Going Dutch in the Saddle
By Anita Rao-Kashi | Published: 21st October 2017 09:00 PM |
Rush hour in Copenhagen has a different pace from the rest of the world: there are cars of course, but it is the silent swish of the scores of bicycles that is trance-evoking, especially for newbie visitors. In fact, the bicycle is so ubiquitous in Copenhagen that it merits its own lane—almost 500 km of track across the city. The two-wheeled wonder also has separate traffic signals, which turn green a few seconds before they change for motor vehicles. All this has spawned a unique term—‘copenhagenize’, which means a conscious urban planning effort to make a city bicycle-friendly.
Considering that Copenhagen is almost flat, cycling is a fabulous way for visitors to see the city, especially in widespread neighbourhoods. As you weave in and out from Vesterbro, the beautiful facades of buildings with a mix of Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassical styles catch the eye. However, the area also has cobble-stone streets and cycling on them is a bit tricky; it gets easy once you get the hang of it.
Besides, the route passes through spectacularly green parks and town squares, which interrupt the urban landscape. Pedalling into the meatpacking district is a food maven’s dream; the plethora of eateries and bars, including buzzing places such as Jolene run by two Icelandic women, have enough to satisfy grastronomic and hepatic cravings. KB 18, an underground music house with low ceilings, unfinished floors and graffiti on the walls, stays open until late morning, playing edgy electronica, techno, punk rock, alternative rock and garage rock.
From Vesterbro, it is a smooth ride to the western and most scenic part of the city where the Soerne, a row of three rectangular lakes, preens silver in the sun. The paths alongside them are lined with tall, shady trees, and make for a stunning ride with the cool breeze laced with water blowing on your face. Continue towards Assistens Kirkegard, the cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried.
The cemetery exits into the Norrebro area, a multi-ethnic neighbourhood. Park the bike at Laundromat Café in Elmegade—an eponymous stop with bookshelves. Nearby is the Sankt Hans Torv or St. John’s Marketplace, a buzzing square with cafes and bars. But for sheer boho-chic quotient, it has to be Jaegersborggade, where you hop off the saddle to lunch at the Michelin-starred restaurant Relæ, or just have coffee at The Coffee Collective, a speciality micro roastery and coffee consulting company owned by the World Barista Champion Klaus Thomsen.