Copenhagen Cargo Bikes
When you first visit Copenhagen, the first thing you'll notice after being mesmerized by the sheer number of cyclists on the roads is the eclectic kinds of bikes, especially ones that carry groceries, baggage, furniture or other people & children. As Copenhagenize's Mikael Colville-Andersen happily points out: for many in his city, the cargo bike is equivalent to the SUV.
Thus, for this final chapter in Streetfilms' 2010 Copenhagen Triology (check here: for previous vids on bicycling & pedestrian space) we present this quirky look at some of the types of wonderful bikes that are used by the public. We randomly spoke to folks gallavanting about town on their vehicles, attended the 2010 Danish Cargo Bike Championships, and got to speak with Hans Fogh, owner of Larry vs.Harry, a cargo bike-making specialty shop. The result here is really just a melody of vignettes, which only ever so slightly touches on the vast cargo bike phenomenon.
But most impressive comes just over one minute in, where you will witness one of the more amazing bike feats we've ever seen on film: a father transporting four children, a bike, a half dozen bags, on what can only be described as a cargo bike plus. It still makes us tired just watching it.
Claudia: [00:22] These are important as to have a car. Like I don’t have a car because I have this. If you have children, so you put your children in here or the chiller off my daughter, I put it there, or the groceries.
Mikael Colville-Andersen: [00:33] It’s a city with 40% of the population who own cars, only 40%, so it’s the way to get around. That’s why we have so many cargo bikes. This is our SUV and, you know, I have two kids, I use my cargo bike to get them around, it’s practical, I have to.
Hans Fogh: [00:47] Families with two kids in Copenhagen 25% of these families have or have been owning a cargo bike, so it’s a lot of people. It’s serious in Copenhagen, it’s not just for fun nor for the nerdy people. This is transportation.
Speaker: [01:03] That’s amazing.
Speaker: [01:08] You have one in the back as well?
Speaker: [01:11] Way back here. Oh my goodness. Good luck.
Thorbjorn: [01:27] Hello, welcome to Copenhagen. This is my cargo bike. I use it to drive my girlfriend around, she’s crazy about it, it’s absolutely wonderful. I use it to, to taxi around people in Copenhagen at night.
April Greene: [01:41] It’s extremely comfortable. I feel very safe, it’s very sturdy, lots of legroom and it’s also very comfortable because he’s got this great cushion. He said it’s an old mattress, but it feels very luxurious to me. I love it.
Hans Fogh: [01:59] We’re producing this… the cargo bike, the Bullitt. We started two and a half years ago selling the bikes and so far I guess we’ve been selling, yeah, 500 bikes. This white bike is my wife’s bike and she’s really looking good riding this bike, and that’s a major part of riding the bike.
Speaker: [02:28] That is impressive.
Claudia: [02:30] Before I came to Denmark to live, I sold my car in Mexico, and for the same money I got this bike and it has changed the way I move. I use it everyday.
Mikael Colville-Andersen: [02:48] With kids out in the summer here today, you know, they’ll buy a whole bunch of cheap bottles of water and fill up their mum’s cargo bike with ice and stand out there selling it for ten krone. We have the cocktail bike, you can send a text message to this guy and he’ll come out with mojitos and strawberry daiquiris in thermoses for you. We… there’s a newspaper bike selling tourist, you know, for a newspaper. The crepes bike where people, you know, make their pancakes for you, whatever you want, everything. And it’s just exploded. This is one of the things I love about Copenhagen is that we’re thinking new about bikes, what else, how else can we implement bikes into the city.
Speaker: [03:24] Wow.
Hans Fogh: [03:27] I was a carpenter before we started to produce bikes. For 15 years I only used cargo bikes for transportation. Logistically it was perfect. I was the first guy out there, I was the first guy home, and I was the guy with the longest vacation for the summertime cos I didn’t have to pay for the van.
Claudia: [03:43] It’s faster. It gives you a lot of independence, and I also think it’s because you also do exercise. So at the same time instead of going to a fitness, you ride your bike and you can stay in shape.
Speaker: [03:54] All set?
Speaker: [03:55] Now we’re going to race.
Ida Auken: [04:07] I’m so proud of Copenhagen and things going on like today’s cargo bike relay race.
Speaker: [04:10] What was it like to [unintelligible 04:18]?
Ida Auken: [04:19] I think it was extremely fun, but a bit tough, you know, I actually had that taste of blood in my mouth.
Hans Fogh: [04:27]
I always had this vision about I sold a cargo bike to a zoo and I just
had this vision about all this elephant shit that they have to carry
in the cargo bike.