friends and colleagues around and by my professional insights as urban planner. The tours are meticulously researched and written in collaboration with insightful locals, and narrated by professional voice artists. They are designed to be eye-opening, entertaining, alternative and thought-provoking while showcasing lesser-visited parts of Copenhagen. They are treasure hunts for two-wheeled urban explorers.
It’s my dream to show you Copenhagen in a fun and innovative way and revive your enthusiasm for urban cycling. And who knows, perhaps you even take home a couple of ideas of how cycling can be (even better) accommodated where you come from?
Bike the City is my way of sharing the joy of cycling as well as my firm belief in the future of cycling as urban transport: because I see what it does here in Copenhagen every day. Why don’t you come and see for yourself!
Happy riding – and please remember: just take your time!
Owner of Bike the City
Try it yourself!
Copenhagen ..probably the world’s most bike-friendly city. See why: Get more impressions from bike-friendly Copenhagen here
“This was the best bike tour I have ever taken… If you only do one activity in Copenhagen. Make sure this is it!”
What is Bike the City?
With our audio-visual GPS device on your bike, you can explore Copenhagen at your own pace, while listening to in-depth stories about the city’s colourful life and history.
Our Copenhagen bike tours are individual, give you the freedom to go as you like and in the company of your choice. Now you can take your time, meet locals, take breaks when you wish and improvise as you go.
Find us here
Gothersgade 157, 1123 Cph K Tel. +45 33140717 [email protected]
Également en français !
Our tours are now available in French. Bring your French connections along and let them explore Copenhagen while feeling just like home!